The American Securitzation Forum  (ASF) launched ASF Project RESTART today, according to a release from the association.


The project is an industry-developed initiative intended to help rebuild investor confidence in MBS and ABS, restore capital flows to the securitization markets and increase the availability of affordable credit to all Americans.


The collaborative effort includes ASF member market participants, including investors, issuers, originators, credit rating agencies, servicers and others. The Administration and federal and state regulators have also been supportive of and involved in the project’s development, helping to coalesce market participants in the effort.


Project RESTART, which stands for residential securitization transparency and reporting, is both a continuation of initiatives by industry participants as well as a response to last March’s President’s Working Group recommendation.The recommendation, led by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, called for the ASF to build on existing disclosure templates by developing ones for other types of securitizations.

The new program consists of phases that form a package of securitization industry standards which are expected to be widely implemented. The first phase of the project focuses on RMBS, and standardizes and expands existing issuer disclosure to investors and credit rating agencies, particularly on mortgage loan-level information. Subsequent phases will focus on student loan, credit card and automobile securitizations.


The first proposed phase, called ASF RMBS disclosure package, will enable investors to more easily compare loans and transactions across all issuers and perform necessary and sufficient loan-level analysis to evaluate RMBS transactions on the basis of the features and performance of the underlying mortgage loans.


The same loan-level detail will aid credit rating agency evaluations by enhancing the quality, consistency and comparability of information relating to securitized assets upon which the agencies make qualitative judgments of the likelihood that investors will receive promised payments of principal and interest in accordance with the terms of the instruments.


Comments are open for the proposal, which is anticipated to be finalized before yearend and implemented in 2009.


The Commercial Mortgage Securities Association (CMSA) applauded the ASF’s proposal in a release also out today, stating that Project RESTART will bring a greater level of transparency ad stability to the RMBS market.

The ASF stated that it examined CMSA’s 1997 investor reporting package (IRO) as a model for increasing transparency and consistency of information at issuance.

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