By Terry Osterweil, Director, Scott Mason, Director, Michael Stock, Director, and Leslie Albergo, Director, of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.

The dynamics of the U.S. RMBS market are such that continual refinements and innovations to existing technologies, in search of more efficient ways to perform the mortgage lending process, pose an ongoing challenge when attempting to capture this data for risk analysis. One refinement has been the increasing use of automated underwriting (AU) systems and the resulting allowances for the borrower's level of documentation and type of appraisal needed. This phenomenon led Standard & Poor's Ratings Services to increase the amount of required data needed to accurately perform its loan level analysis. That, in addition to updates to current criteria, has resulted in the release of an updated version of Standard & Poor's LEVELS(r), its proprietary mortgage credit risk analysis software.

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