Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the limitations and potential bias in securitized residential mortgage data and examine the importance of such data issues for typical studies of residential mortgage-backed security (RMBS) market and the financial crisis. Design/methodology/approach– We use trustee data on mortgage characteristics provided by BlackBox Logic – the BBx data – to study the extent to which undisclosed mortgage characteristics distort the available data and impact risk analysis of RMBS collateral pools. Findings– We illustrate that substantial amounts of loan characteristic data in crucial fields like occupancy, property type, loan purpose and FICO are missing from the trustee data. The frequency of missing values is staggering, ranging from just under 9 per cent for property type to 29 per cent for FICO, up to almost 85 per cent for originator name, all variables used in recent studies. The omissions are correlated to some degree with the securitization sponsor and even more dramatically with the identity of the deal trustee. Research limitations/implications– Analysis of RMBS collateral should be built not on the entirety of mortgage databases, but on stratified samples and should otherwise control for important sponsor and trustee fixed effects. Practical implications– The revisions for Regulation AB which require loan-level disclosure should be adopted to standardize mortgage disclosure. Originality/value– This is the first paper that examines selection bias in loan characteristics relied upon for a wide variety of mortgage market research that has substantially affected policy decisions in the post-crisis era.
The Journal of Risk Finance – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 18, 2014
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