Securitization is Not that Evil after All
60 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2011
Date Written: March, 15 2011
A growing number of studies on the US subprime market indicate that, due to asymmetric information, credit risk transfer activities have perverse effects on banks’ lending standards. We investigate the larger part of the market for securitized assets (“prime mortgages”). Information on over a million mortgages written in Italy, a country with a regulatory framework analogous to the one prevalent in Europe, includes loan-level variables, characteristics of the originating bank and, most importantly, contractual features of the securitization deal, including the seniority structure of the ABSs issued by the Special Purpose Vehicle and the amount retained by the originator. We borrow a robust way to test for the effects of asymmetric information from the empirical contract theory literature (Chiappori and Salanié, 2000). Overall, our evidence suggests that banks can effectively counter the negative effects of asymmetric information in the securitization market by selling less opaque loans, using signaling devices (i.e. retaining a share of the equity tranche of the ABSs issued by the SPV) and building up a reputation for not undermining their own lending standards. the bottom-line is that securitization need not be accompanied by lower lending standards, and that securitized loans can actually be a pretty safe investment class.
Keywords: securitization, banking, asymmetric information, signaling, reputation
JEL Classification: D82, G21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation