Alternative Mortgage Products: Impact on Defaults Remains Unclear, but Disclosure of Risks to Borrowers Could Be Improved

GAO-06-1112T Published: Sep 20, 2006. Publicly Released: Sep 20, 2006.
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Highlights

Alternative mortgage products (AMPs) can make homes more affordable by allowing borrowers to defer repayment of principal or part of the interest for the first few years of the mortgage. Recent growth in AMP lending has heightened the importance of borrowers' understanding and lenders' management of AMP risks. GAO's report discusses the (1) recent trends in the AMP market, (2) potential AMP risks for borrowers and lenders, (3) extent to which mortgage disclosures discuss AMP risks, and (4) federal and selected state regulatory response to AMP risks. GAO used regulatory and industry data to analyze changes in AMP monthly payments under various scenarios; reviewed available studies; and interviewed relevant federal and state regulators and mortgage industry groups, and consumer groups.

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