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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. The authors investigate a large part of the market for securitized assets ("Prime mortgages") in Italy, a country with a regulatory framework analogous to the one prevalent in Europe. Information on over a million mortgages consists of 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.
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