The sheer volume of different names assigned to various documentation types in the non-agency space has really gotten out of hand, especially in the last few years. As of February 2021, an active loan in the CoreLogic RMBS universe could have any of over 250 unique documentation type names, with little or no standardization from issuer to issuer. Even within a single issuer, things get complicated when every possible permutation of the same basic documentation level gets assigned its own type. One issuer in the database has 63 unique documentation names!

In order for investors to be able to understand and quantify their exposure, we need a way of consolidating and mapping all these different documentation types to a simpler, standard nomenclature. Various industry reports attempt to group all the different documentation levels into meaningful categories. But these classifications often fail to capture important distinctions in delinquency performance among different documentation levels.

There is a better way. Taking some of the consolidated group names from the various industry papers and rating agency papers as a starting point, we took another pass focusing on two main elements:

  • The delinquency performance of the group. We focused on the 60-DPD rate while also considering other drivers of loan performance (e.g., DTI, FICO, and LTV) and their correlation to the various doc type groups.
  • The size of the sub-segment. We ensured our resulting groupings were large enough to be meaningful.

What follows is how we thought about it and ultimately landed where we did. These mappings are not set in stone and will likely need to undergo revisions as 1) new documentation types are generated, and 2) additional performance data and feedback from clients on what they consider most important become available. Releasing these mappings into RiskSpan’s Edge Platform will then make it easier for users to track performance.

Data Used

We take a snapshot of all loans outstanding in non-agency RMBS issued after 2013, as of the February 2021 activity period. The data comes from CoreLogic and we exclude loans in seasoned or reperforming deals. We also exclude loans whose documentation type is not reported, some 14 percent of the population.

Approach

We are seeking to create sub-groups that generally conform to the high-level groups on which the industry seems to be converging while also identifying subdivisions with meaningfully different delinquency performance. We will rely on these designations as we re-estimate our credit model.

Steps in the process:

  1. Start with high-level groupings based on how the documentation type is currently named.
    • Full Documentation: Any name referencing ‘Agency,’ ‘Agency AUS,’ or similar.
    • Bank Statements: Any name including the term “Bank Statement[s].”
    • Investor/DSCR: Any name indicating that the underwriting relied on net cash flows to the secured property.
    • Alternative Documentation: A wide-ranging group consolidating many different types, including: asset qualifier, SISA/SIVA/NINA, CPA letters, etc.
    • Other: Any name that does not easily classify into one of the groups above, such as Foreign National Income, and any indecipherable names.

  1. We subdivided the Alternative Documentation group by some of the meaningfully sized natural groupings of the names:
    • Asset Depletion or Asset Qualifier
    • CPA and P&L statements
    • Salaried/Wage Earner: Includes anything with W2 tax return
    • Tax Returns or 1099s: Includes anything with ‘1099’ or ‘Tax Return, but not ‘W2.’
    • Alt Doc: Anything that remained, included items like ‘VIVA, ‘SISA,’ ‘NINA,’ ‘Streamlined,’ ‘WVOE,’ and ‘Alt Doc.’
  1. From there we sought to identify any sub-groups that perform differently (as measured by 60-DPD%).
    • Bank Statement: We evaluated a subdivision by the number of statements provided (less than 12 months, 12 months, and greater than 12 months). However, these distinctions did not significantly impact delinquency performance. (Also, very few loans fell into the under 12 months group.) Distinguishing ‘Business Bank Statement’ loans from the general ‘Bank Statements’ category, however, did yield meaningful performance differences.

    • Alternative Documentation: This group required the most iteration. We initially focused our attention on documentation types that included terms like ‘streamlined’ or ‘fast.’ This, however, did not reveal any meaningful performance differences relative to other low doc loans. We also looked at this group by issuer, hypothesizing that some programs might perform better than others. The jury is still out on this analysis and we continue to track it. The following subdivisions yielded meaningful differences:
      • Limited Documentation: This group includes any names including the terms ‘reduced,’ ‘limited,’ ‘streamlined,’ and ‘alt doc.’ This group performed substantially better than the next group.
      • No Doc/Stated: Not surprisingly, these were the worst performers in the ‘Alt Doc’ universe. The types included here are a throwback to the run-up to the housing crisis. ‘NINA,’ ‘SISA,’ ‘No Doc,’ and ‘Stated’ all make a reappearance in this group.
      • Loans with some variation of ‘WVOE’ (written verification of employment) showed very strong performance, so much so that we created an entirely separate group for them.
  • Full Documentation: Within the variations of ‘Full Documentation’ was a whole sub-group with qualifying terms attached. Examples include ‘Full Doc 12 Months’ or ‘Full w/ Asset Assist.’ These full-doc-with-qualification loans were associated with higher delinquency rates. The sub-groupings reflect this reality:
      • Full Documentation: Most of the straightforward types indicating full documentation, including anything with ‘Agency/AUS.’
      • Full with Qualifications (‘Full w/ Qual’): Everything including the term ‘Full’ followed by some sort of qualifier.
  • Investor/DSCR: The sub-groups here either were not big enough or did not demonstrate sufficient performance difference.
  • Other: Even though it’s a small group, we broke out all the ‘Foreign National’ documentation types into a separate group to conform with other industry reporting.

Among the challenges of this sort of analysis is that the combinations to explore are virtually limitless. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the potential groupings we considered did not make it into our final mapping. Some of the cuts we are still looking at include loan purpose with respect to some of the alternative documentation types.

We continue to evaluate these and other options. We can all agree that 250 documentation types is way too many. But in order to be meaningful, the process of consolidation cannot be haphazard. Fortunately, the tools for turning sub-grouping into a truly data-driven process are available. We just need to use them.