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The Past, Present, and Future of CMBS

Working paper #730
Sam Chandan

The commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market has struggled to reestablish itself in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Efforts to reignite securitization have sought to balance shortfalls in credit availability against persistent concerns regarding incentive conflicts in the CMBS structure. While CMBS market participants have made observable progress in addressing several perceived deficiencies, major structural issues may go unattended as activity resumes. Among the key challenges that persist as impediments to the efficient functioning of the market, potential misalignments of incentives between originations, issuers, servicers, and ratings agencies coincide with differences in incentives across securitization and balance sheet lenders. While a resumption of CMBS issuance may be interpreted as validation of reforms already undertaken, the failure to address incentive conflicts with practical and implementable remedies leaves open the possibility of costly disruptions to credit flows in the future.

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