Mortgage Bankers Association chairman John Robbins has urged Congress and federal regulators to refrain from mandating underwriting standards that could precipitate a credit crunch.Mr. Robbins told the National Press Club that the mortgage industry has the tools and the capacity to help distressed subprime borrowers avoid foreclosure. The subprime market is already correcting itself, the most aggressive lenders have been punished, and the most aggressive lending programs have been eliminated, Mr. Robbins maintained. Mandating tougher underwriting would force lenders to shut the door on homeowners who need to refinance out of adjustable-rate 2/28 mortgages and exacerbate delinquencies and foreclosures, he warned. "We hope the regulators take a realistic view and allow the industry to deal with the issue and not try to regulate or legislate," Mr. Robbins said. The MBA chairman did call for the licensing and regulation of mortgage brokers.

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