To deal with a large volume of loan modifications, the Mortgage Bankers Association is asking the Financial Accounting Standards Board for relief from its rules for evaluating credit impairment on hundreds of thousands of subprime adjustable-rate mortgages.The MBA has endorsed President Bush's plan to freeze the resets on subprime ARMs. However, its members maintain that they don't have the systems capacity to evaluate loan impairment under Financial Accounting Standard No. 114 on a loan-by-loan basis and would like to use FAS 5 instead. "FAS 5 provides for a cost-effective approach to accurately measuring probable credit losses on large volumes of loans, which is consistent with the objective of a loan modification, which is to reduce the prospect of future credit losses," the MBA says in a letter to FASB. Separately, the Internal Revenue Service has issued a ruling that it will not challenge the tax status of real estate mortgage investment corporations if servicers follow the American Financial Services guidelines for freezing resets on subprime ARMs. The MBA can be found online at http://www.mortgagebankers.org.

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