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Announcement:

Moody's: US tax law changes are credit neutral for residential mortgage loans, positive for non-mortgage consumer loans

13 Mar 2018

New York, March 13, 2018 -- The impact of US tax law changes on residential mortgage performance will be generally neutral over the near term, while the effect on non-mortgage consumer loans will be positive, though not enough to prevent further deterioration in performance from solid levels, Moody's Investors Service says in a new report.

A modest negative impact on home price appreciation will be broadly offset by the increase in after-tax income for the vast majority of individuals. Further reducing the possibility that the new tax laws will hamper mortgage credit performance are the strong home price appreciation and solid underwriting of mortgage loans seen in the past few years.

"The new tax law reduces the tax incentive of homeownership across a wide range of incomes regardless of whether families reside in a low, moderate or high tax state," says Warren Kornfeld, a Moody's Senior Vice President. "Nevertheless, most homeowners' after-tax income will rise and we expect that residential mortgage credit performance will be largely stable."

Meanwhile, higher disposable incomes for homeowners and renters as a result of lower federal taxes will support the performance of non-mortgage consumer credit, Moody's says. Nevertheless, the performance of most types of non-mortgage consumer loans will deteriorate, largely as a result of a weakening of underwriting standards over time and some pockets of borrowers experiencing financial strain.

"Low unemployment has helped bolster the performance of consumer borrowing, but even as the job market has strengthened, we've seen increases in delinquencies and charge-offs in sectors such as auto loans and credit cards," says Jody Shenn, a Moody's Vice President. "The effects of the tax bill are unlikely to be big enough to reverse this trend, and will be less helpful over the longer term for borrowers as its benefits will likely decline or reverse for many individuals."

Furthermore, given the tax bill's benefits for consumers and the perception of a fairly low risk of recession in the next few years, lenders will be tempted to loosen underwriting even further, Moody's says.

Moody's research subscribers can access this report, "Tax law credit neutral for residential mortgage loans, supports consumer credit," at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1113860.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: New York +1-212-553-0376, London +44-20-7772-5456, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com.

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Warren Kornfeld
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Joseph Shenn
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Structured Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

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