DEFINITION of 'Underwriting Standards'

Guidelines established to ensure that safe and secure loans are issued and maintained. The underwriting standards in place help to set benchmarks for how much debt may be issued to a person, the terms of the loans, how much debt a specific company is willing to issue, and what interest rates will be charged.

BREAKING DOWN 'Underwriting Standards'

During economic turmoil, underwriting standards may become more lenient, as acquiring loans may become too difficult for the majority of borrowers. For example, during the economic downfall of 2008-2009, some lenders reduced pre-payment fees and offered heightened flexibility regarding the terms of the loans issued. At the same time, during that same crisis many companies also tightened underwriting standards that had been one of the culprits in the downturn.

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