One of the big takeaways from the housing crisis was the danger of having loose definitions and broad classifications for loans. Presumably, if there had been more concrete definitions of terms like "subprime" or "alt-A," investors would have had a better idea about what they were actually buying. There might not even have been a market for some of the riskiest loans marketed under these terms.

In an online poll, just over half of respondents, 53%, agreed with the premise of our story, that if and when subprime or alt-A lending does return, there needs to be a more concrete definition of those terms. But nearly a third, 31%, said such terms should be abandoned altogether, along with the pretense that tidy categories can describe complex products. Just 16% said such boom-era terms should be replaced with new ones.

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