As the commercial mortgage-backed securities market matures, the rating agencies that monitor it are sharpening their focus on underwriting standards.

Fitch IBCA has put together an originator review program, which formalizes the agency's consideration of underwriting standards for the securities. Though no other rating agency has used a formal review program, all agree that 1998 will be the year in which the quality of loans backing commercial mortgage-backed securities will betested.

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