Lenders don't have to follow the new industry guidelines for representations and warranties about mortgages they sell, but they may save money by doing so — if private securitization ever revives.

The guidelines released Tuesday by the American Securitization Forum are meant to standardize and strengthen the promises lenders make to repurchase defective loans. Buyback requests put several lenders out of business in the early days of the current mortgage crisis, showing that this form of "skin in the game" was not a powerful enough incentive to maintain lending standards.

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