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Underwriting refers to the process that a large financial service provider (bank, insurer, investment house) uses to assess the eligibility of a customer to receive their products like equity capital, insurance, mortgage or credit to a customer. The name derives from the Lloyd's of London insurance market in London, United Kingdom. Financial bankers, who would accept some of the risk on a given venture (historically a sea voyage with associated risks of shipwreck) in exchange for a premium, would literally write their names under the risk information which was written on a Lloyd's slip created for this purpose.
In banking, underwriting is the detailed credit analysis preceding the granting of a loan, based on credit information furnished by the borrower, such as employment history, salary, and financial statements; publicly available information, such as the borrower's credit history, which is detailed in a credit report; and the lender's evaluation of the borrower's credit needs and ability to pay. Underwriting can also refer to the purchase of corporate bonds, commercial paper, Government securities, municipal general obligation bonds by a commercial bank or dealer bank for its own account, or for resale to investors. Bank underwriting of corporate securities is carried out through separate holding company affiliates, called securities affiliates, or Section 20 affiliates.