At the end of June the five agencies that regulate federally chartered banks and their subsidiary lending corporations issued final guidance to those institutions regarding subprime lending, particularly the so-called exotic or non-traditional loans that are threatening to bring down those lenders who haven't already filed bankruptcy or shut their doors.

While they were called "guidelines," compliance with the new underwriting rules is, if not mandatory, at least highly recommended on the part of institutions under the supervision of the five agencies.GOOGLEAD The Federal Reserve, Office of Thrift Management, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Comptroller of the Currency, and the National Credit Union Administration.