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Adjustable Rate Mortgage
A mortgage with an interest rate that changes periodically. Generally speaking, an adjustable rate mortgage is linked to some major benchmark rate; for example, the interest rate may be stated as "LIBOR + 1%." The mortgage may or may not have a cap on how much the interest rate can rise or fall, or on how often the interest rate may change. Very often, the initial interest rate for an adjustable-rate mortgage is lower than that for a fixed-rate mortgage. This allows more people to qualify for an adjustable-rate mortgage; however, this kind of mortgage can be risky because the interest rate (and therefore the monthly payment) can rise unexpectedly. Indeed the prevalence of ARMs has been blamed for the housing bubble in the mid-2000s and the subsequent recession. See also: Credit Crunch, Teaser Rate.
Any law or regulation requiring an institution to perform due diligence on potential clients to ensure that it is not aiding in a money laundering scheme. If the institution does not conduct due diligence properly, it may be held legally liable for the money laundering activities. These regulations were an important part of the USA PATRIOT Act.