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SAN MARCOS, Calif. — Mortgage loan broker Yamila Ayad has been in business for nearly 20 years in San Marcos, located about 40 miles north of downtown San Diego. She’s well established in a growing Hispanic marketplace, and her small, bustling office handles as many loans as some mid-sized credit unions–she closed nearly 50 loans per month in 2004, during the boom.

But what’s interesting isn’t who Ayad’s customers are; instead, it’s how she qualifies them for loans. Historically, as many as 90% of home loan applications that come across Ayad’s desk have two or more unmarried, but related applicants, either as co-

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