But some require a 40 percent down payment Lenders making nonprime loans A small group of lenders have entered the market for nonprime, nonqualified mortgages. According to Bloomberg Business, this market might account for as much as $1.5 trillion of the $10 trillion mortgage market. Conventional bankers have shunned nonprime loans, honoring strict standards of credit and income requirements. But some good risks can fall through the cracks, lenders say. One example is a small business owner whose income declined as the economy slowed. The business owner has a low income, but no debt, a high credit score, and plenty of cash. Can that person get a mortgage for 10 percent down on a fancy new house? Probably not. Conventional banks might offer to finance part of a new house, but not all, because the business owner's income has to be high enough to take on the mortgage. Most lenders stay within the qualified, prime lending standards. It offers some protection against consumer lawsuits and the standards ensure much less risk. When lenders stray from the prime mortgages standards, customers can't expect the greatest deal out there. Interest rates are much higher and downpayments can be dramatic. One California firm offers loans of as much as $750,000 to borrowers with credit scores as low as 500. But the borrowers will have to put 40 percent down. Interest rates on the 30-year loans are adjustable after seven years. While the best prime loans today can be as low as 4 percent, a nonprime loan can be 11 percent or higher, especially for those with low FICO scores. Unlike subprime loans made years ago, these loans are said to be safe because the borrowers "have skin in the game," usually in the form of a large downpayment.