October 23, 2014

Latest from Inside Mortgage Finance

Total GSE repurchases rose by 142.8% from the previous quarter according to estimates from Inside Mortgage Finance

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FHFA Agrees to Additional Buyback Relief, Pushes Fannie and Freddie Back Into 97s

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt this week unveiled two significant policy changes aimed at opening up the mortgage credit box: additional buyback relief for originators that sell loans to the government-sponsored enterprises and a return to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchases of mortgages with loan-to-value ratios between 95 percent and 97 percent. Speaking at the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association in Las Vegas, Watt gave some concrete details about the new “life of loan” representation and warranty relief and outlined a number of other changes in the works. Moreover, industry officials contend...

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Expanding Access to Credit May Grease Underperforming Home-Purchase Market

The mortgage credit box contracted quickly as the housing market slid toward disaster in 2007, but it’s proving to be much more difficult to stretch it back to what used to be considered normal. The subtitle to this week’s annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association could well have been “access to credit,” an idea that clearly dominated the conversation. Despite the recent unexpected drop in mortgage interest rates, most observers expect origination volume in 2015 to track closely to this year’s sluggish level and part of the problem is relatively weak home-purchase lending. Industry people are...

Plenty of Investors are Eyeing the Non-Agency Space – Even PIMCO

Even though the origination volume of non-agency, non-jumbo mortgages is relatively small, private equity firms increasingly are eyeing the space, believing that within two years – or maybe sooner – the business could be producing out robust profits. In short, investors want to enter non-agency lending before anyone else does – and at “ground level” prices. According to non-prime executives and investment advisors, private-equity funds of varying sizes want...

Feature Stories

Inside FHA Lending

GNMA Raises Net Worth, Liquidity Tests

Ginnie Mae this week provided new details to the long-anticipated plan for increased issuer net worth and liquidity and a new performance scoring method for issuer activity – changes that could adversely affect small issuers and portfolio servicers. In remarks at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual convention in Las Vegas, Ginnie Mae President Ted Tozer said the changes are part of a larger effort to ensure the continuing flexibility and availability of the agency’s mortgage-backed securities program to as many entities as possible. New types of issuers and counterparties have entered the agency-backed MBS market in the wake of the financial crisis, which called for adjustments and tailored approaches to the evolving housing finance market, Tozer noted. Tozer said both policy changes and staff expertise will ensure the success of ...

Inside Nonconforming Markets

QMs in Non-Agency MBS Exempt From Risk-Retention Requirements

The non-agency mortgage-backed securities market got clarity about risk-retention requirements in a new final rule approved this week by six federal regulators. Given current market conditions, it is unlikely to have any impact. The regulators created an exemption big enough to drive a truck through. Sponsors of non-agency MBS backed by qualified residential mortgages are not required to retain a 5 percent interest in the transaction. As expected, the QRM parameters were lined up with ...

Inside MBS & ABS

Final Rule Setting Risk-Retention Requirements For Non-Agency MBS Features Broad Exemptions

Six federal regulators approved a final rule this week setting risk-retention requirements for residential MBS transactions, exempting the entire agency MBS universe and non-agency securities backed by qualified mortgages. There is not that much left. The risk-retention requirements for residential mortgages will take effect one year after the final rule is published in the Federal Register, which is expected shortly. Regulators opted to align the definition for qualified-residential mortgages with the standards established by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for QMs. The sponsor of a non-agency MBS that includes non-QRMs will have to retain at least 5.0 percent of the balance of the security, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act. In 2011, federal regulators proposed...

Inside The GSEs

Judge Denies Former Fannie CFO Discovery Access in GSE Lawsuit

GSE shareholder advocates remain undeterred following a federal judge’s decision late this week to deny a former Fannie Mae executive access to confidential evidence unearthed as part of the discovery process in an investors’ lawsuit against the government. Earlier this year, Fairholme Funds hired former Fannie Chief Financial Officer Timothy Howard as a consultant to assist its law firm Coopers and Kirk. Lawyers for the government want to deny Howard access to some 800,000 pieces of discovery in investors’ litigation challenging Uncle Sam’s “net-worth sweep” of GSE profits.

Inside Mortgage Trends

3Q14 Preview: Solid But Unspectacular Earnings, Unexpected Growth in Volume

Most mortgage industry experts had expected loan origination volume to drop off significantly in the third quarter of 2014, but early indicators suggest just the opposite. An Inside Mortgage Trends analysis of earnings reports from seven large banks with major mortgage operations shows their combined loan originations increased by 8.7 percent from the second quarter. Together, the group racked up $97.4 billion in mortgage originations during the third quarter ...

Inside the CFPB

CFPB Proposes Updates to TILA/RESPA Final Rule

The good news is the CFPB is proposing updates to its integrated disclosure final rule under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The bad news is the CFPB is proposing updates to its integrated disclosure final rule under the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The final rule – commonly known as the “TRID” – has been high on the mortgage lending industry’s list of concerns ever since it came out nearly a year ago. And with every rule issued, there are calls from one segment of the industry or another for various additions, deletions or modifications. As happy as industry representatives are when the CFPB makes such a concession, they ...

Poll

What is it going to take to convince lenders to loosen the credit box (i.e., remove underwriting overlays)?

The recent rep and warranty changes announced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency should go a long way in protecting lenders from future buybacks and help expand mortgage credit.
There won’t be any significant elimination of underwriting overlays until the government stops seeking huge mortgage-related penalties and settlements from lenders.
There shouldn’t be any expansion of the mortgage credit box since looser underwriting is what caused the recent mortgage crisis.

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