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Volume 14 - Number 24

November 26, 2014

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Calls to End GSE Conservatorships Mount From Different Sources

The Obama administration noted this week that it is less than keen on the idea of taking up an outgoing Democrat senator’s call to end the six-plus year conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Last week, Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-SD, suggested the GSEs’ conservatorship be ended if legislative reform is not forthcoming.

Watt Says: Under 100 FHLBank Members Affected by Rule Changes

Fewer than 100 financial institutions could be adversely affected by a proposed Federal Housing Finance Agency rule to tweak membership criteria for the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks, the agency’s head told the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee last week. In his first oversight hearing appearance since assuming office in January, FHFA Director Mel Watt said the agency’s “preliminary review” has found of the 7,500 FHLBank member institutions less than 100 may potentially be negatively impacted.

Fannie, Freddie MBS Activity Drops Month-to-Month in October

Together, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in October posted a combined decline in the volume of single-family mortgages securitized, according to a new Inside The GSEs analysis. Fannie and Freddie issued $63.1 billion in single-family mortgage-backed securities in October, a 1.5 percent decrease from September. On a year-to-date basis, October’s MBS issuance dropped an even steeper 50.6 percent.

FHFA: Final G-Fee Decision Due 1Q15, 2013 Hikes Unevenly Spread

As the Federal Housing Finance Agency prepares a new guaranty fee framework to unveil in early 2015, a report issued by the FHFA last week noted that big g-fee increases in 2013 were not spread evenly across the market. According to the FHFA’s sixth annual study, average mortgage-backed security g-fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac jumped from 36 basis points in 2012 to 51 bps last year.

FHFA Tweaks REO Policy to Allow ‘Qualified’ Foreclosure Repurchase

The Federal Housing Finance Agency this week unveiled a policy alteration that would potentially allow a foreclosed homeowner to purchase a home – including one he/she lost due to arrears – from the real estate owned inventory of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The change will permit Fannie and Freddie to sell existing REO properties to any qualified purchaser at the property’s fair-market value, as determined by the GSE, according to the FHFA.

New Fannie, Freddie Rep & Warrant Framework Favorably Received

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, last week rolled out changes to their selling representation-and-warranty frameworks in an effort to reduce lenders’ concerns about when they might be asked to repurchase a loan. The GSEs noted that some lenders were concerned about repurchase risk and other market factors causing an increase in credit overlays, which has limited access to credit for potential creditworthy borrowers.

FHFA COO Acquitted of Charges He Threatened Former FHFA Director

The case against the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s chief operating officer ended last week after a Washington, DC, Superior Court judge found Richard Hornsby not guilty of making violent threats against former FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco.Judge Juliet McKenna acquitted Hornsby of two misdemeanor charges of attempted threats to do bodily harm to DeMarco.

FHLBank MBS Investments Drop During Third Quarter 2014

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities remained the preferred investment choice of the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks during the third quarter of 2014, with a very slight decline from the previous quarter, according to a new analysis and ranking by Inside The GSEs based on data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Meanwhile, Ginnie Mae securities posted effectively no movement within the FHLBank system during the three-month period ending Sept. 30, 2014.

FHFA: CSP Moving Forward, Senators Seek More Transparency

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are testing parts of the new common securitization platform and are expected to have the system largely built in 2015. But the GSEs have a lot of work to do building interfaces for their systems to work with the new platform while the joint venture that’s running the CSP won’t be functional for several years, according to two recent Federal Housing Finance Agency reports.

Fannie Prices Its Fourth CAS Deal Of 2014; Backed by $53.8B UPB

Fannie Mae has priced its final risk-sharing transaction of the year, a nearly $1.5 billion offering that priced wider than previous deals, the GSE announced last week. The $1.49 billion note is the GSE’s fourth transaction under its Connecticut Avenue Securities series of 2014. Last year, the Federal Housing Finance Agency ordered both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to shrink the GSEs’ role in the U.S. housing market.

Enterprise Endnotes

Fannie, Freddie Conforming Loan Limits Mostly Unchanged for 2015. The Federal Housing Finance Agency this week said that conforming loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2015 would remain at current levels in most markets. For much of the country, the conforming loan limit for one-unit properties will remain at $417,000. The loan limits are established under the terms of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and are calculated each year.

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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