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Volume 2016 - Number 36

September 23, 2016

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Other Investors Stepped Up as Federal Reserve Holdings Of Agency MBS Declined Slightly in Second Quarter

Foreign investors, commercial banks and mutual funds all beefed up their holdings of agency MBS during the second quarter of 2016, according to a new Inside MBS & ABS analysis. The Federal Reserve remained the biggest investor in the agency MBS market with $1.744 trillion on its books at the end of June. That accounted for 29.7 percent of the $5.867 trillion of single-family agency MBS outstanding at that time, but it was down 0.5 percent from the end of March. The central bank’s MBS holdings vary slightly in the Fed’s weekly snapshots as pending transactions wait to clear, but its game plan is to hold its portfolio steady by reinvesting principal payments. The single-family agency MBS market grew...[Includes two data tables]

Sample MBS Deal-Agent Agreement Released, But More Work Ahead Before Widespread Adoption

The effort by some non-agency MBS investors to create an entity to protect investors took a step forward as a sample deal-agent agreement was circulated late last week in advance of the ABS East conference in Miami. A deal agent would be tasked with protecting the interests of investors in non-agency MBS, including duties of care and loyalty. The leaders of the effort, James Callahan, a principal at Pentalpha Global and Alessandro Pagani, head of securitized assets at Loomis Sayles & Company, said the market should adopt the agreement as the template for new non-agency MBS. However, the sample agreement leaves...

Trade Groups Representing Small/Mid-Sized GSE Seller-Servicers Circle the Wagons Around the CSP

Some small and medium-sized lenders continue to fear that their access to the secondary mortgage market could be hampered if the fledgling common securitization platform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is turned over to the private sector. At this point, the CSP is a joint venture owned by the two government-sponsored enterprises with a long-term future as uncertain as that of the GSEs themselves. But there are rumors that Congress may transfer the CSP to private owners sooner than expected. The vehicle for such a transfer would not be...

Industry Participants Have Difficulty Determining Who’s Responsible for Risk Retention from Certain Issuers

The complex financing arrangements used by certain investors and a lack of clarity from federal regulators can make it difficult to determine the entity responsible for meeting risk-retention requirements in some MBS and ABS, according to Charles Sweet, senior counsel at the law firm of Morgan Lewis. The Dodd-Frank Act generally required the sponsor of a security to retain at least 5.0 percent of the risk from the security. Sweet said determining the sponsor of an MBS or ABS can be fairly straightforward when one company originates the assets, services the receivables and initiates securitization, as in the case of an ABS backed by automobile retail contracts from a captive finance company of a car manufacturer. However, where securitization roles are more dispersed, Sweet said...

FHFA Has Settled Almost All of Its MBS Lawsuits With One Glaring Exception: RBS/Greenwich Capital

Five years have passed since the Federal Housing Finance Agency filed suit against 18 Wall Street firms and banks for peddling nonprime MBS to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the years leading up to the housing crisis. All of the defendants have settled or lost with one glaring exception: Royal Bank of Scotland. As for when (and if) RBS will settle, that’s a different and complicated matter. The bank is presently owned by the British government, which took control of it during the financial crisis. In other words, any settlement might entail taxpayer money and cause a political controversy in the U.K. And the bill could be...

Judge Orders Government to Produce More Documents In GSE Shareholder Case, Shows Signs of Annoyance

In a potential legal coup for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders, Federal Claims Court Judge Margaret Sweeney ordered the U.S. Treasury Department and Federal Housing Finance Agency to turn over another large batch of documents in relation to the Fairholme Funds Inc. v. United States, et al. net worth sweep case. Sweeney this week forced the government agencies to produce more documents, close to 60 this time, for the plaintiff’s attorneys. The agencies have attempted to keep the various memos, emails, presentations and other communications hidden under executive privilege. Shareholders say...

Some Issuers Still Failing Ginnie Mae’s Net Worth, Liquidity Requirements Although Cure Rate is High

There have been a number of MBS issuers that have fallen short of Ginnie Mae’s strict liquidity and net worth requirements for all participants, but tighter oversight has cured most, if not of all of the cases, according to Ginnie’s top counterparty risk chief. Speaking this week at the annual Ginnie Mae summit in Washington, DC, Zack Skochko, director of counterparty risk, said several issuers have failed liquidity audits in 2016 by not maintaining the minimum $1 million cash or 10 basis points of outstanding Ginnie securities required to participate in the agency’s MBS program. The agency also requires...

Shades of 2015 as FOMC Maintains Status Quo, Consensus is a December Raise, Same as Last Year

As the third quarter draws to a close without a single increase in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, 2016 is increasingly looking like 2015, when the Fed said it would raise rates multiple times sometime during the year, only to wait until its very last meeting before finally raising them. Similarly, the U.S. central bank said it would raise rates four times in 2016, and so far, it has yet to raise rates once this year. This week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen explicitly stated she expects a rate increase this year, as do a majority of voting members of the Fed’s Open Market Committee. However, since they decided to take a pass this time around, the Fed only has...

MBS & ABS Issuance at a Glance

One page of issuance data.

Poll

After the November elections, how long will it take for a new Congress and White House to pass GSE reform legislation?

I’m confident a bill will be passed the first year.
2 to 3 years. GSE reform is complicated.
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Not in my lifetime.

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