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Volume 2014 - Number 39

October 17, 2014

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Wall Street Urges Caution on GSE Single Security; Lenders Say Full Speed Ahead

Waiting several years to unify Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities into a single MBS could pose a huge risk to its successful completion, warned the mortgage banking industry, but Wall Street thinks it’s worth the wait to get market participants totally behind the move. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s proposed single security for the government-sponsored enterprises met with conflicting views as the comment period ended this week. The proposal is aimed at eliminating Freddie’s pricing disadvantage and improving liquidity in the to-be-announced market. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association urged...

ABS Issuance Slumped in Third Quarter As Auto Sector Stalls, Credit Cards Wilt

New issuance of non-mortgage ABS faltered again in the third quarter of 2014, slipping 5.4 percent from the second quarter, according to a new Inside MBS & ABS ranking and analysis. Issuers produced $46.48 billion of new ABS during the third quarter. While that marked the second straight quarterly decline after the robust $53.44 billion issued in early 2014, current issuance levels remained relatively high for the post-crisis period. Through the first nine months of 2014, new ABS issuance totaled...[Includes three data charts]

Subprime Share of Auto ABS Issuance Increasing Along with Losses, But Outlook is Largely Positive

Subprime loans are accounting for a larger share of auto ABS issuance and losses on auto ABS are increasing. However, rating services suggest that the trends aren’t too worrisome, with ratings performance on track to record one of the best years ever. Some $66.9 billion in auto ABS were issued this year through September, up 26.8 percent from the same period in 2013. Subprime deals accounted for 25.8 percent of auto ABS issued this year, and volume ($17.0 billion) was down slightly from a year ago. But subprime auto loans also show up...

Treatment of Non-Agency MBS in Liquidity Coverage Ratio Rule Seen as Detriment to Reviving Market

The liquidity coverage ratio rule recently finalized by federal regulators will hinder the revival of the non-agency MBS market, according to industry participants. Non-agency MBS are not counted as high-quality liquid assets (HQLA) under the rule, reducing incentives for banks to hold the securities. The Structured Finance Industry Group and others raised concerns about the lack of an HQLA designation for non-agency MBS at a time when the Obama administration is working to revive the non-agency MBS market. “There are...

Experts: New AG Likely to Continue Aggressive Use of FIRREA Against Industry, Individual Executives Targeted

Mortgage industry executives should be aware and expect continued – and perhaps even more muscular – use of a 1989 federal law by government prosecutors to pursue mortgage-related claims. At the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder, the Department of Justice embraced the use of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) in MBS lawsuits. Despite Holder’s announcement late last month that he is stepping down after six years as AG, there is...

Limited in Its Authority, CFPB Criticizes Student Loan Securitization, Incentives and Servicing

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was critical this week of aspects of the student loan securitization process as well as servicer performance as it issued its latest annual report on private student-loan borrowing. The report analyzed more than 5,300 private student loan complaints between Oct. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014, an increase of 38 percent over the previous year. “Lending practices in the private student-loan market in the years preceding the financial crisis shared...

MBS Prices Hit a 52-Week High; Will Mortgage REITs Become a Safe Haven for Investors?

Investors have bid up the value of MBS the past two weeks, with agency product hitting new 52-week highs. This development benefits investors as long as interest rates don’t fall dramatically enough to spark prepayment concerns. In particular, analysts are paying close attention to publicly traded mortgage real estate investment trusts that hold agency MBS. According to figures compiled by Inside MBS & ABS, REITs held $286.3 billion of MBS at the end of June after increasing their holdings by 9.7 percent during the second quarter. Now, those bets are paying off...

GAO: U.S. Housing Finance in Need of Reform; Clarity Required on FHFA’s Guaranty Fee Stance

The substantial increase in federal support of the single-family housing finance system, as well as weaknesses uncovered in the wake of the mortgage market meltdown, have led to a U.S. finance system that warrants reform, according to the Government Accountability Office. The GAO focused considerable attention on the much-reported fact that government programs have accounted for a huge share of the mortgage and MBS market since the financial crisis. The congressional watchdog views the federal role in housing finance as a “high-risk area.” “Developments in mortgage markets since 2000 have challenged...

MBS & ABS Issuance at a Glance

One page of issuance data.

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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