Federal Home Loan Banks

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to Federal Home Loan Banks.

May 22, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHLB Proposed Membership Rule Still Faces Uncertainty

The Federal Housing Finance Agency continues to mull over the decision on whether to ban captive insurance firms owned by real estate investment trusts from the system. The agency received 1,300 comment letters on the controversial proposal and Mel Watt, FHFA’s director, was vague last week on when a final decision would be made. “FHFA is continuing to evaluate the comments we received and we will come to a resolution as quickly as we can prudently do so,” he said during the Federal Home Loan Banks Directors Conference in Washington. Last year, Watt raised safety and soundness concerns about captive insurers borrowing and joining the FHLB system. Some regulators are concerned that REITs and other financial...

May 22, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHLB Combined Net Income Rose Due to Higher Litigation Gains

The Federal Home Loan Bank system earned $1.015 billion in the first quarter of 2015, according to figures compiled by the system’s Office of Finance, an 82.6 percent increase when compared to the same quarter in 2014. The sharp increase was primarily the result of higher gains on litigation settlements, according to the Office of Finance. Litigation settlements accounted for $480 million in gains for the three months ending on March 31. The OF said the bulk of it was “driven by the FHLBank of San Francisco’s $450 million settlement of certain claims arising from investments in private-label mortgage-backed securities.” Total FHLBank assets for the first three months of the year were down at $879.9 billion, a 3.7 percent decrease from...

May 22, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Nomura Considers Appeal of $805 Million Judgment, FHLBank Dismisses MBS Claims Against Some Banks

Nomura Holdings Inc. is mulling an appeal following last week’s court order that it, along with RBS Securities, pay Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a total of $805.1 million to resolve claims arising from the pre-crisis sale of non-agency MBS to the government-sponsored enterprises. Judge Denise Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York rendered the judgment May 11 after a three-week bench trial in which she found Nomura and RBS liable for the claims brought by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The MBS were backed by mortgages with an unpaid principal balance of about $2.05 billion at the time of purchase. Nomura and RBS, which underwrote four of the seven MBS deals at issue, provided...

May 22, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

MBS Market Faces Liquidity, Demand Issues When the Fed Finally Decides on Exit Strategy

The mortgage market faces a big challenge when the Federal Reserve figures out how to unload its massive $1.7 trillion portfolio of agency MBS, but anticipated widening of spreads could at least improve market liquidity. The fixed-income market has seen a sharp decline in trading volume resulting in part from regulatory issues, said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, during the group’s annual secondary market conference in New York this week. “Banks have been hoarding liquidity instead of providing it to the market,” he said. Average daily trading volume of MBS has dropped...

May 21, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Dems’ Alternate Reg Relief Bill Would Confer QM Status on Portfolio Loans Only for Small Lenders

The noise over regulatory relief legislation is getting louder. Over the past week, Republicans in the Senate issued a clarification of sorts about their draft legislation, Democrats came up with a narrower alternative and the industry weighed in as the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee prepared for a markup scheduled for late this week. A noteworthy provision in the Democrats’ proposal would extend qualified-mortgage status for loans originated and held in portfolio – but only if the depository institution has less than $10 billion in assets. The GOP bill would extend this safe harbor to all banks, thrifts and credit unions. The Democratic proposal would bar...

May 21, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Analysts See Stronger Market in 2015, But Little Change In Fundamental Problems Facing the Mortgage Industry

Housing is showing some traction, but heavy regulation and enforcement continue to weigh on the mortgage market, according to analysts at this week’s secondary-market conference sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association in New York. Charles Gabriel, president of Capital Alpha Advisors, said there are some green shoots in the mortgage market, including signs of more home sales. But he characterized it as “a mature market that is suboptimized.” Lenders have paid massive penalties in lawsuits, he added, and there is no sign that they will expand the credit box. “U.S. Bank was asked...

May 15, 2015 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Shelby Bill Includes Support for Portfolio Loans

A draft of legislation unveiled this week by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, includes provisions that would support portfolio lenders and real estate investments trusts, among a myriad of other issues. Support from Democrats for some of the provisions in the draft has been tepid, and it’s not clear that President Obama would sign a bill without changes. The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015 aims to “improve access to credit and reduce the level of risk in our financial system,” ...

May 8, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Wants More Workplace, Business Diversity from FHLB

In efforts to encourage and promote diversity, the Federal Home Loan Banks and the Office of Finance were directed to include demographic data pertaining to their boards of directors in its annual minority and women inclusion reports submitted to the Federal Housing Finance Authority. “FHFA’s minority and women inclusion regulations reflect the importance the agency places on diversity and inclusion,” said Sharron Levine, associate director at FHFA’s Office of Minority & Women Inclusion. “The amendments to the regulation focus attention on the Federal Home Loan Banks’ responsibility to promote diversity in nominating or soliciting nominees for positions on their respective boards of directors.” The banks and Office of Finance must now be more specific and include descriptions of their outreach activities and....

April 24, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Bill Lets Private Credit Unions Seek Membership in FHLB System

The House passed a bill last week that would allow privately-insured credit unions to apply for membership in the Federal Home Loan Bank System. H.R. 299, the Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act of 2015, was introduced by Reps. Joyce Beatty, D-OH, and Steve Stivers, R-OH, in January. Credit unions did not have federal insurance until 1970, and Stivers said that many small institutions decided to remain privately-insured and state regulated. While the number is small compared to the more than 6,000 credit unions in the country, the approximately 130 privately-insured credit unions spread out in nine states don’t meet the FHLB System guidelines. Stivers said that a “legislative oversight” has blocked FHLB membership for this small...

April 10, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHLBank Topeka Extends MPF Mortgage Investing To Members

The Federal Home Loan Bank Topeka now lets members invest in residential whole loan mortgages originated under the Mortgage Partnership Finance Program as an added opportunity and as a risk-sharing measure. This is the first time that an FHLBank has opened its shared credit risk program to members. Dan Hess, chief business officer and senior vice president of FHLBank Topeka, told Inside The GSEs that the bank has had a lot of success with the MPF program since it began 15 years ago and wanted to extend the opportunity to its members. “It’s been a high quality asset for us with a low level of defaults throughout the financial crisis,” he said.

April 10, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Merger Creates Largest FHLB, More Than 100 Staff Laid Off

While creating the largest Federal Home Loan Bank in the system, both geographically and membership wise, about 75 percent of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle workforce will be laid off due to a merger with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines. The merger, approved in December by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, officially goes into effect in June, trimming the Seattle bank’s workforce to just 35 employees in the regional office. About 109 employees will be laid off before 2015 ends. Both banks unanimously approved the merger and said it will result in a cooperative that is stronger than either bank on an individual basis. Once combined, the bank will be headquartered in Des Moines.


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