FHFA

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to FHFA.

September 23, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

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...


September 23, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

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...


September 16, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Shareholders Amend Compaint to Dismiss, Add Charges

Plaintiffs in a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholder case challenging the GSEs’ quarterly earnings sweep dropped some of the charges in their original complaint to bypass the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s motion to consolidate all of the cases. The pair, Gary Hindes and David Jacobs, is looking to dismiss counts that allege derivative breach of contract and other similar claims and instead allege “unjust enrichment” against the Treasury Department. The plaintiffs bought the class action suit focusing on Delaware and Virginia corporate law on behalf of themselves and other stockholders. Court documents in David Jacobs and Gary Hindes v. The Federal Housing Finance Agency...


September 16, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

GSEs' Focus Should be on Credit Access, Honest Stress Test

Talk of housing finance reform is just a “solution in search of a problem,” according to one housing expert. Tim Howard, former senior executive at Fannie Mae for more than 20 years, said that with the GSEs’ loans performing well, the argument for replacing them is becoming harder to make. “It is no longer credible to claim that replacing Fannie and Freddie with an untested alternative, forcing them to do mandatory risk sharing or requiring them to hold bank-like levels of capital could possibly fix what now ails the U.S. residential mortgage market,” said Howard. He said the small size of the credit box is one of the primary problems that needs to be addressed, explaining that...


September 16, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Seeks Input on Mortgage Originations Survey

The Federal Housing Finance Agency seeks comments on its National Survey of Mortgage Originations proposal to collect information from 24,000 borrowers annually about their experience with choosing and taking on a mortgage. Formerly known as the National Survey of Mortgage Borrowers, the FHFA renamed it earlier this summer to avoid confusion with the American Survey of Mortgage Borrowers. The ASMB is different in that it’s FHFA’s tool to solicit information specifically on the borrower’s experience with maintaining their existing mortgage. “In particular, the NSMO provides timely information on newly-originated mortgages and those borrowing that is not available from existing sources,” said the FHFA.


September 16, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

CSP Progress on Track, But Some Leary of Change, Market Fairness

Credit unions and some others in the industry are apprehensive about the changes the GSEs’ Common Securitization Platform will bring as the date nears for Freddie Mac to issue the first mortgage-backed security on the system. The National Association of Federal Credit Unions wrote the Federal Housing Finance Agency last week citing concerns about the CSP’s potential impact on credit unions. While the trade group said it is not opposed to creating a more efficient platform with an open architecture to support multiple issuers, Ann Kossachev, NAFCU’s counsel, worries about a level playing field. “NAFCU and its member credit unions are concerned that the consolidation of the securitization programs will make it more difficult for...


September 16, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Judges in Kentucky and Virginia Dismiss Two Separate GSE Shareholder Cases

Individual investors in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stock lost separate legal battles to inspect the corporate records of Freddie and prove that the Treasury sweep of the government-sponsored enterprises’ profits is damaging and unjust. In the case of Arnetia Joyce Robinson v. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, et al., the shareholder plaintiff argued that her investments were materially damaged when FHFA and the Treasury Department implemented the net worth sweep back in 2012. Robinson argued...


September 9, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSE Risk Sharing: Deep-Cover MI Proponents Suggest Pilot Program, Opponents Say MI Benefits Overrated

While many industry experts say Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should explore deeper mortgage insurance coverage as an alternative form of credit-risk sharing, some say the role of private MIs is overrated. The Urban Institute recently published a paper advocating a broadening of the credit-risk transfer programs at the two government-sponsored enterprises to include private MI coverage down to the 50 percent loan-to-value ratio. The think tank also encouraged Fannie and Freddie to create a more transparent lender recourse program and to diversify their highly successful debt note CRT programs to provide investors more offerings with risk segmented by LTV ratio and credit scores. Although the Mortgage Bankers Association and U.S. Mortgage Insurers, the trade group that represents private MIs, have stumped...


September 2, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Experts Call GSE Servicing Fees Excessive, Behind the Times

Panelists, including former Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Ed DeMarco, said that mortgage servicing has evolved over the years but the costs are still decades behind the times. During a recent seminar on mortgage servicing hosted by CoreLogic and the Urban Institute, industry experts discussed rising costs and the frequency of servicing transfers.Panelists, including DeMarco, now a senior fellow at the Milken Institute, said that mortgage servicing compensation has not changed in decades as the servicing industry itself has undergone what he called “profound changes. The minimum servicing fee for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has been stuck at 25 basis points since the 1980s, he said.


September 2, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Loosens Regulations for New Business Activities by FHLBs

The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued a proposed rule last week that would reduce the amount of approval the Federal Home Loan Banks would need from the regulator before engaging in new business activities. This comes after the FHLBanks wrote the FHFA in 2013 following a request for public comment on existing regulations. The agency said this was done to help improve the banks’ effectiveness and reduce their burden. The agency announced the rule modifying part of its regulations regarding requirements for the FHLBanks’ new business activity in the Aug. 23, 2016, Federal Register.


September 2, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

New Streamlined Refi Program to Start in 2017, HARP Extended

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will implement a new high loan-to-value refinance option in October 2017 to replace the Home Affordable Refinance Program but lenders say it’s too early to know what to expect. While HARP was set to expire at the end of the year, the Federal Housing Finance Agency extended it to Sept. 30, 2017, so there is no gap in refinance offerings. The new high loan-to-value streamlined refinance option has not been named yet, but targets borrowers who are current on their mortgage loans, but have not been able to refinance through traditional programs because of high loan-to-value ratios.


September 2, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

IDR Update Includes New Intermediary Dispute Process

The GSEs recently introduced a new loan dispute procedure that lenders should use prior to engaging a third-party arbitrator. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac launched their independent dispute resolution process early in the year as the final piece to the representation-and-warranties framework to help prevent buybacks.This process uses a neutral third-party arbitrator to determine a final, binding decision about whether there was a loan violation.However, the new impasse and management escalation process, announced last week, is intended to serve as an intermediary between the normal loan dispute appeal process and the final IDR process for seller/servicers.


August 26, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Pressure for GSEs to Expand Role in Manufactured Housing Grows, Freddie Forms MH Task Force

Manufactured housing advocates are pushing for more government-sponsored enterprise support for manufactured lending, especially for chattel loans that are not considered mortgages because the loan is not secured by a dwelling and land. The issue has gathered steam as the Federal Housing Finance Agency works to finalize a “duty-to-serve” regulation for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that focuses on mortgage financing for very low-, low- and moderate-income families in rural areas and manufactured housing. Back in May, the Manufactured Housing Institute and representatives from both GSEs had discussed...


August 26, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

FHFA Announces New Streamlined Refinance To Replace HARP in 2017, Allows Multiple Use

The Federal Housing Finance Agency revealed details this week on a new high loan-to-value streamlined refinance option for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages that will replace the Home Affordable Refinance Program. HARP was due to sunset at the end of this year, but the FHFA extended it until Sept. 30, 2017, with the new alternative beginning immediately after. The as-yet-unnamed option is...


August 25, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Panelists say Mortgage Servicing Is Evolving, But Costs Are Still Stuck in the 1980s

Rising costs for mortgage servicing and more frequent transfers have become key issues for the industry, according to panelists at a seminar hosted by the Urban Institute and CoreLogic last week. Ed DeMarco, former acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and now a senior fellow at the Milken Institute, said that mortgage servicing compensation has not changed in decades as the servicing industry itself has undergone what he called “profound changes.” He noted...


August 25, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FCC Declines to Exclude Servicer Calls to Delinquent Borrowers from TCPA’s ‘Prior Consent’ Requirement

The Federal Communications Commission has refused an industry request to exempt mortgage servicing calls from prohibitions against the use of “robocalls,” or automated dialing and calling systems, to contact delinquent borrowers on their cell phones. In a long-awaited final rule limiting the way servicers can collect on student loans, mortgages and other debts owed to the federal government, the FCC said it would not make a decision on whether the statutory exemption from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s “prior express consent” requirements applies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans or their servicers. The TCPA and FCC regulations require...


August 19, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Guaranty Fees to Remain With No Immediate Plans for a Decrease

Guaranty fees won’t be going lower anytime soon as the Federal Housing Finance Agency said it has no immediate plans to decrease the current level of fees charged. After more than doubling from 2011 to 2015, rising to 56 basis points, the FHFA said the fees adequately reflected the credit risk of new acquisitions.But industry groups argue the fees prevent qualified borrowers from entering the housing market and are passed on to borrowers in the form of up-front closing costs and/or as part of their monthly payments. Earlier this summer a coalition of housing groups wrote FHFA Director Mel Watt about reducing g-fees.


August 19, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Extends Credit Risk Transfer Comment Period to October

The Federal Housing Finance Agency extended the response deadline on its “request for input” on the credit risk-transfer program. The response period will now close on Oct. 13, 2016, instead of Aug. 29. The FHFA extended it by 45 days because various industry stakeholders said they wanted more time to evaluate the information and questions raised in the RFI. Back in June, the FHFA asked for industry feedback on various aspects of its CRT program. Fannie Mae’s Connecticut Avenue Securities program and Freddie Mac’s Structured Agency Credit Risk program have accounted for the bulk of GSE risk-transfer activity since the program was launched three years ago.


August 19, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

GSEs Could Need $125B Bailout in Severe Economic Crisis Scenario

  Although the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s recent stress test results showing that the GSEs could need up to $125 billion in a severe economic crisis, quarterly earnings continue to show a profitability that cancels out the need for a bailout. Required annually by the Dodd-Frank Act, the test of severely adverse scenario is based on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac portfolios as of Dec. 31, 2015. …


August 19, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Freddie Explores Chattel Lending With New MH Task Force

Freddie Mac recently formed a Manufactured Housing Initiative Task Force as the result of manufactured housing advocates pushing for greater support from the GSEs, especially in the form of chattel lending. The group met for the first time in late July in Reston, VA. The meeting came after a comment letter from the Manufactured Housing Institute on the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s duty-to-serve rule, which was followed by an invitation from MHI to discuss chattel loans at an MHI meeting in May. In December, the FHFA issued a proposed rule to implement the “duty-to-serve” provisions included in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.


August 19, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Increases Multifamily Lending Caps by $1.5B

The Federal Housing Finance Agency raised the 2016 lending caps for multifamily by $1.5 billion this week. As momentum in the space continues to grow, the cap is now set at $36.5 billion each for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.The agency last raised the caps in May, from $31 billion to $35 billion. The current combined cap of $73 billion is already 22 percent more than the combined cap for all of 2015, which was $60 billion. This adjustment is based on growing estimates of the overall size of the 2016 multifamily finance market and part of FHFA’s plan to review the market quarterly.


August 18, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

The GSE Guaranty-Fee Debate Continues, FHFA Set on Maintaining Current Level

The Federal Housing Finance Agency again made clear that it has no immediate plans to lower the guaranty fees charged by the two government-sponsored enterprises in conservatorship. Guaranty fees more than doubled from 2011 to 2015, rising to 56 basis points, according to the FHFA’s most recent annual report on g-fees. Moreover, g-fees crept up in the past year, averaging 59 bps in 2015, compared to 57 bps in 2014. But the FHFA believes that slight uptick ...


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