Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to FHFA.

June 24, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Examiners Hightlight GSE, FHLB Concerns in New Report

Examiners raised several issues in the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s annual report to Congress detailing the work of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks. One critical issue in the report, released last week, was the GSEs’ inability to build capital. Examiners said income reductions from shrinking portfolios, coupled with decreases in income from reserve releases and legal settlements and market-to-market volatility from their derivatives portfolio all increase the likelihood of negative net worth in future quarters. Moreover, the examiners said credit-risk transfer initiatives also impose costs that will reduce the GSEs’ earnings. Fannie’s problem assets continued to decline in 2015, but the examiners...

June 24, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

GSEs Sold Credit Risk on $1 Trillion in UPB So Far

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have now sold credit risk on more than $1 trillion in unpaid balances of single-family mortgages combined. As of the second quarter, Freddie sold slightly more and transferred the risk on $552.7 million, and Fannie sold $550.1 billion. In the second quarter, Freddie’s credit risk transfer transactions amounted to $75.6 million, an increase from $53.7 billion in the first quarter but less than the $98.0 billion transferred in the second quarter of 2015. Fannie transferred the risk on $37.3 billion in the first quarter, down from the $65.9 billion the previous quarter and $46.2 billion a year earlier.

June 24, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

White House Blocks Document Release in Shareholder Case

The White House is blocking the release of years- old memos and emails surrounding the Treasury sweep of GSE profits. This month, it formally invoked presidential communication privilege over four documents specifically. But some wonder if it’s just to avoid embarrassment. These particular documents represent communication between former National Economic Council members Brian Deese, Gene Sperling and Jim Parrott. And this is in addition to documents the Treasury has already protected under other executive privilege claims. A judge in the Fairholme Funds, Inc. et. al v. the United States case requested on May 27 that the court view the draft memos and emails. One of the documents is a draft memorandum from...

June 24, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

New Bill Presses Treasury to Research Ending Conservatorship

An Arkansas Congressman introduced a bill last week that would require the Treasury Department to annually exam the possibility of ending the GSE conservatorship. Rep. French Hill, R-AR, said H.R. 5505, the GSE Review and Reform Act, would require Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to lead the reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It would amend the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to require annual studies on ending the conservatorship of the GSEs. He noted that outside of a study done in 2011, the administration has had little engagement with Congress on a path toward ending the eight-year conservatorship and reforming the “broken” housing finance system. Hill added that the...

June 24, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Housing Reform White Paper Part 2 Details Governance, Capital

The latest white paper on housing finance reform details the governance and capitalization plan of a proposal that replaces the GSEs with a new government corporation. But smaller lenders are still uncertain what their role would be in the plan. In what can be dubbed as part two to the white paper, “A More Promising Road to GSE Reform,” published by the Urban Institute, the authors more closely examine their proposed National Mortgage Reinsurance Corp. The NMRC would take over the assets of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac going forward, and would transfer all of the “non-catastrophic” risk on future mortgage-backed securities to the private market.

June 24, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

New Fannie Headquarters Under Construction Raises Eyebrows

Fannie Mae’s $759 million new headquarters has been the centerpiece of public criticism over the past week. A Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of the Inspector General report criticized the FHFA for allowing what it called excessive spending on the downtown Washington, DC, headquarters, which broke ground in mid-May. The review stemmed from an anonymous hotline complaint alleging overspending on the project. The IG questioned the FHFA’s oversight and recommended the agency closely scrutinize the building’s plans and budget. The problem arose when the cost to build out the new space to Fannie’s specifications increased by 54 percent from January 2015. Costs rose from $164.32 square feet to $252.81 square feet. Then back down some in May 2016 to $223.35/square foot.

June 23, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Jumbo Market Closely Tracked Overall Trends in 1Q16 Mortgage Originations, Non-Agency Fared Slightly Better

Jumbo mortgage originations declined by 2.0 percent during the first quarter of 2016, mirroring the modest downturn in overall mortgage lending from the previous quarter. Jumbo originations – including loans that were within the high-cost loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and VA – totaled $100.61 billion in the first quarter, according to a new analysis and ranking by Inside Mortgage Finance. The sector accounted for 26.5 percent of total originations during the first three months of the year, down slightly from a 26.7 percent share in the fourth quarter. The jumbo share of total originations has generally been...[Includes three data tables]

June 17, 2016 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Borrowers with Large Loans Consider Few Lenders

The first report from the National Mortgage Database offers some details on borrowers with large loans beyond the data included in the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The NMDB includes information from surveys administered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The federal regulators survey about 6,000 new borrowers on a quarterly basis, accounting for about 0.4 percent of the population of new mortgage originations ...

June 10, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Sen. Warren Pushes for Comment On FHFA Super-Lien Opposition

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, is urging the Federal Housing Finance Agency to solicit public comments on FHFA’s policy regarding super-liens imposed by homeowner associations on loans in foreclosure. The FHFA has said it is obligated to protect the rights of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and will aggressively do so. Super-lien laws are currently in 22 states and the District of Columbia. They allow homeowner associations that are owed fees to take priority over ...

June 10, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Judge Orders FHFA, Treasury to Produce More Documents

A judge overseeing a key GSE shareholder lawsuit says she will look at another batch of government documents to determine whether they should be made available to the plaintiffs. The Federal Housing Finance Agency and Treasury Department are opposing the decision. Judge Margaret Sweeney’s May 20 order, in the Fairholme Funds, Inc. v. The United States case, requests that the defendants provide the court with hard copies of some of the documents listed in the ...

June 10, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA’s Attempt to Consolidate Shareholder Cases Denied

A key judicial review panel last week said the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s March bid to consolidate all the GSE shareholder lawsuits and transfer them to one court was “inappropriate” and rejected the government’s request. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation said that the government’s case for centralization was not strong enough. “On the basis of the papers filed and hearing session held, we conclude that centralization is not necessary for the ...

June 10, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Watt Receives Multiple Letters Urging for GSE Reform Action

Calls for a GSE recapitalization are growing louder as industry groups and lawmakers urge Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt to exercise his authority and suspend the Treasury Department’s sweep of Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac profits. Letters to the FHFA and Treasury last week came from a group of small lenders, affordable housing organizations and civil rights advocates, while a group of 32 Democrats on Capitol Hill also chimed in ...

June 9, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Groups Divide on Top Priority For GSEs: Recapitalization or Total Reform

A growing number of mortgage-industry groups, housing interests and Democrats on Capitol Hill are urging the Federal Housing Finance Agency to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin to restore their capital bases, while others urge the FHFA to leave the matter to Congress. The Mortgage Bankers Association joined with four other groups this week in urging the FHFA to maintain the current state of conservatorship for the two government-sponsored enterprises and let Congress tackle broad mortgage-finance reform. “Absent reform, we run the risk of continuing to kick the can down the road without ensuring ongoing access to mortgage credit for millions of future homeowners,” the groups said. Joining the MBA were...

June 9, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

House Republican’s Dodd-Frank Alternative Includes QM Safe Harbor for All Portfolio Loans

Portfolio lenders would get an expanded safe harbor from litigation under the qualified mortgage standard in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ability-to-repay rule under a proposed Republican replacement of the controversial Dodd-Frank Act. “Our plan ... provides critically needed mortgage relief with reforms that let community banks back into the mortgage business and ensure qualified borrowers can purchase a home while preserving prudent underwriting standards,” said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, in a speech at the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday morning. “Changes include an ability-to-repay safe harbor for loans held on portfolio, ensuring the availability of mortgage credit for manufactured homes, fixing the way points and fees are calculated, and exempting small servicers from escrow requirements.” The proposal, the Financial CHOICE (Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs) Act, includes...

June 9, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Lack of TRID Guidance Prompts Fannie Mae to Issue More Clarification Re: Self Reporting Errors

Government-sponsored enterprise Fannie Mae recently issued some additional guidance to its mortgage lender partners about self-reporting deficiencies in complying with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s integrated disclosure rule known as TRID. In a new selling-guide announcement, Fannie said, “Lenders are not obligated to self-report any matters related to possible TRID non-compliance, regardless of the number of loans involved, except in two limited circumstances where a repurchase demand is an authorized remedy.” The first circumstance is...

June 3, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

MA Lawmakers Urge FHFA to Delay Action on HOA Super Liens, Recommend Public Comment

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, wants the Federal Housing Finance Agency to delay any decision regarding contesting homeowner association foreclosures that will extinguish Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rights under controversial state super-lien laws. Warren, who co-signed a letter to FHFA Director Mel Watt in May with Sen. Edward Markey, D-MA, and eight Massachusetts lawmakers, wants the FHFA to first solicit public comments on the potential change in policy. Under super-lien laws in 22 states, including Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia community associations are given...

May 27, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Roundup

Ditech and HLP Principal-Reduction Outreach. Ditech Financial and Hope Loan Port collaborated to find distressed homeowners eligible for the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s new principal- reduction modification program. The two parties said HLP’s platform “is designed to integrate HUD-approved non-profit housing counselors seamlessly and securely with Ditech’s mortgage servicing operations, enabling counselors to more easily help homeowners who may qualify for the program.” Freddie’s Third NPL Transaction of 2016. This week Freddie Mac announced a $783 million non-performing loan transaction featuring seven pools, including two extended timeline pools targeting smaller investors. The NPLs are currently serviced by Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC. FHFA Request for Comment. The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued a request for comment this week for a host of technical...

May 27, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Hosts Final HARP Webinar Urging Borrowers to Beat the Clock

Following a yearlong spree of nationwide outreach events and social media campaigns, the Federal Housing Finance Agency hosted its final webinar this week to encourage participation in the Home Affordable Refinance Program. HARP is set to expire on Dec. 31, but the agency is making a final push to reach out to some 325,290 borrowers it says are still eligible for refinance. While participation continues to dwindle since the program was introduced in 2009, FHFA said homeowners can still save $2,400 a year with a HARP refinance before time runs out. The agency shot down a couple of program myths and emphasized that being significantly underwater doesn’t disqualify borrowers from HARP and said...

May 27, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA-OIG Racks Up Funds from Criminal, Civil Investigations

The Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General reported that the compensation resulting from six months of probes into criminal and civil investigations amounted to $3.6 billion. The bulk of the monetary damages awarded, more than $3 billion, was in civil settlements, while more than $480 million was from criminal fines, restitutions, forfeitures, and settlements. There were a total of 53 indictments, five trials, 73 convictions and 75 sentencings. Laura Wertheimer, inspector general at the FHFA, said when there’s not sufficient evident to refer a case for criminal charges, the FHFA will work to bring civil claims. One of those recent civil settlements was with Morgan Stanley, which agreed to pay a $2.7 billion penalty to resolve claims related to its mortgage-backed securities.

May 27, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Single-Security, CSP on Target for Multi-Year Launch

The Single Security is on target for implementation in Freddie Mac’s platform in 2017 and is set to reach the second stage in 2018, according to officials speaking at the Mortgage Bankers Association secondary market conference last week. David Applegate, CEO of Common Securitization Solutions, the joint venture owned by the GSEs that is building the Common Securitization Platform, said in 2018 Fannie Mae will switch its to-be-announced business to the CSP and begin issuing Single Securities that will be fully interchangeable with Freddie Single Securities. The GSE plans to use the CSP for all of its new mortgage-backed securities issues, including non-to-be-announced products such as securities backed by adjustable-rate mortgages, said Renee Schultz, senior vice president of capital markets at Fannie.

May 27, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Didn't Provide Proof of Fraud, BofA's $1.2B Penalty Dismissed

Bank of America escaped having to pay $1.2 billion in penalties when a federal appeals court dismissed the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s allegations of fraud this week. The appeal stemmed from a 2013 verdict stating that Countrywide Home Loans, a subsidiary of BofA, was liable for damages caused by selling bad loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the financial crisis. Whether or not a breach of contract can also support a claim for fraud was the argument and primary factor in the judge’s decision. It seems that even if a loan seller is guilty of an intentional breach of contract, it’s not considered fraud.

May 26, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

With Servicing Costs Steadily Rising, Is it Time to Think The Unthinkable: A Hike in GSE Servicing Compensation?

Although mortgage delinquency rates are once again at pre-crash levels, servicing costs continue to rise, leading some factions of the industry to ask whether Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should increase the standard 25 basis point fee they pay to their servicers. The issue of higher servicing compensation was raised by an individual lender during the audience Q&A at a panel featuring the top single-family executives of the two government-sponsored enterprises at last week’s secondary market conference sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Both noted that servicing has changed significantly since the housing crisis, and that the Federal Housing Finance Agency has directed them to review servicing compensation. Subsequent interviews conducted by Inside Mortgage Finance revealed...

May 20, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

HARP Participation Numbers Continue to Dwindle, FHFA Plans Push as Program Heads for Moth Balls

Activity in the Home Affordable Refinance Program continued to dwindle in the first quarter of 2016 as the post-housing crisis initiative winds down before expiring at the end of the year. HARP refinances fell to just 19,989 in the first quarter, down 5.2 percent from the previous period and off 36.8 percent from a year ago, according to a new Federal Housing Finance Agency report. While both government-sponsored enterprises saw a decline in volume, Freddie Mac volume was...[Includes one data table]

May 20, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Single Security, CSP Still on Target for 2-Stage Launch, $270 Million Sunk Into Project so Far

Freddie Mac and Common Securitization Solutions remain on track for the first stage of the ambitious Single Security to be implemented next year, according to officials speaking at this week’s secondary market conference sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association. David Applegate, CEO of CSS – the joint venture owned by the two government-sponsored enterprises that is building the common securitization platform – also said the project is on target to reach the second stage sometime in 2018. That’s when Fannie Mae will switch its to-be-announced business to the CSP and begin issuing Single Securities that will be fully interchangeable with Freddie Single Securities. Renee Schultz, senior vice president of capital markets at Fannie, said...


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