Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to FHFA.

January 20, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSEs Working on Accounting, Tax Issues Likely To Emerge in the Transition to Single Security

Freddie Mac has begun talking with the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission about issues that are likely to crop up as the two government-sponsored enterprises implement the new Single Security, according to a summary of the most recent meeting of the Industry Advisory Group in December. One issue is the tax treatment of compensation that MBS investors receive for converting legacy Freddie participation certificates for the new uniform MBS, which will have a longer payment delay. “Although it is not definitive, we believe the IRS will ultimately view the float compensation as well as any incentive payment that is paid as part of the exchanges as taxable income when received,” the meeting summary states. Freddie provided...

January 13, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

IG: FHFA Should Better Manage Nonbank Servicer Risks

A recent audit showed that the Federal Housing Finance Agency needs to do a better job at managing nonbank risks such as mortgage servicing transfers. In response, the FHFA said it will finalize a risk-based proposal to examine how well the GSEs manage that and other risks by the end of this month. The FHFA’s Inspector General said that the agency has not made sure that both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are tackling potential risks. The IG noted that out of three advisory bulletins issued that addressed nonbank servicer risk, one of the GSEs only complied with one of the bulletins.The heavily redacted report doesn’t mention which GSE failed to comply with the bulletins, but a...

January 13, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Treasury Dept. Talks Housing Progress and New Goals

As the guard prepares to change in a week, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in an exit memo released last week that only legislation can comprehensively address “the ongoing shortcomings of the housing finance system.” In the memo, Lew documents the Treasury’s progress over the last eight years and outlines his goals for the future of the department. He said that fixing the housing finance system remains the major unfinished piece of work of post-financial crisis reform. While he said the housing market has improved, Lew acknowledged that many homeowners and neighborhoods continue to struggle. “A starting point for such legislation should be the principles President Obama laid out in 2013, which stressed a clearly-defined role for the...

January 13, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

FHLBanks to Expand Diversity and Inclusion Program, Other Changes

The Federal Home Loan Banks Office of Finance announced changes this week to some of their debt programs and said they will allow more securities dealers to participate in their diversity and inclusion program. The FHLBank is planning to incorporate other aspects of diversity, beyond what’s already been established, in order to help expand the scope of dealers eligible to participate in the program. The first change went into effect Jan. 10 when the minimum new issue par amount for negotiated callable bonds decreased. That number will drop from $15 million to $10 million when diversity and inclusion dealers participate in the underwriting group.

January 13, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Investors Unite Hopes Privatization Leads to Shareholder Fairness

With increased talk of privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Investors Unite wants reassurance that shareholders will be treated fairly. The GSE shareholders rights trade group said, “Now everybody is talking about ending the conservatorship,” in a recent blog posting. While that may be an exaggeration, since the presidential election there has been a renewed interest in bringing the GSEs out of its eight-plus years conservatorship, where they’ve been since September 2008. Recent talks began with and snowballed after Treasury-secretary designee Steve Mnuchin said that getting the GSEs out of government control would be a top priority for the new presidential administration. And Mnuchin said that he plans to do this “reasonably fast.”

January 13, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Reform Outlook Optimistic, Questions Remain

Although the question of when the conservatorship status of the GSEs will be resolved is still up in the air, a new administration has many speculating that change is on the horizon for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The November election gave Republicans both houses of Congress and the executive branch. This seemed to lend itself to more talks on when and how to reform the GSEs as they approach close to a decade in conservatorship. But, while the sentiment to do something is apparent, agreeing on the best path forward is a different story. And, as in the past, there is no shortage of competing thought processes and proposals.

January 13, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

The Outlook for GSE Reform Brightens, But When and How is a Different Story

Change in the political balance in Washington that put the GOP in control of both houses of Congress and the executive branch has fueled speculation that something will finally be done to resolve the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As in the past, there is no shortage of competing proposals. At an Urban Institute seminar this week, Rick Lazio, former Republican congressman from New York, said...

January 13, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

FHA’s New Pricing Adjustment Could Boost Ginnie Mae Issuance, Trigger Prepayments on Premium MBS

The 25 basis-point mortgage insurance premium cut announced this week by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s departing leadership could switch $50 billion of issuance from Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac business to FHA as well as cause premium Ginnie Mae MBS to prepay faster, according to market analysts. Absent any adversarial pricing by private mortgage insurers, a guaranty fee adjustment by the Federal Housing Finance Agency or a reversal by the Trump administration, analysts with Bank of America Merrill Lynch see up to 12 percent of purchase and 2 percent of refis shifting to FHA. On June 9, HUD Secretary Julian Castro announced...

January 13, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Fourth-Quarter Slump in New GSE Credit-Risk Transfers Leaves 2016 With Small Increase from Previous Year

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last year issued a combined $12.93 billion of debt notes that pay investors based on the performance of reference pools, according to a new Inside MBS & ABS analysis of their credit-risk transfer programs. That was up just 2.8 percent from the 2015 volume of new issuance in Fannie’s Connecticut Avenue Securities program and Freddie’s Structured Agency Credit Risk program. It brought total issuance in the two platforms, which started issuance in late 2013, to $38.08 billion. Interestingly, total new single-family MBS production by the two government-sponsored enterprises was...[Includes one data table]

January 12, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA to Step Up Pressure on Fannie and Freddie to Manage Nonbank Servicer Risks

The Federal Housing Finance Agency says it will finalize new plans for examining how well Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac manage the risks of mortgage servicing transfers this month. The agency has been under scrutiny by its Inspector General for failing to push the two government-sponsored enterprises to manage risks posed by nonbank servicers. In a new report, the IG said the FHFA has not fully made sure that both GSEs are following the three advisory bulletins it has issued that address nonbank servicer risks, among other things. The report is heavily redacted, making it difficult to determine where FHFA examiners have failed, but it appears that there have been shortcomings for one of the GSEs. The three advisory bulletins address...

January 6, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Freddie Mac Issues Its First Risk-Sharing Security Backed by Seasoned Mortgages

In late December, Freddie Mac issued a $934.27 million security backed by seasoned mortgages. It was the first seasoned credit-risk transfer from the government-sponsored enterprise. While Freddie has issued fully guaranteed securitizations backed by seasoned mortgages, Freddie Mac Seasoned Credit Risk Transfer Trust, Series 2016-1 included tranches without a guarantee from the GSE, similar to a non-agency senior-sub MBS. The transaction included...

January 5, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA Loosens Rules on FHLBank Advance Collateral And Servicing Transfers for Acquired Mortgages

The Federal Housing Finance Agency late last month issued two final rules that will give the Federal Home Loan Banks somewhat more flexibility in setting collateral requirements for advances and managing their acquired member assets (AMA). A new AMA rule was necessary because the Dodd-Frank Act requires financial regulators to remove references to ratings, which had been used in setting limits on their AMA programs, most of which involve purchases of mortgages from member institutions. Under the new rule, the FHLBanks will be able to choose their own models to determine credit enhancement requirements. The FHFA also deferred...

December 22, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Final Rule Allows FHLBanks To Transfer MSR to Nonmembers

The Federal Housing Finance Agency published a final rule this week allowing the Federal Home Loan Banks to transfer mortgage servicing rights on Acquired Member Assets to any institution, including a nonmember and nonbank. The Dec. 19 final rule reorganizes much of the current regulation governing the FHLBanks’ AMA programs and makes it easier for the banks to take on new business activities. The change was made, in part to recognize the evolving market landscape where a good amount of servicing is being done by nonbanks. The provision noted that any such transfer cannot result in the AMA loan failing to meet any other AMA requirement, including the credit enhancement.

December 22, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA IG Report Notes Lack of Transparency in CSP Cost, Risk

The Federal Housing Finance Agency agreed to disclose the total cost of the common securitization platform after a Dec. 15 audit by the FHFA Office of Inspector General revealed issues in transparency. The auditors said that while the FHFA committed to be transparent in its development of the multiyear project in 2014, the FHFA has not disclosed detailed costs or associated risks in its public reports. Instead, it only discloses the costs incurred though mid-2015. FHFA only disclosed specific CSP cost data once in a September 2015 status report, in which it announced that, from 2012 through mid-2015, the GSEs spent $146 million to develop the actual CSP platform. Then, their 2015 10-Ks revealed the amount increased to $218 million by year-end 2015.

December 22, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA’s Flex Modification to Replace Expiring HAMP Program

With the Home Affordable Modification Program expiring in about a week, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently introduced the Flex Modification foreclosure prevention program to take its place in helping delinquent borrowers get back on their feet. The Federal Housing Finance Agency said that the new program is based on lessons learned from loan modification programs created during the housing crisis. The Flex Modification is a hybrid of three different types of programs, including HAMP. “The Flex Modification program also reflects input received over the course of extensive engagement with lenders, mortgage insurers, consumer advocates, and other stakeholders,” said FHFA Deputy Director Sandra Thompson, adding that by avoiding...

December 22, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Needs Stronger Supervisory Standards, Says the OIG

The Federal Housing Finance Agency came up short when it comes to supervising the GSEs to ensure a “safe and sound operation,” according to a Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General report released late last week. The IG also suggested that the FHFA follow the lead of other federal financial regulators with stronger supervisory standards including the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. “Among our findings was that FHFA had difficulty completing its planned targeted examinations over four supervisory cycles from 2012 through 2015 and that the number of targeted examinations planned and completed during each supervisory cycle has fallen since 2012 for Freddie Mac and has diminished significantly for Fannie Mae,” said the IG.

December 22, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

With Mulvaney and Mnuchin, is a Deal with GSE Shareholders A Strong Possibility?

One of the most speculative stock bets out there – buying shares in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – is looking more like a sure thing these days, thanks to the recent pick of Mick Mulvaney, R-SC, to head the Office of Management and Budget in the new Trump administration. At least that’s how some industry officials and market watchers view it, including the Washington-based research firm Cowen & Co. In a report issued earlier this week, Cowen analyst Jaret Seiberg called the choice of Mulvaney for OMB chief “the most bullish sign yet that the Donald Trump administration will favor a solution to housing finance reform that includes a continued role for Fannie and Freddie.”

December 22, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA’s Duty-to-Serve Gives Credit for MH Chattel Loans

In its much anticipated duty-to-serve final rule issued last week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency gave the green light for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin pilot programs for manufactured housing “chattel loans.” Although duty-to-serve was mandated eight years ago to make sure the GSEs support three underserved markets, (such as manufactured housing,) it was never implemented. The other markets are affordable housing preservation and rural housing. A proposed rule was issued in December 2015 and it’s taken a year to issue the final rule. The FHFA sifted through hundreds of comments on the proposed rule earlier this year, most focusing on the need for greater GSE support when it comes to manufactured housing lending.

December 22, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Scorecard Includes Review of Alternative Credit Assessment

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to closely examine the mortgage servicing business model and wrap up their analysis of alternative credit scoring options in 2017, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s “scorecard” for the GSEs, which outlines specific priorities for the duo. Access to credit has been a much-debated topic of late, and many have called for the GSEs to explore alternative models to the traditional FICO scoring system. Industry insiders argue that the GSE credit profile has remained elevated even though there’s been a significant drop in seller repurchase risk and the housing market has recovered. Under its goals of increasing access to credit, which include access for underserved...

December 16, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

No Huge Changes in GSE Marching Orders for 2017, But Questions Raised About CSP Costs

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to launch a study of mortgage servicing in 2017 and research ways to reach underserved borrower groups, but the new “scorecard” for the government-sponsored enterprises doesn’t portend big changes in their credit-risk transfer programs or the emerging common securitization platform. The most significant new initiative in the 2017 scorecard released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency this week is a new project to assess the mortgage servicing business model. The language is somewhat vague and broad-reaching: “initiate a multiyear assessment of both the challenges facing the mortgage servicing market and potential solutions for identified issues.” The new game plan specifically mentions...

December 15, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

GSEs to Dabble in Personal MH

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will launch pilot programs to purchase personal loans tied to manufactured housing under the final duty-to-serve regulation released this week by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The duty-to-serve requirement was mandated by Congress eight years ago but has never been implemented. The government-sponsored enterprises will devise three-year plans for serving low- and moderate income households in three underserved areas: manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing. Like the annual affordable housing goals set for the GSEs, the duty-to-serve requirement does not include...

December 15, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

New House Bills Focus on Increasing GSE Credit Risk- Sharing Through Pilot Programs, Deeper MI Coverage

Legislation introduced in the last weeks of the 114th Congress would push Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac deeper into the risk-sharing pool, including forcing them into a front-end structure they have so far resisted. The “Taxpayer Protections and Market Access for Mortgage Finance Act of 2016” would require the Federal Housing Finance Agency to push the two government-sponsored enterprises to transfer at least 400 basis points of their total risk. While it’s not clear how the legislation intends this to be measured, it appears...

December 9, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Court Cases Involving Pre-Crisis MBS Winding Down

Two pending mortgage lawsuits involving the Federal Housing Finance Agency, spawned by the housing crisis, have been winding down in recent weeks. One includes a win for Bank of America and the other includes oral arguments in an appeal by Nomura Holdings and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The Department of Justice had until Nov. 21 to appeal an earlier ruling in which BofA, defending practices of Countrywide Financial, got out of having to pay more than $1 billion in penalties to the FHFA. Instead of appealing to the Supreme Court, the DOJ quietly let the deadline slip away. In 2014, a federal judge ordered the bank to pay $1.2 billion in civil penalties.

December 9, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Freddie Now Using CSP After Release 1 Given the Go Ahead

Freddie Mac announced late this week that it is now using the common securitization platform after successfully implementing the first release on Nov. 21. As planned, the GSE will use the CSP for data acceptance, issuance support, and bond administration activities related to current single-class, fixed-rate, mortgage-backed securities. The first release was a test of sorts to make sure that the system, operations, and controls of the platform are functional. It also sets the stage for the second release when Fannie will begin using the CSP in 2018. Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt said the successful implementation of the first release is a “significant milestone” toward the ultimate goal of a common securitization platform and a single security.

December 9, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Freddie Tests CSP

Freddie Mac successfully boarded many of its MBS issuance functions on the Common Securitization Platform on Nov. 21. The government-sponsored enterprise is now using the platform for its data acceptance, issuance support and bond administration activities, according to Freddie and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Freddie reiterated...


HUD has announced a 25 basis point cut in FHA premiums, which is slated to take effect in late January. Is your lending shop for or against a cut in FHA premiums?

For. It should help lending volumes.
Against. The private MI sector should take on this risk, not the government.
Too early to say.
I believe the new White House may scuttle the idea so it doesn’t matter.

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