FHFA

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to FHFA.

April 10, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

MBS Prices Are Rising, Which Likely Means Good Things for REITs That Loaded Up

The price of agency MBS has been rising since early April, which can only mean good things for publicly-traded real estate investment trusts that own the asset class. However, REIT share prices haven’t improved much of late, with some companies such as Annaly Capital Management continuing to trade closer to their 52-week lows than their highs. Late this week, for instance, Annaly – one of the largest MBS investing REITs – was trading at $11.30 compared to a 52-week high of $15.98 and a low of $9.66. But better days may be...


April 10, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Advocates Laud Senate Reform Bill Housing Trust Fund Provisions; House GOP Urges Continued Non-Payments

Affordable housing advocates are praising the leadership of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee for including a “robust dedicated source of revenue” for the National Housing Trust Fund in their bipartisan housing-finance reform legislation. A provision of the legislation filed by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, would expand both the base and the rate for the National Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund. Current law provides...


April 4, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHLB Bank, Thrift Advances Rise in Fourth Quarter, 2013

The use of Federal Home Loan Bank advances by bank and thrift members at the end of 2013 rose on both quarterly and yearly bases, according to the Inside Mortgage Finance Bank Mortgage Database. The nation’s banks and thrifts used a combined $406.1 billion in advances as of Dec. 31, 2013, up 26.7 percent from the third quarter and a 21.6 percent increase from the same period a year earlier. Two of the top three members posted virtually no change on a percentage basis between the third and fourth quarters but all three posted significant increases on a year-over-year basis.


April 4, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Enterprise Endnotes

Seniors Group Targets Johnson-Crapo Bill Supporters With Paid Media. A right-leaning seniors advocacy group has taken out television and radio ads in seven states to call out supporters of the Senate’s bipartisan proposal to overhaul Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, labeling it “Obamacare for the mortgage industry.” The 60 Plus Association campaign targets seven senators for supporting a measure by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, arguing that the bill would wipe out GSE shareholders. Three Democrat and four Republican senators were named in the campaign.


April 4, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Experts: GSE Shareholders Face Uphill Legal Battle vs. Government

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac junior shareholders face an uphill battle in their lawsuits challenging the Treasury’s August 2012 “net worth sweep” that effectively allows Uncle Sam to confiscate all of the companies’ profits, warns a legal expert. Investors are challenging the amended agreements regarding the seniority of Fannie and Freddie preferred stock owned by the federal government over investors’ GSE preferred stocks. More than a dozen lawsuits filed against the government – led by hedge funds Perry Capital and Fairholme Capital Management – are pending in federal district court in Washington, DC, and in the Court of Federal Claims.


April 4, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

OIG Slams FHFA’s Oversight of GSEs’ Pre-Foreclosure Reports

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s oversight of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s pre-foreclosure inspection process can and should be enhanced by strengthening quality assurance and controls, according to a new audit by the agency’s Office of the Inspector General. The FHFA-OIG audit found potential fraud in property inspection reports ordered by the two GSEs. Among the findings: the property inspection reports – which are used for foreclosures – contained inaccurate information that conflicted with corresponding photographs.


April 4, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Former FHFA Acting Director DeMarco Resigns from Agency

The former acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency tendered his resignation from the FHFA last week in order to “seek other opportunities.” Edward DeMarco, who served as the agency’s “temporary” head from September 2009 until January 2014, submitted his resignation – effective April 30 – to his successor, FHFA Director Mel Watt. Far from unexpected, DeMarco’s exit from the agency was seen within many industry circles as inevitable once the Senate confirmed Watt to a five-year term as director.


April 4, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

House Dems Seek GSE Jobless Moratorium via Bill, Regulation

Whether by legislation or by regulation, a group of House Democrats want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to give unemployed homeowners a break by issuing a foreclosure moratorium. Last month, Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-PA, filed H.R. 4255, the Stop Foreclosures Due to Congressional Dysfunction Act, which would require the Federal Housing Finance Agency to establish a six-month moratorium on GSE-guaranteed mortgages held by homeowners who have lost their emergency unemployment compensation “due to congressional inaction.” The bill requires that borrowers must have been in good standing prior to losing their unemployment benefits in order to be eligible for the temporary forbearance.


April 4, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

BofA MBS Lawsuit Settlement Shrinks List of FHFA Defendants

It’s only a matter of time before the remaining big bank defendants settle lawsuits filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency over billions in non-agency mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the years leading up to the housing crisis, predicts a legal expert. Last week, Bank of America agreed to a $9.3 billion settlement that covers its own dealings as well as those of Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, which it acquired in 2008. The agreement covers some $57 billion of MBS issued or underwritten by these firms.


April 4, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA’s 2014 Conservatorship Scorecard Under Review by GSEs

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has sent a draft 2014 Conservatorship Scorecard to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for review, but it remains unclear how different it will be from the GSE goals the FHFA set for last year. According to industry officials who have been briefed on the matter, the scorecard will likely be released by month’s end. The scorecard was the brainchild of former FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco, who led the agency for more than four years before former Rep. Mel Watt, D-NC, assumed a five-year term as the agency’s director in early January.


April 4, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Senate GSE Reform Faces House Competition, Growing Opposition

Mounting opposition from both the left and the right, a month-long wait to mark-up and newly filed competing legislation in the House could doom the already tenuous effort by two senior senators to move a GSE reform bill this year, say industry observers.Given the need for speed and a closing legislative window, last week’s announcement by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, that the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee would mark up their housing finance reform package on April 29 – well over a month after the bill’s initial March 16 rollout – is not seen as a good sign.


April 3, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA Keeps 2014 ‘Scorecard’ Under Wraps; Watt May Change What Agency Measures

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s annual “performance goal” scorecard for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has been issued to the two government-sponsored enterprises for comment and likely will be released by month’s end, according to industry officials briefed on the matter. But as for its contents going forward, that’s a different matter entirely. The 2013 version set forth...


March 31, 2014 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB, Other Feds Propose Rule on Minimum Requirements for AMCs

The CFPB and five other federal financial regulators issued a proposed rule last week that would implement minimum requirements for state registration and supervision of appraisal management companies. The minimum requirements would apply to states that voluntarily elect to establish an appraiser certifying and licensing agency with the authority to register and supervise AMCs. Under the proposed rule, participating states would require that an AMC register in the state and be subject to its supervision, and use only state-certified or licensed appraisers for federally related transactions, such as real estate-related financial transactions overseen by a federal financial institution regulatory agency that require appraiser services.


March 28, 2014 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

More FHFA Non-Agency MBS Lawsuits Settled

Bank of America this week agreed to settle lawsuits filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency regarding non-agency mortgage-backed securities purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Eleven of the 18 non-agency MBS lawsuits filed by the FHFA in 2011 have now been settled and the claims against BofA and its affiliates were by far the largest. BofA said it agreed to make a total of $5.8 billion in payments to Fannie and Freddie as part of the settlement and spend $3.5 billion to ...


March 28, 2014 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Little Support for Reducing GSEs’ Loan Limits, Housing Market Seen as Too ‘Fragile’

Lowering Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits is one of the easiest levers the federal government could pull to increase non-agency participation in the mortgage market but most market participants favor keeping them at their current levels. In December, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that it was considering reducing the loan “purchase limits” for the government-sponsored enterprises. Under the plan, the GSEs could not purchase loans exceeding ...


March 28, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

High-Cost Conforming Loan limits, Once Deemed an ‘Emergency’ Measure, On Track to Remain In Place

It’s too soon to reduce agency loan limits, according to numerous trade groups involved in the securitization and mortgage origination markets. Momentum in Congress also appears to be moving toward maintaining the high-cost loan limits, a category of loans that was created in 2008 on an “emergency” basis. In December, the Federal Housing Finance Agency issued a request for input on a proposal to set loan purchase limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Ed DeMarco, the FHFA’s acting director at the time, was considering reducing the loan amount eligible for purchase by the government-sponsored enterprises from $625,500 in high-cost areas to $600,000 and reducing the national loan purchase limit for the GSEs from $417,000 to $400,000. DeMarco said...


March 28, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

BofA’s $9.3 Billion Settlement Doubles Overnight FHFA’s MBS Litigation Recovery; S&P Moves to Split Fraud Trial

With just one accord this week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency more than doubled the amount it has recovered on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from issuers and underwriters that sold subprime and Alt A MBS to the government-sponsored enterprises. Bank of America agreed to a $9.3 billion settlement that covers its own dealings as well as those of Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch, which it acquired in 2008. The agreement covers some $57 billion of MBS issued or underwritten by these firms. BofA did not admit...[Includes one data chart]


March 27, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Feds Propose Minimum Requirements for State Oversight of Appraisal Management Companies

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Housing Finance Agency and four other federal financial regulators issued a proposed rule this week that would implement minimum requirements for state registration and supervision of appraisal management companies. Mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, the requirements would apply to states that voluntarily choose to establish an appraiser certifying and licensing agency with the authority to register and supervise AMCs. While there would be no penalty imposed on states that do not establish a regulatory structure for AMCs, these businesses would be barred from providing appraisals in such states. The provisions in the proposed rule are...


March 27, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Old Republic Encounters Cold Reception in Capital Markets,Will Use Own Funds to Prop Up Ailing MI

Old Republic International has abandoned plans to recapitalize its mortgage guaranty subsidiary for lack of investor interest and will tap its own resources to boost the regulatory capital of its ailing MI companies while trying to pay off remaining claims, according to top company executives. The decision was due to ORI’s unsuccessful bid to attract new investors under the terms and conditions laid out by the RMIC Companies, which constitutes Old Republic’s consumer credit indemnity and mortgage guaranty lines of business. The two operations are currently in runoff mode and have not written any new business since 2008 and 2011, respectively. While the failure to attract fresh funding was disappointing, it does not change...


March 21, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Enterprise Endnotes

Fannie, Freddie Helped by Special Servicers. While nonbank servicers are under scrutiny from a number of different parties, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said special servicers reduce credit losses compared with traditional bank servicers. In its latest earnings report, Freddie said it facilitated the transfer of servicing for $55.6 billion in unpaid principal balance to special servicers in 2013. “Some of these specialty servicers have grown rapidly in the last two years and now service a large share of our loans,” the GSE said.


March 21, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Forecast: GSE Dividends a $179 Billion Cash Cow for Treasury

GSE profits are poised to remain the multi-billion dollar gift that keeps on giving to Uncle Sam over the next decade, according to a White House analysis. The analysis, which is part of the Obama administration’s 2015 budget, assumes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac remain in operation and continue to pay dividends to the government under the current “net worth sweep” arrangement promulgated by the Treasury Department in the summer of 2012. As part of the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request, the White House Office of Management and Budget released projections that the GSEs could return an additional $179.2 billion to the Treasury through 2024.


March 21, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Lawmakers, Trade Groups Oppose FHFA Loan Purchase Limits

Lawmakers and industry groups are strongly suggesting that the Federal Housing Finance Agency think twice then forget about its proposal to set GSE conforming purchase limits. The conforming loan limit is currently $417,000 and the high-cost conforming loan limit is $625,500. Last December, the FHFA proposed to establish “loan purchase” limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which wouldn’t occur until October at the earliest.


March 21, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

New MI Master Policies Fall Short

New master policies announced recently by the Federal Housing Finance Agency for private mortgage insurers may not provide the touted improvements or additional clarity, warned attorneys with Reed Smith’s Insurance Recovery Group. The revised MI master policy requirements are designed to ensure consistent and reliable MI coverage for greater operational efficiency and transparency in the mortgage market. They are supposed to improve and clarify the various rights and ...


March 21, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Report: Fannie, Freddie Liquidation Value Worth Some $200 Million

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a liquidation value – excluding what they’ve already paid to the federal government – potentially well north of $200 billion, according to an independent evaluation conducted on the two GSEs.The report, conducted by Alvarez & Marsal, concluded that if the two GSEs are eventually liquidated, the federal government could reap $170 billion to $234 billion in net proceeds. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a liquidation value – excluding what they’ve already paid to the federal government – potentially well north of $200 billion, according to an independent evaluation conducted on the two GSEs. The report, conducted by Alvarez & Marsal, concluded that if the two GSEs are eventually liquidated, the federal government could reap $170 billion to $234 billion in net proceeds.


March 21, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Mum on New Scorecard, GSEs Get High Marks for 2013 Goals

With the first quarter of the year nearly over, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has yet to indicate when, or even whether, it will issue its 2014 Conservatorship Scorecard. The agency debuted its scorecard in early March 2012 under then FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco as a means to implement in fuller detail the Finance Agency’s “strategic plan” for a post-Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac secondary market.


March 21, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Experts: Johnson-Crapo Bill Prospects Mixed in Election Year

Most industry observers expect it will be too tall of an order for Congress to finish the difficult task of enacting GSE reform in 2014 amid the high-stakes mid-term elections and with political control of the Senate up for grabs. However, some experts note that lawmakers, both Democrat and Republican, may become more open to compromise and horse trading closer to the end of the year if it means getting legislation to the President’s desk rather than risk starting over next year with a potentially GOP-controlled 114th Congress.


March 21, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Johnson, Crapo Issue Draft Senate GSE Reform Legislation

Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, finally delivered this week their long-awaited mortgage reform bill that provides for a wind down of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and create in their place a new mortgage insurance entity to act as a new federal backstop. The 442-page draft by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee sets a five-year timeline to shut down the two GSEs, while creating the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corp., a utility that securitizes and guarantees mortgages.


March 21, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Common Securitization Platform Gets Featured Role In Agency MBS Redesign, But Cannot Find a CEO

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to develop their new common securitization platform in relative secrecy, although the concept has become a key component of mortgage-finance reform recently unveiled by the leadership of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Under the bill drafted by Sens. Tim Johnson, D-SD, and Mike Crapo, R-ID, the CSP would operate as a privately-owned utility through which single-family MBS would be issued, with or without the new explicit government guaranty. Regulated by the new overseer of the MBS market, the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corp., the platform would shepherd...


March 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

What Happened to All the Large Bulk Servicing Sales? The ‘Lawsky Effect’ or End-of-Quarter Slowdown?

It’s been a busy quarter for sales of mortgage servicing rights, but most of them have involved portfolios of $2 billion or less, spurring talk in the industry that regulatory oversight of MSR transfers is affecting the mergers and acquisition market. In particular, dealmakers are starting to call it the “Lawsky Effect,” named after Benjamin Lawsky, the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services who in early February put a “hold” on Wells Fargo’s sale of $39 billion in MSRs to Ocwen Financial. Lawsky has stated his concerns about Ocwen’s fast growth, its capacity to take on massive new assignments and complaints about some of its servicing practices. “I have not heard...


March 20, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Jumbo Share of Mortgage Originations Continued To Climb in 2013, With Big Gains in Non-Agency

The mortgage market has gradually shifted upstream since the collapse of the housing market and the painstakingly slow recovery, with big-ticket mortgages capturing a growing share of new originations, according to a new Inside Mortgage Finance analysis. Mortgages exceeding the traditional conventional loan limit of $417,000 accounted for 19.8 percent of new originations in 2013, up from 16.2 percent during the previous year. And with overall mortgage-production volume slumping over the second half of 2013, the jumbo share of new originations rose to 23.3 percent in the fourth quarter. The secondary-market agencies accounted...[Includes three data charts]


March 14, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

REIT MBS Holdings Fell Sharply in Declining New Issuance Market Dominated by the Federal Reserve

Publicly traded real estate investment trusts reported a 13.5 percent decline in their holdings of residential MBS during the fourth quarter, according to a new Inside MBS & ABS analysis. The industry reported $264.8 billion of residential MBS at the end of 2013, a 26.4 percent drop from the fourth quarter of 2012. The five largest REIT MBS investors all reported double-digit drops during the final three months of 2013, while the mid-range companies generally had smaller declines and three smaller firms actually grew their portfolios. At the top of the table, Annaly Capital Management reported...[Includes one data chart]


March 7, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Banner Profits for Fannie, Freddie During Fourth Quarter, 2013

Higher guaranty fees and improving housing markets propelled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to banner profits during the fourth quarter of 2013 and for the year as whole. The two GSEs reported a combined 2013 net income of $133 billion, helped by significant nonrecurring items related to deferred tax allowance valuation reversals, private-label residential mortgage-backed security lawsuit settlements, increased representation and warranty settlements, and sizeable decreases in loan-loss reserves.


March 7, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Enterprise Endnotes

Fannie, Freddie Slashed CMBS Holdings in 2013. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continued to sell off their holdings of non-agency commercial mortgage-backed securities as the preferred strategy for meeting their regulator's demand that the two GSEs accelerate the reduction in their retained mortgage portfolios. The two GSEs reduced their CMBS holdings by 51.4 percent over the course of 2013, according to an analysis of year-end financial statements.


March 7, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

OIG Memo Cites ‘Deficiencies’ In FHFA Oversight of GSE Pay

Despite gains in oversight and reform of the compensation packages for Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's top-level executives, the Federal Housing Finance Agency did not keep a close eye on the pay packages for scores of GSE vice presidents and directors, according to the FHFA’s official watchdog. In a heavily redacted draft memo released to the public, the FHFA’s Office of Inspector General said that while the agency reviewed and examined the GSEs' executive compensation, it did not keep close tabs on “non-executive senior professional compensation practices.”


March 7, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Societe Generale Latest Defendant To Settle FHFA MBS Litigation

Yet another defendant in the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s massive litigation effort against some of the nation’s largest lenders for bad mortgage-backed securities sales to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has settled. The FHFA announced last week that Societe Generale has agreed to pay $122 million to settle a suit by the Finance Agency regarding non-agency MBS purchased by the two GSEs during 2006.


March 7, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

GOP Senators Push Back Against Bid to Pay into Housing Trust Fund

A group of 14 Republican senators led by Louisiana's David Vitter told the Federal Housing Finance Agency that it should stand fast against any notion of lifting the suspension of contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to two housing trust funds. The GOP senators dispatched a letter last week to FHFA Director Mel Watt, countering a plea signed by 33 Democrats in January calling on the new agency director to immediately authorize GSE funding to the National Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund.


March 7, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Still Hush About GSE Common Securitization Platform

The effort to develop a common mortgage-backed security platform has a budget estimated at up to $300 million, funded by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but the GSEs’ conservator is saying little about its progress. In the nearly six months since the FHFA filed articles of incorporation for the entity creating the common securitization platform, the agency remains silent on key issues related to the project, including the size of its operating budget.


March 7, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Judge Grants Fairholme Discovery Motion in GSE Shareholder Lawsuit

A federal judge last week granted discovery to attorneys for a hedge fund representing one group of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders as it seeks to challenge the government’s August 2012 “net worth sweep” that effectively confiscates both GSEs’ profits. Fairholme Capital Management, founded by Wall Street veteran Bruce Berkowitz, controls roughly $2.4 billion (face value) of Fannie and Freddie "junior" preferred. Thanks to the September 2008 government takeover of the two firms, the U.S. Treasury controls the senior preferred and is effectively the owner of the two GSEs.


March 7, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSE Common Securitization Platform Has Annual Budget of (Maybe) $300 Million but No Final ‘Plans’

It’s been almost six months since the Federal Housing Finance Agency filed articles of incorporation for the entity creating the common securitization platform, but the agency continues to maintain a wall of silence on key issues related to the project, including the size of its operating budget. According to private-sector officials who have been provided certain information about the project – legally incorporated as Common Securitization Solutions LLC – the joint venture has an annual budget of between $100 million and $300 million. One former government-sponsored enterprise executive, requesting anonymity, said...


March 7, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

California Municipalities to Issue ABS Backed by PACE Loans, Challenge from FHFA Not Much of a Concern

A coalition of California municipalities is preparing to issue a $104.40 million ABS backed by proceeds from Property Assessed Clean Energy assessments. The Federal Housing Finance Agency has raised concerns about PACE loans, but industry analysts suggest that the FHFA doesn’t pose much of a risk to the planned ABS, even though a significant portion of the PACE loans in the deal are on properties with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Kroll Bond Rating Agency said 31 states have passed legislation allowing municipalities to create PACE programs. The programs allow local governments to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on privately-owned properties. The Home Energy Renovation Opportunity program is a PACE program that helps finance energy-efficient upgrades and improvements such as solar, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, windows, roofing and water-saving products. HERO Funding Class A Notes, Series 2014-1, is set...


Poll

What do you think is the biggest hurdle to meeting the new QM standards in the CFPB’s ability-to-repay rule?

A debt-to-income (DTI) cap of 43%.

48%

A 3% cap on points and fees.

29%

An interest rate cap of the average prime offered rate (APOR) plus 1.5%.

23%

Housing Pulse