Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to FHFA.

October 21, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Industry Groups Say GSE Credit-Risk Sharing Needs to Develop Front-End Transactions, Improve Transparency

Trade groups representing a broad spectrum of mortgage and securitization businesses generally support an effort by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to develop more credit-risk transfer options, but some cautioned that the government-sponsored enterprises should maintain a level playing field. In response to a Federal Housing Finance Agency request for comments on the CRT program, the Mortgage Bankers Association and U.S. Mortgage Insurers repeated their calls for programs to allow loan sellers to buy deeper private MI in exchange for reduced GSE guaranty fees. To date, the vast majority of Fannie and Freddie CRT deals have been...

October 20, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Ruling that CFPB Sole-Director Structure Is Unconstitutional Could Be Applied to FHFA

A federal court ruling that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure is unconstitutional raises questions that similarly-structured agencies such as the Federal Housing Finance Agency could also be challenged. A DC Circuit Court judge in the PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau case ruled that the CFPB’s single-director structure was not constitutional because it lacked a multi-member board of directors and its sole director cannot be fired without cause. In court, lawyers from the CFPB called...

October 14, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Roundup

Freddie names NPL winners while Fannie announces another NPL sale. With all Message Manager reports now available on Fannie Mae Connect, the old system is about to sunset. The FHLBanks report on their 2015 low-income housing activity. FHFA tapped into social media for a last-ditch effort to make sure struggling homeowners knew about its principal modification program before deadline passed. Fannie's economists score a repeat award victory. And New York clergy speak out against GSE reform.

October 14, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Guidance Issued on GSE Data Management and Usage

The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently issued guidance on data management and usage and said it expects Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to have the appropriate policies, procedures and standards in place.The advisory bulletin noted that the architecture of the data should provide easy access and effective utilization across the GSE as appropriate. Each GSE should also establish data quality requirements so that data used for decision-making are relevant, accurate, complete, timely and consistent. Five different areas concerning data were highlighted in the bulletin. Under data governance, the FHFA said that the GSEs should each establish a data...

October 14, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

OIG Finds FHLBank Examiners Not Following Up on Found Deficiencies

The supervision of examiners in the Division of Federal Home Loan Bank Regulation has been lax when it comes to making sure deficiencies within the FHLBanks are corrected, according to a recent Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of the Inspector General report. The IG reviewed a sample of nine matters requiring attention (MRA) that the division issued from January 2014 through December 2015. When it comes to correcting serious supervisory matters, the IG said that the bank regulator has been inconsistent in following FHFA requirements. For two of the MRAs, examiners determined that the affected FHLBank made no progress in remediating the deficiencies and reissued MRAs with the same exact terms.

October 14, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Issues Guidelines for Fannie, Freddie, FHLBank Internal Audits

The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued guidance for the GSEs and Federal Home Loan Banks to establish independent internal audit (IA) functions. This is so they can relay timely information and make the appropriate corrections when it comes to elevated risks. The agency requires the boards of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHLBanks to have an audit committee and a chief audit executive (CAE) solely responsible for the IA function. The FHFA said that the CAE must establish internal audits that are independent and objective so that they effectively identify and assess risks. Internal audits should cover the entire audit universe over a maximum four-year period.

October 14, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Two Different Twists on GSE Housing Finance Reform

In the latest round of housing reform proposals, the Milken Institute recommends the best way forward is to just amend the charters of the GSEs, Federal Housing Finance Agency and Ginnie Mae. This is a different twist on the Urban Institute’s proposal earlier this year, which suggests completely merging Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into a government corporation that pushes its credit risk into the private market. Authors Michael Bright, director in the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets, and Ed DeMarco, senior fellow at the institute and former FHFA acting director, said those amendment changes include turning the GSEs into mutuals owned and operated by their seller-servicers and making Ginnie Mae a stand-alone government corporation.

October 14, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Ruling on Government Documents in GSE Shareholder Case Causes Concern

Documents revealed to plaintiffs’ attorneys in a prominent GSE shareholder case is causing some to question what President Obama was told about Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s profitability when the Treasury sweep took place in 2012. Judge Margaret Sweeney released her 80-page opinion last week and it gave more insight into her decision. While only a short summary sentence of each of the 56 documents is available now, it does show communication between high-level officials at the Treasury Department, Federal Housing Finance Agency and the White House regarding the Treasury’s sweep of Fannie and Freddie profits. Investors Unite, a GSE shareholder group, noted that the government might have been trying to keep the documents hidden because...

October 14, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Industry Groups Express Varying Views in CRT RFI Comments

The comment period on credit risk transfers ended Oct. 13 and letters from industry groups have been pouring in this week, with many primarily focusing on the issue of front-end versus back-end credit-risk transfers. While some advocate for more front-end risk- sharing deals, instead of the back-end ones that account for more than 80 percent of CRTs to date, others warned that “winners and losers” should not be picked. Back in June, the FHFA asked for industry feedback on various aspects of its CRT program. It also extended the deadline from August to October because industry stakeholders wanted more time to evaluate the questions raised in the request for input.

October 14, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

Could Judge's Ruling on CFPB Structure Ultimately Affect FHFA?

The ruling handed down this week that concluded the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional has led to industry chatter that the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which is similarly structured, could be more closely examined. In PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a DC Circuit Court judge found that the bureau’s single-director structure was unconstitutional and dismissed a $109 million penalty against PHH for violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Robert Maddox, financial services litigation attorney with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, told Inside The GSEs, “While the court did not address the constitutionality of FHFA, the framework of FHFA may possibly lend itself to the same constitutional scrutiny as the CFPB.”

October 14, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Judge’s Ruling Revealed in GSE Case, False Claims of Privilege Raise Questions

U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Margaret Sweeney’s ruling, released last week, raises new questions about the validity of government efforts to keep thousands of other documents secret in a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholder case over the net worth sweep imposed by the Treasury Department and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, according to shareholder advocates. In Fairholme Funds Inc. v. United States, et al, shareholders argue that the net worth sweep of the government-sponsored enterprises’ profits is unfair, and they have scored significant victories in getting access to various written communications to prove their claim. The recent batch of documents Sweeney released to the plaintiff’s attorneys show...

October 13, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

GSE Nonperforming Loan Activity Update, Fannie Mae Surpasses 2015 Offerings

Fannie Mae has significantly ramped up its nonperforming loan sales in 2016, while Freddie Mac is running slightly behind the pace it set in 2015. Fannie offered $4.69 billion of NPLs through the first nine months of this year, compared to $2.78 billion for all of 2015. The government-sponsored enterprise announced five more pools totaling $1.39 billion up for sale this week, moving the year-to-date total to $6.08 billion. The latest sale is...

October 7, 2016 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

High Volume at GSEs from Non-Agency-Like Loans

Special treatment for the government-sponsored enterprises regarding debt-to-income ratios on qualified mortgages and “emergency” high-cost loan limits accounted for about 25.0 percent of the single-family business that passed through the GSEs in the first half of 2016, according to an analysis by affiliated publication Inside The GSEs. In the first six months of 2016, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securitized $64.52 billion of single-family mortgages with DTI ratios ...

October 7, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

Milken Institute Authors Suggest Housing Finance Reform via Agency Charter Amendments for GSEs, Ginnie and the FHFA

The Milken Institute suggests simply amending the charters of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae and the Federal Housing Finance Agency for a smooth transition toward a new secondary mortgage market. Those changes include turning the government-sponsored enterprises into mutuals owned and operated by their seller-servicers and making Ginnie Mae a stand-alone government corporation. Amending the charters could accomplish a wide range of objectives that have eluded legislators and policymakers since the conservatorships, the authors said. Michael Bright, director in the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets, and Ed DeMarco, senior fellow at the institute and former FHFA acting director, said...

October 6, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

NY Clergy Express Concern About GSE Reform that Would Favor Big Banks, Shortchange Minority Communities

A group of New York Baptist clergy, mostly in Harlem and the Bronx, has joined the chorus of those raising concerns about potential Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform efforts that would compromise affordable housing goals. In a letter to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, the 38 religious leaders echoed fears raised by other groups that Congress might hand the government-sponsored enterprises’ business over to big banks. They contend that the biggest banks have “consistently displayed a disinterest” in lending to minority-based communities and lack a “duty to serve” commitment comparable to the one the GSEs have. “Efforts to transfer the mortgage securitization platforms of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into the hands of the big banks create...

October 3, 2016 - Inside the CFPB

CFPB Signs Off on Revised Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac URLA

The CFPB, under its authority to administer the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B, has bestowed its official approval upon the revised and redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application, the standardized form used by borrowers to apply for a mortgage loan, issued earlier this year by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The issuance of the 2016 URLA was part of the effort by the two government-sponsored enterprises to update the corresponding Uniform Loan Application Dataset (ULAD). Staff of the CFPB has reviewed the 2016 URLA as per a request by the two GSEs and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, their regulator and conservator, for official approval under ECOA and Regulation B. Regulation B Section 1002.5(b) provides rules concerning requests for ...

September 30, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Proposes Revised Idemnification Policy

The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently redrafted the proposed indemnification payments rule to make it easier to understand. The proposed rule looks to replace a provision concerning indemnification payments by regulated entities in conservatorship with one that clearly states that the regulation does not apply to such entities. This issue has been brewing since 2008 when the FHFA published an interim final rule on severance agreements and indemnification payments. It then re-proposed the proposed amendment on indemnification payments in 2009. Now the agency said it wants to clarify the fact that it does not consider indemnification payments to be subject to FHFA rules and procedures related to compensation.

September 30, 2016 - Inside The GSEs

IG Report says FHFA Lacks Proper Follow-Up on 'High Priority' Risk

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s risk assessments were not a proper follow-up to targeted risk, according to the FHFA’s Office of the Inspector General. The IG noted that between 2012 and 2015, the examiners’ assessments often had little to do with the high-priority risk they are supposed to be supervising. …

September 30, 2016 - Inside MBS & ABS

A Few Additional Details Revealed About New ‘Minimum’ G-Fee for Fannie and Freddie MBS

Documents obtained by Inside MBS & ABS reveal that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were required to charge the same “minimum” guaranty fee for single-family guaranty commitments issued on or after Aug. 1. Both government-sponsored enterprises received identical marching orders for minimum g-fees: 44 basis points for 30-year mortgages and 30 bps for 15-year loans. And, according to copies of emails from the Federal Housing Finance Agency following up on the agency’s initial July 29 directive, an unspecified number of Freddie sellers were paying less than the minimum. The names of these sellers were redacted...[Includes one data table]

September 29, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

New, Alternative GSE Credit-Scoring Models Would Get a Boost From Bill Under Consideration in House

Mortgage lenders would be able to extend more credit to traditionally underserved borrowers with greater confidence and sell those loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to proponents of legislation pending on Capitol Hill. H.R. 4211, the “Credit Score Competition Act of 2015,” introduced by Rep. Ed Royce, R-CA, would allow Fannie and Freddie to consider alternative scoring models when determining whether to purchase a residential mortgage. Further, the Federal Housing Finance Agency would be given...

September 29, 2016 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Freddie’s Deep Coverage MI Pilot Underwhelms Mortgage Bankers and Private MIs Looking for Something Else

Freddie Mac’s newly launched front-end credit-risk transfer pilot doesn’t appear to be the expansion of credit-risk transfers that mortgage bankers have been clamoring for. For starters, the deep MI pilot won’t result in lower guarantee fees, which is what the Mortgage Bankers Association has been seeking. And it’s not the deep-cover primary insurance that private MIs would like to write. Under the Freddie Mac Deep MI pilot, the government-sponsored enterprise is purchasing...

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...


After the November elections, how long will it take for a new Congress and White House to pass GSE reform legislation?

I’m confident a bill will be passed the first year.


2 to 3 years. GSE reform is complicated.


Sadly it won’t happen in a Clinton or Trump first term.


Not in my lifetime.


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