Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to FHFA.

March 26, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA Likely Will Keep Base Fannie/Freddie Guaranty Fees Unchanged, but Look for a Cut in Certain LLPAs

In early April, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is expected to issue its long-awaited proclamation on guaranty fees with the likely outcome of no change whatsoever in the base fees charged by the two government-sponsored enterprises, according to officials tracking the issue. Few lenders are counting on a reduction in the current “ongoing” GSE fee, which increased from 13 basis points in 2009 to 40 bps in 2013, according to the FHFA. But there could be relief on ...

March 20, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Indianapolis FHLBank Admits Another REIT Captive Insurer Despite Proposed Ban

Despite the Federal Housing Finance Authority’s proposed rule that would block real estate investment trusts from joining a Federal Home Loan Bank through captive insurance units, the Indianapolis FHLBank approved a new REIT member. An insurance subsidiary of Five Oaks Investment Corp. was admitted on Feb. 24, according to the REIT’s 2014 annual report released this week. A handful of other REITs, including Two Harbors, Redwood Trust and Invesco ...

March 20, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Pressure Grows on FHFA to Push Common Securitization Platform Planning Beyond Focus on Existing GSE Business

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senate lawmakers this week urged the Federal Housing Finance Agency to move the budding common securitization platform for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “past the duopolistic tendencies of the past.” The FHFA originally directed the two government-sponsored enterprises to develop the CSP so that it would be open to and functional for all residential mortgage securitizers, but the agency last year detoured slightly ... [Includes one data chart]

March 13, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

OIG Cites Flawed Process in Fannie’s CAE Selection

In a March 11 report, the Office of Inspector General scrutinized Fannie Mae’s appointment of its chief audit executive. The report highlights “risks” associated with the October 2013 candidate selection. The CAE is responsible for directing Fannie’s internal audit department, a critical element of Fannie’s risk management controls, according to the report.

March 13, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Issues Guidelines to Spur Sales of GSE Distressed Loans

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac held $54 billion mortgages more than a year past due as of the end of the third quarter of 2014 and the Federal Housing and Finance Agency is counting on selling more nonperforming loans to the private sector.

March 13, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Treasury and FHFA Differ on CSP Development Strategy

The development of the common securitization platform is in the works, but Treasury officials have a slightly different view of its implementation than does the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The FHFA said although progress on building the CSP is continuing, the agency is most focused on moving toward a single security. FHFA Director Mel Watt noted that both of the initiatives are “highly interrelated,” but he made it clear that a single security for the GSEs is a priority for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2015.

March 13, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Officials Say GSE Risk-Sharing Needs to Keep Evolving

Although the Federal Housing Finance Agency has tripled the targets for GSE risk transfers in 2015, Treasury officials say the program needs to evolve further and offered a number of new strategies to consider.

March 13, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Market Share Hits Post-Conservatorship Low in 4Q14

For the first time since the GSEs were put in government conservatorship over six years ago, the flow of new mortgages sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac accounted for less than half of primary-market production. [Includes one chart.]

March 13, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSE Common Securitization Platform May Get Beta Test Later This Year

Officials from the Federal Housing Finance Agency as well as the government-sponsored enterprises will give an update on the common securitization platform project at an upcoming technology show – but don’t expect a “beta” test, at least not yet. Over the past two weeks, Inside MBS & ABS had been hearing reports that a private “demo” of the CSP was in the works – and might possibly happen at a technology show later this month in Orlando, sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association. FHFA principal strategist Michael Aneiro is scheduled...

March 13, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

NY Court Clears BofA’s $8.5B MBS Settlement with Investors; Nomura Goes to Court Against FHFA

The dispute around an $8.5 billion settlement between Bank of America and non-agency MBS investors may be at an end after a New York state appeals court signed off on the deal. The agreement would mean a quick end to a lengthy legal battle over a settlement that was first announced on June 28, 2011. It also means the agreement could become the template for all representations-and-warranties settlements with large institutional investors, analysts said. BofA agreed...

March 12, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Jumbo Market Showed Modest Gains in 4Q14, Claimed Growing Share of New Originations

Jumbo mortgage production last year grew its share of total originations to its highest level since well before the financial collapse that launched the era of the “agency jumbo” loan. Mortgage lenders cranked out a total of $291.1 billion of home mortgages with loan balances exceeding the old conforming loan limit of $417,000. Like everything else in mortgages, jumbo production was down from 2013, by 22.4 percent. But total mortgage originations fell...[Includes three data charts]

March 6, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Treasury: Speed GSE Change

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should move more quickly and expand key initiatives that are laying the groundwork for mortgage-finance reform, according to a Treasury Department official. In remarks prepared for an industry conference this week, Michael Stegman suggested the government-sponsored enterprises should expand their risk-transfer activities and open up the development of the common securitization platform to non-agency participants. “The near-term CSP initiative would not succeed...

March 5, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

New Policy Implemented for Fannie and Freddie Sales of Seriously Delinquent Loans

The Federal Housing Finance Agency this week directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide a lot more transparency in the fledgling process of selling nonperforming loans, or NPLs, and to make sure borrowers are taken care of in the process. Freddie this week announced details on its second NPL sale; Fannie has not yet done such a transaction. But both government-sponsored enterprises are expected to emphasize selling their less-liquid assets, such as NPLs and non-agency mortgage securities, as they continue to downsize their retained portfolios. The new guidelines cover...

March 5, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Refinance Bounce in Late 2014 Not Quite Enough To Offset Sharp Drop in Purchase-Mortgage Lending

Most mortgage lenders reported solid increases in refinance originations during the fourth quarter of 2014, but the faltering purchase-mortgage sector still accounted for most of their business. A new Inside Mortgage Finance ranking and analysis reveals that refinance originations increased by 16.9 percent from the third to the fourth quarter. Based on securitization figures from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, refi activity rose by a more modest 14.0 percent, although these data trail the primary market by one or two months. Meanwhile, purchase-mortgage originations were...[Includes five data charts]

February 27, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Improvements Seen in Processing of Short Sales

Servicers are benefitting from quicker transaction times on short sales, according to Fannie Mae. The government-sponsored enterprise said transaction time has been cut in half for short sales compared with the end of 2012, though the number of these transactions has also declined significantly. Short-sale transaction timelines currently average 45 days to 60 days, down from an average of 120 days in late 2012, according to a post on Fannie’s Housing Industry Forum website. The GSE said the HomePath short sale portal has helped reduce the time it takes to complete a short sale. The portal was released...

February 27, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Issues New Guidance on Fraud Reporting by FHLBanks

The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently updated its regulatory guidance for the Federal Home Loan Banks on the reporting of fraudulent financial instruments. The new guidance instructs the FHLBanks to implement policies and procedures for complying with the reporting requirements regarding anti-money laundering and suspicious activity that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network published Feb. 25, 2014. The FinCEN regulation takes some of the provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act and applies them to the FHLBanks, and delegates examination responsibility to the FHFA to determine compliance. “Generally, the FinCEN regulation requires that each regulated entity develop an anti-money laundering program and file suspicious activity reports (SARs), among other requirements,” the FHFA said. The FinCEN reg took effect April 28, 2014. The ...

February 27, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

HARP Volume Continued To Taper Off in 2014

The flow of refinance mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increased during the fourth quarter, but the two GSEs continued to see declining volume in the Home Affordable Refinance Program. According to figures from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie and Freddie securitized 432,376 refinance mortgages in the fourth quarter, up 11.1 percent from the previous period. Fannie had the bigger gain, 16.2 percent. But total HARP activity fell 15.3 percent from the third quarter, and for the year it was down 75.9 percent from 2013 levels. The biggest slowdown in HARP were mortgages with loan-to-value ratios exceeding 105 percent. Both GSEs are doing more non-HARP streamlined refi business than in the program set up in 2009 for underwater ... [with two exclusive charts] ...

February 27, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSEs Focus on ‘Less Liquid’ Assets in Paring Retained Mortgage Portfolios

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reduced their combined mortgage investment portfolio by 13.7 percent last year by focusing on less-liquid assets. The two government-sponsored enterprises still had $821.7 billion of mortgages and MBS on their books at the end of the year. Freddie reported that it sold $16.5 billion of less-liquid assets such as unsecuritized mortgages, multifamily assets and non-agency MBS. At the end of the year, some 59 percent of its portfolio was designated as less liquid, down from 62 percent at the end of 2013. The Federal Housing Finance Agency in 2013 directed...[Includes one data chart]

February 27, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Mortgage Industry Counting on Slightly Lower Guaranty Fees for Fannie and Freddie MBS

Although the Federal Housing Finance Agency has yet to tip its hand on where it might be headed regarding guaranty fees, most of the industry is betting on no change at all – or possibly a slight reduction, according to interviews conducted by Inside MBS & ABS over the past two weeks. Moreover, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac themselves are playing a key role in the decision-making process, at least that’s what Freddie CEO Donald Layton said recently. “Guaranty fees are...

February 20, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Market Participants Raise Some Issues, Questions About Proposed GSE Single Security With FHFA

Industry participants in the Treasury Market Practices Group raised questions about the tax consequences and other issues involved in the plan to develop a “single security” in a meeting with the Federal Housing Finance Agency last month. The recently released minutes of the meeting do not provide much detail. The FHFA representatives described in broad terms the project to create a fungible MBS that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would both issue in the to-be-announced market. In response, “Most TMPG members noted...

February 13, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Study: GSE Conservatorships Don’t Comply With HERA

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is not fulfilling its statutory responsibility to preserve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in conservatorship, according to a legal analysis by former government officials. The GSE conservatorships, particularly under the current arrangement that siphons off nearly all of their earnings, violates the terms of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, said Michael Krimminger and Mark Calabria. Krimminger was formerly an expert on bank receiverships at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and Calabria was a Republican staffer at the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee when HERA was being drafted and enacted. Their paper argues that crippling Fannie and Freddie by preventing them from rebuilding capital is exactly the opposite of the way...

February 13, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

New Seller/Servicer Rules May Give an Edge to Large Nonbanks

Recently proposed new minimum financial eligibility requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seller/servicers – including net worth, capital ratio and liquidity criteria – appear to be less restrictive than expected but may give an edge to large nonbanks over smaller players and new entrants, analysts say. Announced Jan. 30 by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the eligibility requirements consist of three primary components. In terms of minimum net worth, the proposed requirement for all seller/servicers is a base of $2.5 million plus 25 basis points of unpaid principal balance for total loans serviced. As far as minimum capital ratio is concerned, the proposed requirement for all non-depository seller/servicers is to have tangible net worth/total assets greater than 6 percent. “Depository institutions ...

February 13, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Watt: I’m Not Presuming ‘Abuse’ by Captives That Want to Join FHLB

The Federal Housing Finance Agency isn’t providing a timetable on when it might decide the thorny issue of captive insurance companies becoming members in the Federal Home Loan Bank system. In a recent press briefing, FHFA Director Mel Watt also clarified that he is not presuming that any current members or applicants want to “abuse” their membership benefits, but said the agency must still go through the process of fielding comments on a proposal that would effectively ban captives from joining the system. Roughly 18 current members of the FHLBanks are affected by the proposed ban, seven of which are affiliated with real estate investment trusts. Captives do not write coverage outside of their own company. Traditional insurance companies that ...

February 13, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Actions Lay Foundation For Legislative GSE Reform

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt has repeatedly said that GSE reform should be left to Congress. However, industry analysts suggest that the FHFA’s actions under Watt are helping to build a foundation for legislation. Michael Stegman, counselor to the Treasury Department for housing finance policy, said the FHFA’s actions are helping to create bipartisan consensus for provisions to be included in GSE reform. He pointed to the common securitization platform, risk-sharing transactions and capital standards for private mortgage insurers. Stegman said the FHFA’s actions are just a starter, particularly because Watt’s actions could be reversed by the next director of the FHFA. The Treasury official was among the speakers who addressed the current state of the GSEs at ...

February 13, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Watt Signals the End May Be Near on Principal Reductions

The Federal Housing Finance Agency continues to analyze the issue of principal reductions for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans, but Director Mel Watt made it clear recently that unless it’s a “win-win” for both the borrower and the GSEs, the issue is a non-starter with him. Moreover, in a press briefing, he made it clear that at some point the FHFA may take the issue off the table entirely. “We’re doing a lot of work on this,” Watt said, suggesting that if a program ever sees the light of day, principal reductions would be done “in a responsible way.” The FHFA has come under political pressure from left-leaning members of the Democratic Party, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts ...

February 13, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Arch’s New MI Product Covers Jumbos; Will It Aid the Securitization Market?

It’s no secret that the securitization market for jumbo loans has been anemic since the housing bust of 2008, but is mortgage insurance a possible panacea? Arch MI recently set up a new subsidiary that will write coverage on jumbo loans as well as portfolio products. In its press statement, Arch said it created Arch Mortgage Guaranty Co. in part to aid lenders that want to securitize. In a recent interview with Inside MBS & ABS, Arch MI President David Gansberg said...

February 12, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Inter-Party Differences Hinder Action in Congress on Mortgage Finance Reform

Internal differences among Democrats and Republicans – let alone the strong differences between the two parties – have prevented Congress from resolving the conservatorship of the two government-sponsored enterprises, according to industry analysts. At the ABS Vegas conference this week sponsored by the Structured Finance Industry Group and Information Management Network, two people with intimate knowledge of matters in the House and Senate pointed to inter-party issues regarding GSE reform. Andrew Olmem, a partner at the law firm of Venable and a former Republican chief counsel and deputy staff director at the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs until 2013, noted...


With the recent dip in interest rates, how do you feel about loan volumes this year?

We see loan production ending 2015 flat compared to 2014.


We’re optimistic that our originations will rise by 10 to 20 percent year over year.


We’re really optimistic: We expect production to increase by 20 percent or better from last year.


We’re not so bullish. Originations for us may actually fall.


Housing Pulse