Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to FHFA.

May 29, 2015 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

FHFA Prepares for Increase to Loan Limits

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is making plans for how to increase the baseline conforming loan limit beyond $417,000 as home prices are close to recovering from the financial crisis. The FHFA last week announced that it will use the “expanded data” house price index that the agency has published since 2011 to make adjustments to the baseline conforming loan limit. A change to the baseline limit would also impact limits for high-cost areas, which are allowed to be ...

May 29, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Pilot MPF Direct Program Between FHLB of Chicago and Redwood Expands to Four Banks Total, More Expected

A pilot jumbo loan program between the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago and Redwood Trust has grown to include three more FHLBanks, with the potential to expand to more. Mortgage Partnership Finance Direct is specifically a high-balance loan product that connects the Mortgage Partnership Finance conduit program with Redwood Trust to offer access to private capital when selling fixed-rate mortgages in the secondary market. Eric Schambow, senior vice president and director of the Chicago FHLBank’s MPF Program, said...

May 29, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Chicago FHLB Hopes to Issue Its First Ginnie MBS by the Third Quarter, But Will It Matter?

The Chicago Federal Home Loan Bank hopes to issue its very first Ginnie Mae MBS by the third quarter, and if all goes well certain other FHLBanks may become issuers as well. In a recent speech, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt noted the interest in the program, saying the agency has “approved the requests of several other FHLBanks to participate.” Watt did not identify...

May 28, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA Prepares to Raise Conforming Loan Limits As Home Prices Move Toward Pre-Crisis Levels

Conforming loan limits could go up for the first time in years as the Federal Housing Finance Agency formally announced plans to use one of its own home price indexes to calculate changes. “Given the rising prices, it is now important that FHFA formally establish the specific methodology it will use for tracking prices and adjusting the baseline loan limit,” the agency said in a public notice seeking feedback. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 prevents...

May 22, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Economists Tout Model for House Price Trends

Economists at the Federal Housing Finance Agency published a paper last week detailing a model that could be a better gauge of how low house prices can fall than models used before the financial crisis. “Leveraging a model based upon consumer and investor incentives, we are able to explain the depth of housing market downturns at both the national and state level over a variety of market environments,” the economists said. The economists noted that their model is dynamic, which is more useful than the static models used by the predecessor to the FHFA, which “proved insufficiently stressful in the lead up to the Great Recession.” A model based on a static shock can produce an insufficient level of stress ...

May 22, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Wins Lawsuite on Non-Agency MBS, Appeal is PLanned

Although the trial between the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Nomura Holdings is over, Nomura said that it is planning an appeal. The Japanese-based investment bank was found financially liable last week when Federal Judge Denise Cote ruled the bank knowingly sold bad mortgage-backed securities to the GSEs ahead of the 2008 financial crisis. The FHFA is working to put a dollar amount on the damages that Nomura and RBS Securities, the underwriter of four of the seven securitizations at issue, should pay. Nomura spokesman Jonathan Hodgkinson, said in a statement that losses by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac resulted from an unprecedented decline in home prices. However, that defense approach failed. According to Cote “given the magnitude of falsity, it’s not surprising that the defendant...

May 22, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHLB Proposed Membership Rule Still Faces Uncertainty

The Federal Housing Finance Agency continues to mull over the decision on whether to ban captive insurance firms owned by real estate investment trusts from the system. The agency received 1,300 comment letters on the controversial proposal and Mel Watt, FHFA’s director, was vague last week on when a final decision would be made. “FHFA is continuing to evaluate the comments we received and we will come to a resolution as quickly as we can prudently do so,” he said during the Federal Home Loan Banks Directors Conference in Washington. Last year, Watt raised safety and soundness concerns about captive insurers borrowing and joining the FHLB system. Some regulators are concerned that REITs and other financial...

May 22, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

CSP Being Bult for 'Now,' With Plans to be Adaptable

The common securitization platform and single security are years away, but officials from the GSEs, the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Common Securitization Solutions, LLC, offered additional information about future plans and the inner workings of the platform at the Mortgage Bankers Association Secondary Conference in New York this week. Robert Fishman, FHFA’s senior associate director in the office of strategic initiatives, said the two initiatives are intimately related because the CSP will be the platform to issue the single security. The CSP was already been underway when the single security was announced a year ago. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “are critical to the current function of the housing market. So while it’s very helpful to think about the...

May 22, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Dishes on Single Security Progress, Vague on Timeline

In tandem with its efforts to build a common securitization platform, the Federal Housing Finance Agency provided an update on its progress in developing a single security for the GSEs last week. “The single-security project is intended to improve the overall liquidity of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities, and lower costs for borrowers and taxpayers,” said the FHFA. The recent update primarily focused on the decisions it made based on the 23 response letters it received and dialogue the agency had with industry leaders after initiating a request for input last year. While representatives from the Federal Home Loan Banks suggested that the FHLBank system become an eligible issuer of single securities, the FHFA declined that proposal.

May 22, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Lenders Cautiously Laud Rep-And-Warrant Framework Clarity

Lenders are showing “restrained enthusiasm” for the new rep-and-warrant policy changes, according to Jeremy Potter, general counsel and chief compliance officer with Norcom Mortgage. The changes were made to help reduce uncertainty in addressing lenders’ concerns about when they might be asked to repurchase a loan. “On the one hand, you had some restraint where the lender’s reaction was ‘what am I really getting and how is this going to actually materialize?’ But on the other hand, there is the enthusiasm about an example of a regulator, investors and the lender community working together to make a significant advancement to accomplish goals that are good for everyone,” he said.

May 22, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Single-Security Is Years in the Distance as CSS Focuses On ‘Getting It Right,’ Bringing All Parties to the Table

Officials involved in the development of the common securitization platform and the single, interchangeable MBS for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have vowed not to publicize any timetable for the project. And despite several attempts to get an answer during a panel session at this week’s secondary market conference sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association, they stuck to their plan. They went out of their way to stress that they haven’t forgotten about potential non-agency users sometime down the road. But that’s...

May 15, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

FHFA Extends HARP One More Time, Weighs Development of New Streamline Refi GSE Program

The Federal Housing Finance Agency surprised no one when it announced a fifth, and final, extension of the Home Affordable Refinance Program for underwater Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans. But industry experts are intrigued by the prospect of a new streamlined refi program for the two government-sponsored enterprises. Analysts from Barclays said an extension was widely expected by the market and, as a result, “may not have much of an effect on seasoned cohort valuations.” FHFA Director Mel Watt announced...

May 15, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Nomura Found Liable, MBS Suit v. Goldman Revived, Put-Back Claims Argued, CMBS Payments Protected

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is trying to put a dollar amount on damages it believes Nomura Holdings and RBS Securities should pay after a federal judge found the companies liable in connection with Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s pre-crisis investments in non-agency MBS. Judge Denise Cote of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said the complex case boiled down to whether the defendants accurately described in the offering documents the mortgages that underlie the securities sold to the government-sponsored enterprises. It was...

May 15, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Shelby Bill Would Open Access to Emerging GSE Securitization Platform, Expand Risk Transfers

A new regulatory relief bill drafted by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, would guarantee that the common securitization platform project managed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be open to all MBS issuers “as soon as practicable,” and structured as a nonprofit utility. The legislation, which also expands the risk-transfer activities of the two government-sponsored enterprises, lays the groundwork for the CSP being transferred away from the GSEs and managed by a third-party provider. But that doesn’t mean...

May 14, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Ocwen Making Headway on GSE Servicing Sales, But It’s Unclear Why the Firm Is Holding Onto its Ginnie Rights

Since late February, Ocwen Financial has struck four different deals to sell $89.4 billion in Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac servicing rights. Although buyer interest in the high-quality receivables was strong, getting those transactions past the Federal Housing Finance Agency has been a different matter. Industry advisors note that in general Fannie and Freddie promise their seller/servicers they will approve MSR transfers within 60 days unless there’s a problem. Last summer, the approval time was increased from 30 days, a change that did not receive much publicity. The FHFA, on the other hand, offers...

May 14, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA Provokes Critics on Capitol Hill by Weighing Hefty Increases in Fannie/Freddie CEO Compensation

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is drawing flak after asking Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac CEOs to submit executive compensation analyses that could significantly boost pay for top management at the government-sponsored enterprises. The FHFA capped Fannie and Freddie CEO salaries at $600,000 in 2012, but FHFA Director Mel Watt wants to change that. In its first-quarter earnings statement, Freddie revealed that the regulator asked the GSEs’ boards to review CEO compensation. Rep. Ed Royce, R-CA, doesn’t...

May 14, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Shelby Reg Relief Bill Would Grant QM Status To Portfolio Loans, But Dem Support Uncertain

Residential mortgages held in portfolio would be granted safe-harbor qualified-mortgage status under draft regulatory relief legislation circulated early this week by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. To get that classification, the lender would have to hold the loan in portfolio from inception, and any person acquiring the loan must continue to hold it in portfolio. The loan cannot provide for negative amortization or interest-only payments, and the loan term could not exceed 30 years. Also, the lender would still have...

May 8, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Roundup

REITs Continue to Join FHLBs. American Capital is the latest captive insurer mortgage real estate investment trust to join a FHLB. It announced in April that it joined the FHLB of Des Moines. A spokesman for the FHFA said that there has been no movement as of yet on the proposed ban to prevent REITS from gaining membership. Freddie Mac Announced Standard Pool Offering. Last week Freddie announced an upcoming auction of a $233 million standard pool offering of delinquent loans. The loans are offered as a single pool of geographically diverse deeply delinquent non-performing loans that are currently being serviced by Ocwen. Bids....

May 8, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Relaxes Multifamily Limits on Fannie and Freddie

The Federal Housing Finance Authority announced on May 7 that it is easing loan limits on certain types of multifamily mortgages to exclude them from imposed $30 billion financing caps set on the GSEs earlier in the year. While the $30 billion cap on new multifamily lending won’t change, the FHFA is revising the excluded category to “facilitate continued liquidity in the multifamily finance market which has increased substantially since the initial cap was set.” With continuing growth in the multifamily market, analysts said there is a growing concern that the GSEs may hit the cap by the third quarter. Industry insiders also said that one of the goals is to ease the concern of both a possible tightening....

May 8, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Wants More Workplace, Business Diversity from FHLB

In efforts to encourage and promote diversity, the Federal Home Loan Banks and the Office of Finance were directed to include demographic data pertaining to their boards of directors in its annual minority and women inclusion reports submitted to the Federal Housing Finance Authority. “FHFA’s minority and women inclusion regulations reflect the importance the agency places on diversity and inclusion,” said Sharron Levine, associate director at FHFA’s Office of Minority & Women Inclusion. “The amendments to the regulation focus attention on the Federal Home Loan Banks’ responsibility to promote diversity in nominating or soliciting nominees for positions on their respective boards of directors.” The banks and Office of Finance must now be more specific and include descriptions of their outreach activities and....

May 8, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Stress Test Shows Possible GSE Shortfall in a Future Crisis

The results of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s annual stress test on the GSEs show that the duo could have up to a $157 billion shortfall in the event of another economic downturn. The test, conducted as part of a Dodd-Frank Act requirement, shows three hypothetical economic scenarios and gives information on a possible range of future financial results. The GSEs used their respective internal models to project their financial results based on the assumptions provided by the Federal Reserve and the FHFA. One of those scenarios is a “severely adverse” scenario showing how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would perform if home prices declined about 25 percent and the unemployment rate peaked at more than 10 percent.

May 8, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Super-Priority Lien Foreclosures Warnings Helps GSE Risk-Sharing

After the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s April warning against super-priority lien foreclosures, Moody’s Investors Service said the action is beneficial to future GSE risk-transfer deals where investors bear actual losses, including Freddie Mac’s latest STACR securitization. “The newest Freddie Mac deal, STACR 2015-DNA1, will benefit from lower losses owing to the Federal law defense to homeowner associations’ super lien foreclosures because investors bear losses commensurate with the actual, not formulaic, loss severities,” said Moody’s. Last week, the FHFA reiterated its original statement issued in December, alerting homeowners, financial institutions and state authorities on concerns about states creating super-priority liens. The warning noted that federal law prohibits state courts from involuntarily terminating GSE liens while they are operating in conservatorship, regardless of state laws that permit

May 8, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

Lending Survey Shows Little Impact from Rep-and-Warrant Changes

New life-of-loan representation and warranty- exclusion guidelines issued by the GSEs in November, appeared to have little impact on banks’ lending policies so far, according to a recent Federal Reserve Board survey.The rep-and-warrant changes were intended to reduce uncertainty and increase transparency in addressing lenders’ concerns about when they might be asked to repurchase a loan. The concerns were based on repurchase risk and other market factors that can cause an increase in credit overlays. “Addressing these concerns by providing tighter definitions and clarity should encourage sellers to serve a broader range of qualified borrowers,” said Dave Lowman, Freddie’s executive vice president of single -family business, when the changes were announced in November.

May 8, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSEs Focus on ‘Less-Liquid’ Assets in Trimming Retained Portfolios During First Quarter of 2015

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continued to follow orders and prune their retained investment portfolios – and potential future income – during the first quarter of 2015. But the government-sponsored enterprises ended the period holding more of their own MBS than when it started. The combined Fannie/Freddie mortgage investment portfolio fell 0.5 percent during the first quarter of 2015. Under their conservatorship agreement, each GSE is required to reduce its mortgage portfolio to $250 billion by the end of 2018. They each have a little over $150 billion more to go and, as of the end of March, 15 quarters to do it. The Federal Housing Finance Agency has directed...[Includes one data chart]

May 1, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Analysts Expect New PMIERs Rules to Have No Material Impact on GSE Issuance, Prepayments

New capital requirements for private mortgage insurers are a positive for the industry and should not cause a big change in MI premiums, high loan-to-value prepayments or net issuance of conventional MBS, according to a new analysis from Barclays Research. The reason for analysts’ optimism is that the effective rate for conventional conforming mortgages with private MI has been more attractive than on an FHA loan for borrowers with FICO scores above 700 and original LTVs of 80-95 percent. The opposite has been true for borrowers with low FICO scores. Consequently, issuance of conventional loans over the past year has largely favored...

April 24, 2015 - Inside The GSEs

GSEs Tout Benefit of PMIER Rules, MIs Say They Will Be Ready

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced new changes to private mortgage insurer eligibility rules on April 17 and the GSEs said the revisions will play a role in helping to reduce the risk to taxpayers by making sure the MIs are financially and operationally strong. During the financial crisis, some MIs couldn’t fully pay their claims, resulting in losses to the GSEs and taxpayers. The FHFA hopes the revised requirements will help lessen the chances of falling back into the same boat should there be another crisis. United Guaranty, the highest-rated GSE-approved mortgage insurer, said PMIER revisions are “a critical and necessary step that will allow the entire mortgage insurance industry to move forward by incorporating lessons learned during the financial crisis.”

April 24, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Trends

Government Mortgage Stimulus a Wash

Recent actions by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the government-sponsored enterprises and FHA to make it easier for borrowers to get a mortgage are probably going to be an inconsequential wash overall, according to a panel of industry representatives and policy experts. However, there was some optimism expressed as well. Commenting on last week’s changes from the FHFA on GSE guaranty fees and loan-level price adjustments, Ron Haynie, senior vice president of ...

April 24, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

Changes to GSE Guaranty Fees and LLPAs Yield A Big Fat Zero for the Jumbo MBS Market

Firms hoping that new guaranty fee and loan-level price adjustments promulgated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency might boost the jumbo MBS market were sorely disappointed when the final details were released by the agency late last week. One executive who works for a real estate investment trust that issues jumbos said it’s clear to him that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are continuing to “misprice” their g-fees. He would love...

April 23, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

A Growing Concern for Fannie, Freddie and The FHFA: Lender-Paid Mortgage Insurance

With private mortgage insurance eligibility requirements now a done deal, the MI industry may have a new headache on its hands: concerns from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – and their regulator – about the discounting of lender-paid MI policies. Industry officials familiar with the LPMI issue have been telling Inside Mortgage Finance for weeks that the government-sponsored enterprises are taking a close look at the product. Although the Federal Housing Finance Agency declined to discuss LPMI, a spokesman for Freddie Mac offered...

April 23, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Private MIs Say They’re (Mostly) Ready for New GSE Eligibility Rules, Or They Will Be

The Federal Housing Finance Agency late last week announced a few changes to new private mortgage insurer eligibility rules that were first proposed in July 2014, and the private MI industry appears mostly ready for them. “The new PMIERs are really designed to promote the counterparty strength of private mortgage insurers. We feel like this will strengthen the industry,” said Gina Haly, Freddie Mac’s vice president in the mortgage insurance and risk transfer counterparty credit division. During the financial crisis, some MIs couldn’t fully pay...

April 23, 2015 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Modest Changes to GSE MBS Guaranty Pricing Likely To Have Little Impact on FHA, Jumbo Originations

The Federal Housing Finance Agency late last week directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to stop charging the 25 basis point “adverse market” fee assessed on all loans since the financial crises, but most lower-risk loans won’t get any reduction in loan-level pricing adjustments. As expected, the FHFA did not make any changes to the “base” guaranty fees charged by the two government-sponsored enterprises. Current fees, on average, are at an “appropriate” level. “We are going to monitor this on an ongoing or quarterly basis and we’ll adjust based on market conditions,” said Sandra Thompson, FHFA’s deputy director. The regulator instructed...

April 17, 2015 - Inside MBS & ABS

High G-Fees and LLPAs, Ability-to-Repay Rule Are Hindering Access to Credit, Market Recovery

High guarantee fees and loan-level pricing adjustments charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not enough to counteract lingering MBS investor mistrust and draw private players back into the housing finance market, according to a top industry official. “The Federal Housing Finance Agency seems to believe that by raising costs for loans purchased or guaranteed by the government-sponsored enterprises, they can lure private sector capital back to the mortgage market ...


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