FHFA

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October 31, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Enterprise Endnotes

FHFA’s Watt Promises a CEO for the CSP by Year-end. After a year of searching for a chief executive to lead Common Securitization Solutions, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is getting closer to picking a candidate for the job. Speaking at the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association in Las Vegas last week, FHFA Director Mel Watt promised the industry that a CEO would be named by Dec. 31. The FHFA’s search firm is Spencer Stuart.


October 31, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

MBA Opposes FHFA IG Proposed Seller/Servicer Auditor Rotation

The Mortgage Bankers Association has formally called upon the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s official watchdog to reconsider some of its proposals meant to prevent the next multi-billion dollar fraud scheme against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In a letter dispatched to the FHFA’s Inspector General late last week, the MBA cited its opposition to certain recommendations the IG made to the Finance Agency in its August post-mortem on the swindle perpetrated by the now-defunct Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage.


October 31, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

IG: Fed Tapering GSE MBS Will Curtail Guaranty Fee Revenue

The Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing tapering will put a dent in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guaranty fee revenues, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Inspector General. The evaluation report issued by the IG last week concluded that as the central bank pulls back from the mortgage-backed securities market, interest rates will drift higher and the GSEs will do less business, meaning declining g-fee revenue.


October 31, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Fannie, JPMorgan Chase Pioneer New Risk-Sharing Transaction

Fannie Mae and JPMorgan Chase announced this week they are collaborating in a new risk-sharing vehicle that features recourse provided to the GSE on nearly $1 billion of new Chase originations. Separately, Freddie Mac has priced two more Structured Agency Credit Risk Transactions. JPMorgan Madison Avenue Securities Trust 2014-1 will simulate the behavior of a $989 million pool of JPMorgan-originated mortgages delivered into Fannie-guaranteed MBS.


October 31, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Industry Commenters Take Aim At FHFA’s GSE Housing Goals

The Federal Housing Finance Agency may end up having second thoughts about its proposed housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac given the room for improvement industry members cited in comment letters to the agency. Issued by the FHFA in September, the proposal would increase some of the benchmark levels for Fannie’s and Freddie’s affordable housing goals through 2017, while also establishing new housing subgoals for low-income multifamily properties.


October 31, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Shareholder Petitions Iowa Court to Reverse DC’s Dismissal

An Iowa-based GSE last week asked a federal court in the state to give “no weight” to a ruling earlier this month by a federal judge who dismissed litigation by other GSE shareholders, including Perry Capital and Fairholme Funds. Continental Western Insurance Co. filed papers in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa Central Division arguing that Judge Royce Lamberth was “simply wrong” in his interpretation of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and his HERA-based rationale to shut down shareholders’ suits in DC.


October 31, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Experts: Uncertain Future of GSEs Will Accelerate Turnover

With little chance of GSE reform legislation passing until 2016, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue to experience employee turnover as well as infrastructure upkeep challenges, say experts. Speaking during a conference call sponsored by GSE shareholder rights group Investors Unite this week, Matt Seu, principal with Actualize Consulting and a former Freddie vice president, warned that six years of government conservatorship have taken a toll on the institutional memories at both companies. …


October 31, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Lenders Encouraged by FHFA Buyback Relief, Want Details

Mortgage professionals seem cautiously optimistic about new policy proposals from the Federal Housing Finance Agency on buyback relief and high loan-to-value lending, but it remains to be seen whether they will have the desired impact. Speaking at the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association last week, FHFA Director Mel Watt shared some concrete details about the new “life of loan” representation-and-warranty relief and outlined a number of other changes on tap.


October 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Experts: Obama Admin. Should Look to Release Fannie, Freddie From Conservatorship to Build Policy Legacy

The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Obama administration could secure their legacies during the next two years by releasing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from conservatorship as two stable and smaller government-sponsored enterprises, say some experts. Speaking during a conference call sponsored by GSE shareholder rights group Investors Unite, Clifford Rossi – founder and principal at Chesapeake Risk Advisors – reiterated his call for an administrative solution that would recapitalize the GSEs and bring them out of conservatorship under strict conditions. “Knowing that it’s going to be an uphill battle to get any sort of resolution from Congress, it could be...


October 30, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

The Recent Rate Decline Isn’t Expected to Slow the Mortgage M&A Train; Guild is Still Hungry for Deals

When rates take a noticeable dive – as they have the past few weeks – mortgage lenders contemplating a sale sometimes have a change of heart, opting to ride the new production wave. But this time around, that doesn’t appear to be the case. “Most every lender I speak to understands this to be a very temporary event prior to a relatively cold and uncertain winter,” said M&A advisor Rick Roque of Menlo Company. Over the past two months, Inside Mortgage Finance has found 10 publicly announced M&A transactions with several more likely signed that weren’t disclosed. Roque, who’s working on several deals, said...


October 24, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

FHFA-IG: Fed Tapering of Fannie, Freddie MBS Means ‘Significant’ Reductions in G-Fee Revenue

The Federal Reserve’s decision late last year to taper its agency MBS purchases appears to have contributed to higher mortgage rates, which in turn has helped lead to “significant reductions” in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guaranty fee revenue on MBS issued so far this year, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Inspector General. The evaluation report issued by the IG late this week concluded that continued tapering by the Fed and the eventual reduction of its massive MBS portfolio could have an “adverse impact” upon the financial performance of the two government-sponsored enterprises. “Although the Federal Reserve’s [quantitative easing] programs benefitted the enterprises’ financial condition in 2012 and 2013, its decision, among other factors, in late 2013 to taper its MBS purchases contributed...


October 23, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Fannie, Freddie Shareholders Look to Iowa Federal Court to Vacate DC Judge’s Dismissal of GSE Lawsuit

An Iowa-based investor in government-sponsored enterprise common stock this week asked a federal court in the Hawkeye State to give “no weight” to a ruling earlier this month by a Washington, DC, federal judge who dismissed litigation against the government by other GSE shareholders, including Perry Capital and Fairholme Funds. Continental Western Insurance Co. filed papers in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa Central Division arguing that Judge Royce Lamberth was “simply wrong” in his interpretation of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and his HERA-based rationale to shut down shareholders’ suits in DC. An investor in GSE stock, Continental’s counsel in the case is...


October 23, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Expanding Access to Credit May Grease Underperforming Home-Purchase Market

The mortgage credit box contracted quickly as the housing market slid toward disaster in 2007, but it’s proving to be much more difficult to stretch it back to what used to be considered normal. The subtitle to this week’s annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association could well have been “access to credit,” an idea that clearly dominated the conversation. Despite the recent unexpected drop in mortgage interest rates, most observers expect origination volume in 2015 to track closely to this year’s sluggish level and part of the problem is relatively weak home-purchase lending. Industry people are...


October 23, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA Agrees to Additional Buyback Relief, Pushes Fannie and Freddie Back Into 97s

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt this week unveiled two significant policy changes aimed at opening up the mortgage credit box: additional buyback relief for originators that sell loans to the government-sponsored enterprises and a return to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchases of mortgages with loan-to-value ratios between 95 percent and 97 percent. Speaking at the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association in Las Vegas, Watt gave some concrete details about the new “life of loan” representation and warranty relief and outlined a number of other changes in the works. Moreover, industry officials contend...


October 17, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Enterprise Endnotes

IG Recommends FHFA Upgrade Its Recordkeeping. The Federal Housing Finance Agency is in compliance with its recordkeeping procedures but the policy and infrastructure of its records management could do with an upgrade, concluded an evaluation by FHFA’s Inspector General last week. The IG said that the Finance Agency’s Division of Enterprise Regulation’s recordkeeping practices “have limitations that impede the efficient retrieval” of examination workpapers by agency staff and by IG auditors.


October 17, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA-IG Among Growing List of Agencies Employing Armed Agents

The Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency is among a growing list of official government watchdog agencies authorized to employ armed investigators when ferreting out waste, fraud and abuse, according to a recent report. The report issued by the Congressional Research Service listed some three dozen IGs that possess law enforcement authority, which legally empowers them to make arrests, seek warrants and carry firearms.


October 17, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA: FHLBank Affordable Housing Contributions Up 57 Percent in ‘13

The 12 Federal Home Loan Banks contributed some $300 million to affordable housing in 2013, according to a report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The report, issued last week, is part of the FHFA’s mandate to monitor and report annually on the FHLBanks’ support of their low-income housing and community development activities. In 2013, the Banks contributed approximately $297 million to the Affordable Housing Program, equal to 10 percent of their net earnings for the preceding year and up approximately 57 percent from 2012, noted the FHFA.


October 17, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

UI Dings IG Audit of FHFA Rep-and-Warrant Framework as ‘Incomplete’

In an unusual move, a Washington, DC, think tank has publicly taken to task the official watchdog of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, finding a recent audit of the FHFA’s representation-and-warranty policy “incomplete.” The September report by the FHFA’s Inspector General concluded that the Finance Agency’s implementation of the rep-and-warrant framework was premature and resulted in “significant and unresolved operational risks” to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. An analysis by the Urban Institute found that the OIG’s conclusions were “incomplete and overstate the risk of the plan.”


October 17, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Moody’s: FHFA Shouldn’t Increase Fannie, Freddie Guaranty Fees

The Federal Housing Finance Agency “should not appreciably change” guaranty fees charged by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to a new paper by Moody’s Analytics. The paper, “A General Theory of G-Fees,” by Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, and Cristian deRitis, a senior director of consumer credit analytics, noted that the two GSEs are currently charging an average g-fee of approximately 60 basis points across all new loans they insure.


October 17, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Proposed Rule Would Define FHLBank ‘Former Member’

A proposed Federal Housing Finance Agency rule would define a Federal Home Loan Bank “former member” as an institution whose membership has been terminated but which must still maintain FHLBank stock. Published in the Oct. 8 Federal Register, the proposal’s definition would apply to institutions whose membership has ended but which continue to hold stock in the FHLBank as required by the Bank’s capital plan. …


October 17, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

GSE’s Common Securitization Solutions Still Has No CEO

After a year of searching for a chief executive to lead Common Securitization Solutions, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is still looking, but it continues to hire staff. “The search continues,” said a government official close to the matter. “We even have a search firm.”Although the FHFA is keeping a tight lid on information regarding CSS, it’s now common knowledge that the search firm in question is the Washington-based Spencer Stuart, which bills itself as “one of the world’s leading global executive search and leadership consulting firms.”


October 17, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Lenders Want Speed, Street Urges Caution on GSE Single Security

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s proposed single security for the GSEs met with conflicting views as the comment period ended this week. In August, the FHFA proposed a single-security structure to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to issue a common MBS to serve the single-family market. The proposal is aimed at eliminating Freddie’s pricing disadvantage and improving liquidity in the to-be-announced market.


October 17, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Judge Denies Former Fannie CFO Discovery Access in GSE Lawsuit

GSE shareholder advocates remain undeterred following a federal judge’s decision late this week to deny a former Fannie Mae executive access to confidential evidence unearthed as part of the discovery process in an investors’ lawsuit against the government. Earlier this year, Fairholme Funds hired former Fannie Chief Financial Officer Timothy Howard as a consultant to assist its law firm Coopers and Kirk. Lawyers for the government want to deny Howard access to some 800,000 pieces of discovery in investors’ litigation challenging Uncle Sam’s “net-worth sweep” of GSE profits.


October 17, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

GAO: U.S. Housing Finance in Need of Reform; Clarity Required on FHFA’s Guaranty Fee Stance

The substantial increase in federal support of the single-family housing finance system, as well as weaknesses uncovered in the wake of the mortgage market meltdown, have led to a U.S. finance system that warrants reform, according to the Government Accountability Office. The GAO focused considerable attention on the much-reported fact that government programs have accounted for a huge share of the mortgage and MBS market since the financial crisis. The congressional watchdog views the federal role in housing finance as a “high-risk area.” “Developments in mortgage markets since 2000 have challenged...


October 17, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Wall Street Urges Caution on GSE Single Security; Lenders Say Full Speed Ahead

Waiting several years to unify Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities into a single MBS could pose a huge risk to its successful completion, warned the mortgage banking industry, but Wall Street thinks it’s worth the wait to get market participants totally behind the move. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s proposed single security for the government-sponsored enterprises met with conflicting views as the comment period ended this week. The proposal is aimed at eliminating Freddie’s pricing disadvantage and improving liquidity in the to-be-announced market. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association urged...


October 10, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Expert: Recapitalize Fannie and Freddie by Ending Government’s Profit Sweep and Draining Portfolios

Ending the conservatorships of the government-sponsored enterprises and recapitalizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is the “most pragmatic and feasible” solution to facilitate housing finance reform and protect taxpayers, according to a recently issued white paper. In his blueprint for ending GSE conservatorship, Clifford Rossi – adjunct professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park – calls for an administrative solution by recapitalizing Fannie and Freddie and bringing the GSEs out of conservatorship under strict conditions as the next best way of implementing housing finance reform short of legislation. “Conservatorship was...


October 9, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Advocates Press FHFA Director Watt to Finance Housing Trust Fund After Lawsuit is Dismissed

Affordable housing advocates are continuing their full-court press against the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, demanding that the FHFA greenlight financing for the dormant National Housing Trust Fund after a setback in federal court. U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Cooke of the Southern District of Florida last week dismissed a lawsuit brought by the National Low Income Housing Coalition on the grounds that the NLIHC lacks standing to sue the FHFA. Cooke also found that the court does not have jurisdiction over the decisions of the agency. The coalition filed...


October 9, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Expert Calls Dismissal of GSE Shareholder Lawsuit ‘Misguided,’ Discovery Best Bet for Plaintiffs Now

Shareholders are appealing a federal judge’s decision last week to toss out their legal challenge to the federal government’s siphoning off of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac profits, and a legal expert says they could be helped out by what comes out in discovery in other investor lawsuits. Speaking during a conference call sponsored by Investors Unite, New York School of Law Professor Richard Epstein – who does not own stock in the government-sponsored enterprises – blasted the “misguided” ruling by Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He characterized it as an overly generous interpretation of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 in favor of the Treasury Department and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. “Although the government claimed to be looking out for the shareholders, it ended up...


October 3, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Trends

FHFA Weighs Impact of Second Liens

Although linked to higher likelihood of defaults for first mortgages, piggyback second liens do not necessarily mean bad results for the associated primary loan. However, subsequent second liens have had mixed results over certain time periods. “The empirical results for subsequent second liens are much more nuanced and, in many ways, more interesting than the piggyback results,” concludes Andrew Leventis, principal economist at the Federal Housing Finance Agency ...


October 3, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Enterprise Endnotes

FHFA Principal Reduction Pilot Program. A bill filed by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, before Congress left town last month would create a shared-appreciation mortgage program in which banks would reduce the mortgage principal for eligible underwater homeowners. Under the Preserving American Homeownership Act, S. 2854, the pilot programs – to be established by the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the FHA – would entitle banks to a portion of the increased value of the home when the market improves.


October 3, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

IG Calls for Closer FHFA Oversight Of Freddie Mac’s IT Investments

The Federal Housing Finance Agency can and should improve its oversight of Freddie Mac information technology investments, concluded a new audit by the agency’s official watchdog. Last week’s Inspector General audit noted that Freddie is making “substantial investments” in IT in order to better support its operations and reduce risk. The GSE’s planned IT expenditures over three years are expected to exceed $1 billion, the IG added.


October 3, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Official: Congress Should Take Point on Shrinking GSEs

Efforts to reduce the government-sponsored enterprises’ footprint using guaranty fees and loan limits should be left to Congress, according to Bob Ryan, a special advisor to the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Meanwhile, officials at the Treasury Department suggest that the FHFA does have a role in setting policy that will inform any housing finance reform action by Congress.


October 3, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Rejects Inspector General’s Call for Compliance Checks

The Federal Housing Finance Agency disagrees with its Inspector General’s recommendation that the FHFA direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to assess the cost/benefit of requiring their sellers and servicers to provide independent, third-party confirmation on compliance with government-sponsored enterprise origination and servicing guidance. The IG audit, quietly issued late last week, noted that the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as private mortgage-backed securities investors in the secondary mortgage market, require annual, independent assurance of counterparty compliance.


October 3, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit to Force FHFA to Pay into Housing Fund

A federal judge in Florida this week dismissed a lawsuit brought by the National Low Income Housing Coalition seeking to force Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s conservator to make good on the GSEs’ statutory obligations to contribute to the National Housing Trust Fund. In the summer of 2013, the National Low Income Housing Coalition filed suit arguing that since the GSEs returned to profitability in 2012, the Federal Housing Finance Agency should have directed Fannie and Freddie to begin to pay up.


October 3, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Paper: Administrative GSE Reform Next Best Thing to Congress Acting

After six years of government control of the GSEs, Congressional inaction has ensured no legislative solution to housing finance reform anytime soon so the administration must take action, according to a white paper unveiled this week. Clifford Rossi, adjunct professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park, told Inside The GSEs that a legislative fix to GSE reform is the ideal solution.


October 3, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

Des Moines, Seattle FHLBank Boards Approve Merger Plan

Industry observers expect that last week’s announced go-ahead to merge the Federal Home Loan Banks of Des Moines and Seattle will be a “one-off” as the remaining 10 FHLBanks are still in sound enough financial shape. Talk of a proposed merger between the FHLBank of Des Moines and the smaller, troubled FHLBank of Seattle was first made public in July and approved unanimously by both Bank boards last week.


October 3, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Shareholders Persist After Judge Dismisses ‘Sweep’ Lawsuit

Attorneys for disenfranchised GSE shareholders have already filed a notice to appeal this week’s surprise dismissal by a Washington, DC, federal judge of the lawsuits challenging the Treasury Department’s 2012 “net-worth sweep” of nearly all profits generated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. However, a legal expert notes that the ruling by Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia makes a tall order even taller for investors taking on the government.


October 3, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Industry Expresses Caution on G-Fee Proposal; More Needed to Revive Non-Agency Participation

Industry experts vary on the question of whether Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should change their MBS guaranty pricing, but most agree that the Federal Housing Finance Agency should proceed cautiously and deliberately. At the same time, most industry comment letters on the subject agree that more needs to be done to revive the non-agency market. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association warned...


October 3, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Opponent Bows Out of BofA Settlement Dispute, S&P Seeks Treasury Documents for Defense

Bank of America’s long-troubled multi-billion-dollar settlement with non-agency MBS investors moved a big step closer to final approval after a key opponent of the deal withdrew its objection this week, though numerous other objectors remain. The Triaxx entities withdrew as intervenor-respondents in the $8.5 billion Countrywide settlement covering 530 trusts. The objection by the Triaxx group had been seen as among the largest remaining roadblocks for final court approval since the $650 million settlement agreement between American International Group and BofA in July. BofA agreed...


October 2, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA Disagrees With IG Call for Third-Party Reviews of Lender Compliance With Guidelines

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is not on board with its Inspector General’s recommendation that the agency direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to assess the cost and benefit of requiring lenders to get independent, third-party confirmation of their compliance with government-sponsored enterprise origination and servicing guidance. The IG audit noted that the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as private MBS investors in the secondary mortgage market, already require annual, independent assurance of counterparty compliance. “The annual assertions and audits have helped...


October 2, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Federal Judge Shuts Down GSE Shareholder Lawsuit, Upholds Government Authority to Sweep GSE Profits

In a surprise ruling this week, a federal judge in Washington, DC, dismissed claims by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders challenging the Treasury Department’s 2012 “net-worth sweep” of nearly all the profits generated by the government-sponsored enterprises. Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Treasury and the Federal Housing Finance Agency are empowered by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 to execute the “third amendment” of the preferred stock purchase agreement. The dismissal includes...


October 2, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Nonbank ‘Working Group’ Represents Substantial Market Share, Wants Voice on Key Regulatory Issues

Several large nonbank lenders have banded together to form what they call a “working group” to address key regulatory issues that they say are stifling their growth and future prospects for success in a rapidly changing mortgage industry. The group’s members – including Ocwen Financial – will initially strive to educate and inform regulators about nonbanks, but will not lobby Congress. Members of the group stress that the nonbank collective is not a trade organization and does not seek that status. For now, Ocwen is...


September 26, 2014 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Obama Administration Seeks Non-Agency Changes

A number of steps have been taken to reform the non-agency mortgage-backed security market but more changes are necessary, according to Michael Stegman, counselor on housing finance policy to the Treasury Department. Last week at a conference hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, Stegman detailed regulatory changes necessary to increase activity in the non-agency MBS market along with other changes the industry can work toward. “The last remaining piece of the puzzle is putting in place ...


September 26, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

Industry Groups Urge FHFA to Move to Common Security, Focus on Loan Quality, Not Volume in Strategic Plan

The Federal Housing Finance Agency should direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to move toward a common, fungible security while also striving to ensure the government-sponsored enterprises’ safety and soundness and promote liquidity and access to the secondary mortgage market, according to early feedback from industry groups. Last month, the FHFA issued a request for input regarding its strategic plan for fiscal years 2015 through 2019. The FHFA plan identifies three strategic goals for the GSEs: ensuring safe and sound regulated entities; ensuring liquidity, stability and access in housing finance; and managing Fannie’s and Freddie’s ongoing conservatorship. The Mortgage Bankers Association called on...


September 26, 2014 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSEs’ Risk-Sharing Activities Poised to Grow, Offer More Diverse Collateral and Structures

The government-sponsored enterprises plan to expand their risk-sharing activities in a number of ways in 2015, according to officials at the GSEs and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Kevin Palmer, a vice president of strategic credit costing and structuring at Freddie Mac, said Freddie is set to include a broader group of mortgages in its risk-sharing transactions in an effort to increase the investor base. Fannie has similar plans. The GSEs have issued...


September 25, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

GSE Shareholder Plaintiffs Demand Full Transparency From Treasury, FHFA Over Profit ‘Sweep’ Documents

Attorneys for a group of disenfranchised Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac junior shareholders have joined another shareholder group’s motion in federal court asking the government to come clean with all of the documents and records regarding the Treasury’s “Third Amendment” and “net-worth sweep” of nearly all government-sponsored enterprises’ profits. In papers filed last week in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Perry Capital lead attorney Ted Olson asked to join Fairholme Fund’s request for “supplementation” of the record. Both plaintiffs contend the government has failed to provide for court review of the “whole record” as required under the Administrative Procedures Act. “The government is...


September 25, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Look for a Boom in Mortgage Servicing Sales as Lenders Try to ‘Make Their Numbers’ by Yearend

With loan originations beginning to taper off this fall and expected to continue that way through yearend, lenders of different stripes likely will step up their sales of mortgage servicing rights in an attempt to make earnings projections. “There’s a ton of activity out there now,” said Tom Piercy, managing member of Interactive Mortgage Advisors, Denver, an MSR advisory and brokerage firm. “We’re the busiest we’ve ever been all year.” Mark Garland, president of MountainView Servicing Group, concurs...


September 25, 2014 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA Official: Congress Should Be Main Arbiter Of the GSEs’ Share of Mortgage Market Activity

Efforts to reduce the government-sponsored enterprises’ footprint using guaranty fees and loan limits should be left to Congress, according to Bob Ryan, a special advisor to the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Meanwhile, officials at the Treasury Department suggest that the FHFA does have a role in setting policy that will inform any housing finance reform action by Congress. In comments this week at the ABS East conference produced by Information Management Network in Miami Beach, Ryan said the FHFA looks to Congress for direction when considering how to run the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “There is nothing in the legislation that suggests the FHFA should shrink the footprint [of the GSEs],” he said. Ryan said...


September 19, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

FHLBank Agency MBS Investments Drop During Second Quarter 2014

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities remained the preferred investment choice of the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks during the second quarter of 2014, with a very slight decline from the previous quarter, according to a new analysis and ranking by Inside The GSEs based on data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Meanwhile, Ginnie Mae securities posted an increase within the FHLBank system during the three-month period ending June 30, 2014.


September 19, 2014 - Inside The GSEs

GSE MBS Business Activity Posts Overall Increase in August

Together, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in August posted a combined increase in the volume of single-family mortgages securitized, according to a new Inside The GSEs analysis. Fannie and Freddie issued $61.1 billion in single-family mortgage-backed securities in August, a 5.5 percent increase from July. However, August's MBS issuance was down 56.7 percent on a year-to-date basis.


Poll

What is it going to take to convince lenders to loosen the credit box (i.e., remove underwriting overlays)?

The recent rep and warranty changes announced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency should go a long way in protecting lenders from future buybacks and help expand mortgage credit.
There won’t be any significant elimination of underwriting overlays until the government stops seeking huge mortgage-related penalties and settlements from lenders.
There shouldn’t be any expansion of the mortgage credit box since looser underwriting is what caused the recent mortgage crisis.

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