Advanced Search

Volume 18 - Number 8

April 13, 2018

Subscribers to Inside The GSEs have full access to all its stories and data online. Visitors may become subscribers for full access or may purchase individual articles and data.

Early 2018 Brings More Volatility To GSE Single-Family Rivalry

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had wildly different experiences in the first quarter of 2018, a period when both firms saw declining single-family business volume. But Freddie’s production of single-family mortgage-backed securities plummeted 29.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017, while Fannie’s 5.7 percent decline was roughly one fifth as severe. Those cross-currents upended the playing field, giving Fannie a hefty ... [Includes two data charts.]

House Hearing Reveals Flaws in FHFA Oversight of Fannie, Freddie

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s supervision and guidance of the GSEs lacks the rigor shown by other federal financial regulators, according to the FHFA’s inspector general, Laura Wertheimer. She testified during a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing this week focusing on the oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Throughout the hearing, Wertheimer and lawmakers pointed to a number of supervisory concerns and questioned the FHFA’s standards when it comes to monitoring the mortgage giants. “The flexible and less prescriptive nature of many FHFA standards and much of its guidance has resulted in inconsistent supervisory practices,” she said.

Fannie’s New Headquarters Continues to Prompt Questions

Fannie Mae’s new headquarters in downtown Washington, DC, continues to be a bone of contention for some, but the GSE said the project is on schedule and expects it to be completed by November 2018. So far, about 20 percent of Fannie’s Washington workforce has relocated and more are planned as additional floors are finished. During a House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing this week, lawmakers inquired about the building’s costs. Federal Housing Finance Agency Inspector General Laura Wertheimer criticized the regulator’s monitoring of the build outs. Wertheimer said the initial investigation of the headquarters stemmed from a...

Analysts Say UMBS May be Next Step in GSE Reform

The latest update on the single security may signify the next step in GSE reform, according to analysts with Wells Fargo Securities. In late March, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that the uniform mortgage-backed security collateralized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans will launch on June 3, 2019. The framework for housing-finance reform has evolved over time to building on the successful elements of the current market instead of disrupting it, said analysts Vipul Jain, Anish Lohokare and Randy Ahlgren. They noted that the single security seems to be leading toward a single MBS label with catastrophic insurance underwritten explicitly by the government.

Alt Credit Score Comments Close With Mixed Views from Industry

The Federal Housing Finance Agency will have its hands full reviewing more than 100 comments related to deciding whether the GSEs should use alternative credit scoring methods. The comment period closed on March 30, and the agency received about a quarter of the replies on the last day. Everyone from industry trade groups and corporations to lenders and lawmakers offered input on whether to allow lenders to use alternatives to the omnipresent FICO credit score. In a request for input issued in December, the agency outlined four potential approaches, including an updated version of FICO, VantageScore 3.0, offered by VantageScore Solutions, or a hybrid of several scoring mechanisms.

Fannie Clarifies How Lenders Can Help with Home Purchase Costs

Fannie Mae recently clarified its seller guidelines on gifts from lenders to borrowers. Last week, the GSE noted that lenders can indeed contribute to certain borrowers’ home-purchase costs, but just not to their downpayments. The GSE explained that lenders can contribute funds to help defray closing costs and prepaid fees that are normally delegated to the buyer as long as it is not used to fund any portion of the downpayment. The contribution also must be a true gift as it can’t be subject to repayment requirements or require any financial obligation apart from the mortgage. Nor can the contribution come from a third party.

GSE Names Latest Reperforming Loan Sale Winning Bidders

NRZ Mortgage Holdings and Towd Point are the winning bidders of Fannie Mae’s sixth reperforming loan transaction and first for 2018. The GSE announced the winners this week. The loans were divided into two pools. NRZ, a subsidiary of Fortress and the nation’s fifth largest residential servicer according to numbers from Inside Mortgage Finance, won the first pool. It consisted of 3,015 loans with a UPB of $686 million and average loan size of $226,659. NRZ’s investment estimate is between $200 to $250 million, according to an analysis by Keefe, Bruyette and Woods analyst George Bose.

FHFA OIG Issues Heavily Redacted Report on GSE Cybersecurity

The Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General said the FHFA did not make sure that Freddie Mac’s plans to address cybersecurity deficiencies were sufficient. Instead, the agency questionably closed the matter requiring attention (MRA) after deciding on its own that the GSE had completed its planned remedial actions.This raised a red flag with the OIG, which said when an MRA is issued, the FHFA requires the GSE to provide a remedial plan that includes specific milestones that take into consideration the complexity of the issue and the urgency regarding the correction.

Fannie Mae Updates DU After Surge in High-DTI Loans

Fannie Mae last month implemented changes to its Desktop Underwriter program following a surge in acquisition mortgages with high debt-to-income ratios that caused an uproar with some private mortgage insurers. In July 2017, the GSE revised its underwriting guidelines to accept DTI ratios over 45 percent without requiring lenders to show compensating factors. As previously reported by Inside The GSEs, the change led to a surge in high-DTI activity in the second half of 2017. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securitized $52.90 billion of mortgages with DTI ratios ranging from 46 percent to 50 percent, a 72.6 percent increase from the first six months of the year.

Fannie Looks to Introduce New Features to Servicing Marketplace

The Servicing Marketplace launched last year by Fannie Mae has had a good response so far. It was created to connect servicers and sellers during transfers, and there are already talks of enhancements in the near future.The program was in a pilot phase for the bulk of 2017, officially kicking off in December. The GSE designed the platform to support co-issue transactions, bringing sellers and servicers together to deliver pricing certainty and transparency, as well as efficiency. Loans delivered under whole loan servicing-released commitments taken on or after Dec. 4, 2017, are bifurcated if sellers participate in Fannie’s servicing execution tool or the servicing marketplace.

FHFA Proposes to Amend Regulations, Seeks Input

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is proposing to amend its regulations on the responsibility of the board, directors, corporate practices, and corporate governances for the GSEs and Federal Home Loan Banks. It also would apply the FHLB strategic business plans to Fannie and Freddie. This means that the GSEs’ boards would have a strategic business plan in effect at all times, which describes how the regulated entity will achieve its statutory purposes. Moreover, there’d be a provision that requires each GSE board to review the strategic plans annually, re-adopt it once every three years, at minimum, and...

GSE Roundup

Fannie Mae Announces New Board Member. Christopher Herbert was elected as a director on the company’s board of directors. The GSE noted that he has extensive experience relating to housing policy and urban development. He’s been managing director for Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies since January 2015. The Final Nail in the GSE Reform Coffin: Creation of the $3B Capital Buffer? Although GSE reform appears to be dead in the current Congress, Fitch Ratings issued a report Tuesday predicting that MBS guarantors created in the future to replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be on solid ground financially. As for why GSE reform failed, Fitch contends...

Poll

What’s your opinion on how Mick Mulvaney has managed the CFPB since he took over three months ago?

He’s done a good job of paring back the agency’s excesses and we’d like to see more.

35%

I hope he totally dismantles the agency and sends those functions back to the agencies hence they came.

14%

Not bad, but he needs to take his time making additional changes.

12%

We’re totally aghast. He’s gone way too far in protecting the rights of companies not consumers!

39%