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Volume 17 - Number 21

October 20, 2017

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Fannie MBS Servicing Grew Faster Than Freddie MSR in Third Quarter

Most servicers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac single-family mortgage-backed securities saw growth in their servicing portfolios during the third quarter, but a handful of top banks continued to buck the trend. A new Inside The GSEs analysis of MBS disclosures shows $4.629 trillion of Fannie/Freddie servicing outstanding at the end of September. That was up 1.8 percent from the previous quarter, with Fannie (up 2.1 percent) gaining market share on Freddie (up 1.3 percent). Ginnie Mae servicing remained a faster-growing market, with $1.749 trillion outstanding, up 2.2 percent from the end of June. Large banks continued to show tepid interest in the GSE servicing market.

A ‘Perfect Storm’ of Good News Should Result in Strong GSE 3Q

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are poised to report robust earnings for the third quarter, likely blowing past results of the prior two periods, according to an analysis by Inside The GSEs. The only question now is this: Just how good will it be? “And most of that money will be swept into the Treasury,” noted Tim Rood, a former Fannie Mae executive who now heads The Collingwood Group. Not only did the GSEs benefit from a strong origination and MBS issuance market in 3Q17, but a previously announced legal settlement with Royal Bank of Scotland will finally hit the books.

Watt Continues to Warn of Treasury Draw in Reply to Trade Groups

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt said the likelihood of a draw from Treasury is growing fast in a reply letter to the 15 trade groups that wrote late last month advocating for legislation instead of recapitalization. Watt reiterated his position in the Oct. 12 letter and said while he appreciates their views, he has expressed “repeatedly and publicly” that the declining capital buffers leave Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with no ability to absorb potential losses. “FHFA is concerned that in the absence of a sufficient buffer, normal operating losses, such as from interest rate volatility and the accounting treatment of...

FHFA Reports on Fannie and Freddie SF Guaranty Fees

GSE guaranty fees were down slightly in 2016 with the average fee falling from 59 basis points to 57 basis points, according to a new Federal Housing Finance Agency report published this week. But the pricing decline wasn't due to changes in the credit risk of loans. The drop reflected FHFA’s decision to establish minimum g-fees that took effect in November 2016. The report noted that the lower fees led to a larger negative gap, which reflects expected returns slightly below the target returns. “The average guarantee fee in 2016 on fixed-rate, 30-year loans fell by 2 bps to 61 bps; the fee on fixed-rate, 15-year loans fell by 4 bps to 37 bps.

Federal Reserve Highlights FHLBank Trends, Concerns

The Federal Home Loan Banks have grown over the past few years with their total assets surpassing pre-crisis levels, according to a new Federal Reserve report analyzing recent trends and the increased role of the FHLBank system. The Fed noted that the growth coincided with two government policies: the imposition of the Liquidity Coverage Ratio in 2015 and the reform of money market funds a year later. Large banking institutions now have an incentive to borrow more from FHLBanks and less from private short-term money markets thanks to the preferential treatment in the LCR. Also, while FHLBank use of short-term funding has seen an uptick for several years, the report noted...

Freddie Pilots Program to Help Borrowers with Timely Payments

Freddie Mac teamed up with a financial technology company in a pilot program aimed at helping low and moderate-income borrowers with their loan payments. Last week, the GSE announced its partnership with EarnUp, a platform that assists consumers with making their payments on time and gives personal recommendations on paying down their debts. Freddie and EarnUp believe that borrowers are more likely to stay current on their loan payments if they are given a quick and easy option to do so. By working with one of three non-profit housing counseling organizations, Freddie said that consumers can take advantage of EarnUp for 12 months with no cost.

OIG Lists FHFA Recommendations Still Open, Unimplemented

Since the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of the Inspector General was launched in 2013, the OIG said it has made more than 375 recommendations to the FHFA to improve efficiency and reduce fraud. To keep track of its long-running list of recommendations, including those that are currently opened and those that were rejected and not implemented by the agency, the OIG published a compendium of recommendations that covers up to Oct. 1, 2017. “OIG typically relies on materials and representations from the agency to close its recommendations and may close some recommendations based on the agency’s representations as to the corrective actions it has...

GSEs Eliminate and Replace Imminent Default Test

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will have a new evaluation process for determining whether a borrower is eligible for a conventional mortgage loan modification as of July 1, 2018. The GSEs noted that the new imminent default evaluation process was designed to simplify the process for servicers and borrowers to better identify those who need assistance. This new evaluation process was developed at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and it will replace the current Imminent Default Indicator test introduced by Freddie in 2010. In order for a borrower’s monthly payment to be considered in imminent default for eligibility...

Analyst Says FHA Could Become Bigger Fannie, Freddie Competitor

The FHA could be in position to become a much bigger rival to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to one analyst, basing his observation on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s comments late last week. Jaret Seiberg, analyst with the Cowen Washington Research Group, said implications Carson made in regards to the False Claims Act and premium cuts led him to believe that the FHA may give the GSEs a run for their money competition wise. During his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, Carson said that the Trump administration is working to change the False Claims Act policy...

New Freddie Credit-Risk Transfer Offering Expands on STACR

Freddie Mac announced a new credit-risk transfer program this week that expands on the GSE’s popular Structured Agency Credit Risk offering and is more conducive to a variety of investor types, including real estate investment trusts. The $50 million STACR- Securitized Participation Interests transaction is unique in that it is backed by mortgage loans. “STACR SPI is another offering in our CRT toolbox to help shift risk away from taxpayers and give more options to investors who prefer a securitization backed by mortgage-related assets,” said Mike Reynolds, vice president of credit risk transfer.

GSE Roundup

Preferred Language Question Added to the URLA. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on Oct. 20 that it decided to add a preferred language question to the redesigned URLA. The regulator noted that the question will enable borrowers who prefer to communicate in a language other than English to identify that language. They said that it also provides clear disclosures that the mortgage transaction is likely to be conducted in English and that language resources may not be available. FHFA Director Mel Watt said following stakeholder outreach and input the agency has taken steps to mitigate concerns about the inclusion of a language preference question. Fannie Exec Withdrew Treasury Job Consideration. Brian Brooks, Fannie’s general counsel, decided to opt out of being...


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