FHFA

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to FHFA.

May 25, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Watt Concerned About FHLBanks Relying On Short-Term Funding of Longer-Term Assets

The Federal Home Loan Banks have become too reliant on short-term funding of longer-term assets, according to Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt. Speaking at the FHLBank Annual Director’s Conference this week, Watt reiterated his concern from a year earlier that over time a heavy reliance on short-term funding can strain the system’s capacity to issue short-term debt at attractive spreads. He acknowledged...


May 25, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

UI Expects SFR Financing to Grow, But Fannie Needs to Clearly Articulate Role in the Market

Fannie Mae recently completed its first single-family rental securitization deal with a large institutional investor and the Urban Institute said demand for SFR financing is likely to grow. The $1 billion deal with Invitation Homes was announced in January as a pilot program. The Dallas-based company is the largest single-family rental operator in the U.S. and has a portfolio of about 50,000 homes that it acquires from foreclosures. As investors increasingly rely on leverage to earn an acceptable rate of return, these kinds of transactions are expected...


May 19, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Fannie, Freddie Release DTS Drafts, Detail Chattel Loan Pilot

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have proposed to pilot chattel loan programs within the next couple of years, but the manufactured industry wasn’t exactly impressed. Early last week, the GSEs released draft proposals detailing how they plan to boost underserved manufactured housing, rural housing and affordable housing preservation markets for low- and moderate-income families over the next three years. Under the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s duty-to-serve requirement, Fannie and Freddie are charged with coming up with ways to increase financing in those three areas. The drafted plans are part of an extended implementation process. The GSEs admitted there is not much information available about chattel lending and said...


May 19, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

GSE CRT REMIC Structure Proposal is REIT-Friendly

The GSEs proposed changes to their credit-risk transfer programs last week making them more conducive for real estate investment trusts to participate. Analysts say the changes will help create REIT demand for CRTs. REITs have long argued that regulatory rules have kept them out of the CRT market. Currently the structure of the GSEs’ popular CRT programs don’t meet the income test for REITs since they are structured as agency debt securities The proposed enhancements to Fannie’s Connecticut Avenue Securities program and Freddie’s Structured Agency Credit Risk would let their future CAS and STACR offerings qualify as real estate mortgage investment conduits.


May 19, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Watt Dishes on Complications with Alternative Credit Scoring

While the FHFA’s capital buffer plan was the most talked about news that came out of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee last week, Watt also dished on a number of other issues including credit access, nonperforming loans and the delay of the common securitization platform. When asked about a timeline for exploring alternative forms of credit analysis, Watt said that the FHFA hopes to get through that by the end of the year. …


May 19, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

CRT Programs Play Key Role in Housing Finance Reform

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac credit-risk transfer programs have evolved from their prior business model but the market still has a ways to go before it fully matures, according to Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt. Watt noted that the GSEs have made a tremendous amount of progress on credit risk transfers in a short amount of time, increasing their transaction volume from an unpaid principle balance of $90 billion in 2013 to $548 billion in 2016. “From 2013 through the end of 2016, the enterprises have transferred a meaningful portion of credit losses on a combined $1.4 trillion in mortgages, with a risk in force of about $49 billion,” said Watt, while...


May 19, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Watt Continues to Promote GSE Reform in Remarks to Bankers

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt reiterated his view this week that housing finance reform should fall in the hands of Congress, not the FHFA, and discussed the GSEs’ role in expanding access to credit. Speaking at the American Mortgage Conference in North Carolina, Watt followed up on points he made during last week’s Senate Housing, Banking and Urban Affairs Committee. “I drew a distinction between decisions we have made, and continue to make, as conservator and decisions Congress must make,” he said. Watt explained that decisions the FHFA has made during the conservatorship have “fundamentally reformed” the GSEs’ operations, practices and protocols.


May 19, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA’s Capital Buffer Plan Draws Praise, Criticism and Questions

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt’s comments last week that he’s prepared to allow the GSEs to build a capital buffer to avoid a Treasury draw was met with both applause and concern. But this week, Bob Ryan, special director to Watt, clarified the comments stating that the plan would entail delaying the dividend payments to the U.S. Treasury Department and not suspending them. Ryan, speaking during a credit-risk transfer symposium in New York City, kicked off the first five minutes of a panel discussion about GSE reform by talking about the potential capital buffer plan. He said that it would be done strictly for the purpose of avoiding draws on the “limited resources of the preferred stock purchase agreement.”


May 19, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSEs View Front-End Credit-Risk Transfers As an Ingredient in Diversifying Transactions

Officials at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac say pilot deals that feature added primary mortgage insurance at the front end of the securitization process are a useful addition to their credit-risk transfer programs even if their future looks somewhat limited. Speaking at a CRT conference in New York City this week, Robert Schaefer, Fannie’s vice president for credit enhancement strategy and management, called the transactions “a good tool in the toolkit,” but said he doesn’t see them taking over the majority of CRTs. Gina Healy, Freddie’s vice president of credit risk transfers, agreed...


May 18, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

The GSE Reform Plan: FHFA and Treasury Do as Much as They Can Administratively and Leave the Rest to Congress

For the most part, several different factions of the mortgage industry have applauded the move by the Federal Housing Finance Agency to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to build some type of capital buffer. Now comes the hard part: the details. Early this week, FHFA Acting Deputy Director of the Division of Conservatorship Bob Ryan said in a speech that the capital buffer plan would entail a delay of dividend payments to the U.S. Treasury Department – not an elimination of them. No other specifics were provided...


May 12, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSEs Continue Shrinking Their Portfolios In Early 2017, Mostly Through MBS Sales

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continued to shrink their retained investment portfolios in the first quarter of this year by focusing on paring their MBS holdings. The two government-sponsored enterprises held a combined $560.04 billion in their retained mortgage portfolios at the end of March. That was down 1.9 percent from the previous period and 16.7 percent below year-ago levels. At their current pace, Fannie and Freddie are...[Includes one data table]


May 12, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Watt’s GSE Capital Concerns Grow as He Hints at Taking Action, Recommends Congress Act Fast on Mortgage Reform

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt is prepared to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to build some type of capital buffer to avoid a Treasury draw that could weaken investor confidence. But some lawmakers vehemently disagreed with his views during a hearing in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee this week. Watt reiterated his concern about the declining capital buffer, which is scheduled to reach zero by 2018 under the preferred stock purchase agreements that set the terms of the conservatorships of the two government-sponsored enterprises. With no capital buffer, Fannie and Freddie would be forced...


May 12, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Fannie and Freddie Outline Plan to Make Credit- Risk Transfer Deals More Attractive to REITs

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are soliciting industry feedback on a proposal designed to make their mainstay credit-risk transfer deals more accessible for real estate investment trusts and, to a lesser extent, overseas investors. REITs have nibbled at the CRT debt notes issued by the two government-sponsored enterprises over the past few years, but restrictions on their holdings of so-called non-REIT assets have limited their involvement. The GSEs, with the backing of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, have come up...


May 11, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

GSEs Detail Plans to Reach Underserved Markets; MH Industry Was Hoping for More Commitment

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released a draft proposal this week on how they plan to boost underserved manufactured housing, rural housing and affordable housing preservation markets for low and moderate-income families over the next three years. Based on a federal law, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s duty-to-serve rule requires the government-sponsored enterprises to increase financing in those three areas. The plans released this week are part of an extended implementation process. A large part of the duty-to-serve conversation has focused...


May 11, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

BlackRock Aligns With Consensus View That Reform Should Include Explicit Government MBS Guarantee

BlackRock this week joined with most other industry participants recommending that housing-finance reform include an explicit government guarantee for mortgage-backed securities backed by conventional home loans. The asset manager also highlighted the need to respect the rights of investors, ensure fungibility of the existing government-sponsored enterprise MBS in any new system and provide transparency at all levels. “This includes transparency regarding loan origination, securitization, and access to the secondary market,” said BlackRock. “We believe the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as they exit conservatorship should be clearly defined in any new housing finance system.” The firm suggested...


May 11, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Treasury Department Benefits Big-Time from GSE Dividends, But Watt Is Wary of Risk of Future Draws

Federal Housing Finance Director Mel Watt this week expressed strong reluctance to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to be forced to take another draw on their Treasury line of credit. “FHFA has explicit statutory obligations to ensure that each enterprise ‘operates in a safe and sound manner’ and fosters ‘liquid, efficient, competitive and resilient national housing finance markets,’” Watt testified in a hearing at the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Development Committee. “To ensure that we meet these obligations, we cannot risk...


May 5, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Roundup

FHFA Testifies in Housing Finance Committee Hearing Next Week. On May 11, there will be a full U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing with Mel Watt as witness, on “The Status of the Housing Finance System After Nine Years of Conservatorship” at 10 a.m. Freddie Prices Fifth Small Balance Loan Securitization. Late this week Freddie Mac announced the pricing of the SB30 offering, a multifamily mortgage-backed securitization backed by small balance loans underwritten by Freddie and issued by a third-party trust. The company expects to guarantee approximately $276.2 million in Multifamily SB Certificates (SB30 Certificates), which are anticipated to settle on or about May 15.


May 5, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Updated CHOICE Act Makes FHFA Director Removable by President

The House Financial Services Committee passed the updated version of the Financial CHOICE Act, which includes a new provision that lets the president fire the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency at will and makes Congress responsible for setting the agency’s budget. The CHOICE Act 2.0 removed the original text, which recommended restructuring the agency to a five-member board. So while the current single-directorship structure would be maintained, the FHFA director can be asked to vacate the position by the president at any time. FHFA Director Mel Watt’s five-year term ends in early 2019. The provisions in this Republican bill would make widespread changes to the Dodd-Frank Act, but...


May 5, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Earnings Down in 1Q17 Amid Slower Interest Rate Gains

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported strong first quarter combined earnings this week of $5.0 billion, but that was down by almost half from the 9.9 billion they earned in the previous quarter. The GSEs attributed the quarterly decline to smaller interest rate increases in the first three months of the year and less income from refinancing. While Fannie earned $2.77 billion in the first quarter, a 44.9 percent sequential decline from the fourth quarter of 2016, Freddie earned $2.21 billion, which represented a 54.4 percent decline. “This is down from the fourth quarter of 2016, but up from a year ago. I know that this number has definite market sensitivity to it just beyond...


May 5, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Choice Act 2.0: FHFA Structure Remains, but Director Subject to Removal by U.S. President

The House Financial Services Committee this week approved legislation that would allow the White House to fire the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency at will and allow Congress to set the agency’s annual budget. Those provisions are included in the CHOICE Act, a Republican bill that would make sweeping changes to the Dodd-Frank Act. While the legislation is expected eventually to be cleared by the full House on a partisan vote, its fate in the Senate is murkier. FHFA Director Mel Watt’s term as chief regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ends...


May 5, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Fannie Loosens Underwriting on Student Loan Debt; Next Up: Tackling Downpayment Problems

Fannie Mae late last month loosened its underwriting guidelines for borrowers with student loan and other types of debt, and is currently working on pilot programs aimed at helping consumers amass a downpayment. In an interview with Inside MBS & ABS this week, Fannie Vice President of Product Development and Affordable Housing Jonathan Lawless said the government-sponsored enterprise has “more to come” on loosening guidelines. Although he could not provide much in the way of detail, he said...


May 5, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSEs Keep Pushing to Expand Credit Box, Stay on Track for Single Security in 2 Years

Officials at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their regulator are encouraged by – but by no means satisfied with – the progress made by the government-sponsored enterprises and their customers at expanding the credit box. “We do see an expansion of credit, steady growth in the 97 percent [loan to value ratio] programs and a little better distribution of credit scores,” said Bob Ryan, special advisor and acting deputy director at the Federal Housing Finance Agency during remarks at the secondary market conference sponsored by the Mortgage Bankers Association in New York this week. “But they are still skewed to the higher end more than in the past.” Fannie and Freddie are trying...


May 4, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Mortgage Bankers Stress Transition in Moving Beyond Conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

One of the objectives in resolving the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be minimizing the risk of market disruption in transitioning to the replacement system, according to industry executives. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest proposal for fixing the two government-sponsored enterprises is largely predicated on recent developments in the GSE world, including the first stage of the common securitization platform, extensive product standardization between the two, and the rapid acceptance of credit-risk transfer structures. Those are...


April 24, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Dimon Calls for National Mortgage Servicing Standards from CFPB

JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon recently called for national mortgage servicing standards as one key reform that will significantly increase the availability of mortgage credit to qualified borrowers. “Mortgage servicing is a particularly complex business in which the cumulative impact of regulations has dramatically increased operational and compliance risk and costs,” costs which get passed on to borrowers, he said in his annual letter to shareholders. However, “The most promising opportunity in mortgage servicing is to adopt uniform national servicing standards across guarantors, federal and state regulators, and investors,” Dimon noted. And Congress doesn’t have to get involved to address this. “In particular, the U.S. Treasury is well-positioned to lead key players in the mortgage industry (the CFPB ...


April 21, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Trends

First-Time Homebuyers Often ‘Overpay’

A typical first-time homebuyer pays significantly more than a repeat homebuyer does for the same house, according to research by economists at the Federal Housing Finance Agency. They suggested that appraisers could help reduce home prices for first-time homebuyers, though the proposal faces a number of obstacles. The FHFA analysis was based on appraisal information associated with loan applications submitted to the government-sponsored enterprises from the ...


April 21, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Increased MWOB Biz in 2016, But Challenges Remain

The Federal Housing Finance Agency said it increased the number of minority and women-owned businesses it awarded contracts to in 2016. But several obstacles make expanding its business with MWOBs complicated. The agency recently released its annual report to Congress, which details initiatives and accomplishments during the year to increase diversity and inclusion. This year’s report also mentioned a diversity and inclusion program to examine the same practices within Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks. In 2016, the FHFA expanded...


April 21, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Former FHFA Director Named Housing Policy Center President

Ed DeMarco, former acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, was named the new president of the Financial Services Roundtable’s Housing Policy Center last week. HPC, a proponent of housing finance reform, has called the current framework “unsustainable.” DeMarco took FHFA’s reins in 2009, shortly after the start of the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He then left the FHFA after a five-year stint and became a senior fellow in residence at the Milken Institute’s Center for Financial Markets. Prior to his time at FHFA, he was...


April 21, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

MBA Expands on Earlier Fannie, Freddie Reform Proposal

The Mortgage Bankers Association, this week, released more details in conjunction with its GSE reform proposal published earlier this year. Expanding on some of the concepts presented in January, the MBA paper includes more detailed end-state reform recommendations including elaborating on the transition plan. The trade group’s approach for reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac calls...


April 20, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

CFPB Suggests Lenders are Making Billions Because Borrowers Don’t Shop Effectively for Mortgages

Many borrowers could have seen significant savings on the interest rate on a mortgage if they shopped around, according to a working paper published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Research. The bureau economists noted that close to half of consumers didn’t shop before taking out a mortgage, based on the National Survey of Mortgage Originations, a representative survey conducted by the CFPB and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. And only 16.0 percent of borrowers considered three or more lenders before obtaining a mortgage. The economists said...


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