Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to FHFA.

December 8, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Conforming Loan Limit Increasing in 2018

The conforming loan limit will increase again in 2018, prompting some pushback from supporters of the non-agency market. The conforming loan limit for one-unit properties in 2018 will be $453,100, up 6.8 percent from the current limit. For high-cost areas, the loan limit will be as high as $679,650 in 2018, up from $636,150 this year. The limits apply to acquisitions of mortgages by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and annual adjustments are based on a house-price index ...

December 8, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Single Security and CSP On Target for 2019, Steps To Prepare Market Participants Being Taken Now

The single security initiative and issuance of the first uniform MBS are on track for implementa-tion and issuance in the second quarter of 2019 and the government-sponsored enterprises are taking steps to make sure the market is ready, according to a progress update released this week by the Feder-al Housing Finance Agency.

December 1, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Lender Front-End Transactions Account for Small Share of CRTs

During the second quarter of 2017, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac transferred credit risk on $12.6 billion of unpaid principal balance loans through front-end lender risk sharing, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s latest credit-risk transfer progress report. While the GSEs have plans to grow front-end deals, they currently represent a small portion of the total $212.8 billion risk transferred during the second quarter. Lender risk sharing lets lenders invest directly in credit risk by retaining a portion of the credit risk on loans they originate or service. Lender risk sharing accounted for 5 percent of the GSEs’ $6.4 billion risk in force.

December 1, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

FCC Seeks Comment Regarding FHFA’s TCPA Petition

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking feedback on a petition filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency regarding the ability of mortgage servicers to contact borrowers in natural disaster areas. The FHFA petition is in reference to stipulations based on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. With three major hurricanes this fall, the FHFA said there’s a need for mortgage servicers to quickly contact borrowers whether by voice or automated messages. The agency filed the petition in hopes of getting a speedy response to two requests. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulator wants the FCC to declare that borrowers who are affected by disasters are considered to have given their consent to receive calls from their mortgage servicers.

December 1, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Multifamily Lending Caps Lowered For 2018, Originations Slowing

In anticipation of a slight decline in multifamily mortgage originations, the Federal Housing Finance Agency last week lowered the multifamily lending caps for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2018. GSE multifamily business will be capped at $35.0 billion, down from the $36.5 billion level it’s been the past two years. FHFA analyzes the multifamily loan origination market size each quarter to decide if it will adjust the GSEs’ purchase limits. In the event the market picks up in 2018, the agency could raise the cap. And if the market slows even more than expected, it could lower the caps further.

December 1, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Raises Baseline Conforming Loan Limit to $453,100

The Federal Housing Finance Agency raised the baseline conforming loan limit for GSE mortgages by $29,000 for next year. The new loan limit, announced Nov. 28, is $453,100, and represents just the second time since the 2007 housing downturn that the conforming loan limit has been raised. For 2017, it was increased by $7,100, to $424,100. The baseline loan limit was established by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and is closely reviewed each year to reflect any changes in the national home price index. In determining maximum loan amount under the terms of HERA, FHFA uses the expanded-data home price index. The expanded-data HPI increased 6.8 percent between the third quarters of 2016 and 2017.

December 1, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Yearend May Have Industry, Trump Admin Scrambling for a Solution

As the end of the year nears, there’s been talk this week about negotiations underway between the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Trump administration to address the capital situation at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Although no one is confirming the discussion, a Bloomberg report quoted an anonymous source as saying that FHFA officials want Fannie and Freddie each to keep a capital buffer of $2 billion to $3 billion on their books. In return, the report said, the administration wants to limit the GSEs’ activity in the market by tightening restrictions on the type of loans they buy. In late 2013, former FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco proposed implementing a loan size limit on...

December 1, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

As ‘Zero Capital’ Day Approaches, Senate Moves to Create a GSE Bill

In roughly 30 days, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will see their capital buffers fall to zero, an event that has GOP legislators working feverishly over the past several weeks to come up with housing-finance reform legislation. In short, Republicans fear that in the event of a quarterly loss by one or both GSEs next year, these massive mortgage giants might need to tap a line of credit they have with the U.S. Treasury, which would result in another “taxpayer bailout” of the two. And since Republicans are in charge of both chambers of Congress, as well as the White House, they would get blamed. At least that’s how the situation was explained to Inside The GSEs.

November 30, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA Seeks Clarity on TCPA Rules Regarding Servicer Calls Following Natural Disasters

The Federal Housing Finance Agency wants clarity on what types of communication are ac-ceptable, under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, from mortgage servicers to borrowers impact-ed by natural disasters.

November 30, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Conforming Loan Limit to Increase by 7 Percent in 2018 to $453,100; High-Cost Limit Hits $679,650

The conforming loan limit for one-unit properties in 2018 will be $453,100, according to an an-nouncement this week by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The limit for mortgages eligible to be delivered to the government-sponsored enterprises increased by 6.8 percent from the current limit.

November 22, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Fannie, Freddie Ready to Return to Multifamily Tax-Credit Market After 10-Year Absence

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been approved to once again participate in the low income housing tax credit program aimed at affordable rental housing, but their share will be limited as to not impede on the private market.

November 24, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Consumer Advocates Criticize FHLBank Financing

Consumer advocates are pushing for changes that could impact the non-agency market, including raising concerns about the use of Federal Home Loan Bank advances and calling for revisions to standards for qualified mortgages. In a letter this month to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, a group of 136 consumer advocates were critical of Starwood Property Trust’s recently disclosed use of FHLBank advances to fund acquisitions of non-QMs. Starwood is a real estate investment ...

November 17, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

HFSC Hearings Offer Hope that GSE Reform Is a Priority

With several recent hearings on sustainable housing finance under its belt, the House Financial Services Committee appears to be exploring GSE reform in depth, but no word yet on when and what that may look like. The HFSC’s Subcommittee on Insurance and Housing held three hearings over a three-week period with the latest taking place last week. A financial services committee staffer wouldn’t confirm whether a piece of legislation is being worked on, but she said that committee Chair Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, believes housing finance reform is a priority for the committee this Congress.

November 17, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Tax Reform Plan Puts GSEs a Step Closer to Potential Treasury Draw

With the Senate and the House having both recently released their tax proposals, it’s the House plan to cut corporate taxes in 2018 that would impact the GSEs by threatening their deferred tax assets. A corporate tax cut would likely force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to take draws from the U.S. Treasury. This is especially true in light of the fact that by Jan. 1, 2018, neither GSE will be allowed to hold a capital buffer to absorb any losses. A cut to corporate taxes means a write down of some Fannie/Freddie DTAs, including mortgage-related assets, allowances for bad loans, derivatives-related basis differences and deferred fees, which are all currently held at a higher tax rate.

November 16, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

FHFA Director Watt Not Expected to Act on Capital Buffer; A GSE Bill for 2018 that Might Actually Pass?

Industry stakeholders are increasingly dour on the prospect of Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt acting to rectify the government-sponsored enterprises’ capital buffer issue before yearend, but there’s growing hope that bipartisan reform legislation might be enacted next year.

November 10, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Fannie and Freddie QM Patch Under Attack By GOP Lawmakers, Trump Administration

The special qualified-mortgage treatment for home loans eligible for sale to the government-sponsored enterprises is getting more attention lately as some say that it gives Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac an unfair advantage.

November 6, 2017 - Inside the CFPB

Rep. Hensarling to Retire; Where Next? FHFA? CFPB?

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, surprised some in the nation’s capital last week by announcing he would not seek re-election when his term expires in 2018. Hensarling was already slated to surrender his chairmanship of the committee due to term limits, but he certainly had enough seniority to lay claim to another powerful position within the GOP leadership in the House. Instead, he opted to depart elected office entirely, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. The news immediately prompted speculation inside the Washington, DC, beltway about Hensarling’s next destination: at the helm of the Federal Housing Financial Agency or perhaps the CFPB? Jaret Seiberg, an analyst with the Cowen Washington Research Group, ...

November 3, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Briefs

Hensarling to Retire After Term Ends. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-TX, announced that he will not run for re-election and is retiring to spend more time with his family. Some think Hensarling’s departure could speed up Congressional efforts to enact housing finance reform. However, Cowen and Company said this is ultimately negative for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as Hensarling now becomes the top contender to replace Mel Watt as FHFA director in January 2019. “Hensarling has previously proposed liquidating the enterprises. At the least, we would expect him to shrink the GSE share of the market,” said analyst Jaret Seiberg. MBA President to Retire. Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO David Stevens...

November 3, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

GSEs Mull Alternative Credit Score, VantageScore Makes Its Case

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt said the agency is reviewing the possibility of having Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac update their credit score model requirements. But first he has questions. Although it wouldn’t be implemented until late 2019, Watt, while speaking at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual conference last week, reminded that it’s not an easy decision. The FHFA plans to issue a request for input sometime this month to get stakeholder feedback on the issue and make an informed decision about the GSEs’ future credit score model requirements in 2018 as soon as it completes reviewing responses to the RFI.

November 3, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Oral Arguments and Supreme Court Requests Are Latest in GSE Cases

There have been a number of moving parts in GSE shareholder cases recently, including oral arguments heard this week in one case and three separate lawsuits asking the Supreme Court of the United States to review the constitutionality of the structure of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Attorney and managing partner David Thompson with Cooper & Kirk in Washington, D.C., who represents the shareholders in Christopher Roberts vs. FHFA, participated in this week’s oral arguments in the Seventh Circuit Court. He called the net-worth sweep unlawful because it imposed a “mandatory zero-capital regime and violated its own statutory commands to preserve and conserve assets and restore them to soundness.”

November 3, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

FHFA Adds URLA Language Question, Makes Several Changes

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, despite opposition, will go ahead with its plan to add a language-preference question to the redesigned loan application for GSE loans. Although use of the form won’t be required by lenders until February 2020, one law firm is weighing in on its possible impact.The FHFA announced late last month that the question will be added to the loan application to enable borrowers who prefer to communicate in a language other than English to identify that language. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulator also said the revision is part of a broader, multi-year effort to improve language access for limited English proficiency (LEP) borrowers.

November 3, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Watt Said FHFA Evaluating, Exploring New CRT Options

Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt touted the evolution of the GSEs’ credit-risk transfer programs and said they continue to make progress on exploring new types of ways to transfer risk to the private sector. During remarks at the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual conference in Denver last week, Watt said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now transfer a significant amount of credit risk on at least 90 percent of their targeted single-family loans. “The enterprises’ credit-risk transfer programs have leveraged a receptive private sector market and have made an incredible amount of progress in a really short period of time,” he said. Since 2013, they have transferred a portion of credit risk on $1.6 trillion of mortgages.

November 3, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

GSE Combined Net Income $7.7B IN 3Q, Hurricane Impact Felt

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac earnings remained strong in the third quarter as the GSEs posted a combined $7.7 billion in net income. Fannie reported $3.02 billion, a 5.5 percent decline from the prior quarter. Freddie posted $4.67 billion, more than double the $1.66 billion reported in the second quarter. While the combined number is well above the $4.86 billion total booked in the previous quarter, the bulk of it is attributed to a legal settlement windfall with the Royal Bank of Scotland over non-agency mortgage-backed securities sold to the GSEs. Freddie received the lion’s share of the taxable settlement with $4.5 billion and Fannie received $975 million.


With originations expected to drop in 2018, will your shop turn to non-QM/non-prime mortgage products as a way to bolster volumes?

Yes, definitely. We’re planning a launch.
No. It’s still difficult compliance/regulatory-wise.
Maybe. It’s under consideration.
Not now. But things could change as 2018 progresses.

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