Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to Treasury.

October 20, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

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...

October 20, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

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...

October 20, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

SFIG Broadly Supports Treasury Report Proposed Reforms, But Seeks Minor Tweaks

The Structured Finance Industry Group agrees with many of the proposals made by the Treasury Department in its recent report on regulatory reform for financial markets but seeks more clarity about risk retention requirements. Published earlier this month, the Treasury report said that the requirement that sponsors retain a residual interest in securitizations adds unnecessary cost to securitization as a funding source. In turn, it inhibits the prudent expansion of credit through securitized products ...

October 13, 2017 - Inside FHA/VA Lending

Carson Open to Excising HECM From Mortgage Insurance Fund

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson indicated he is open to the idea of moving the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program out of the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund to stem future losses. Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee this week, Carson said the changes the department has made recently, as well as those currently under consideration, will eliminate most of the program’s problems although residual issues may still linger. Carson acknowledged that the HECM program’s default rate has been a drain on the MMI Fund even though it is much smaller than the FHA’s forward loan portfolio. The recently revised HECM rules issued on Sept. 19 have “stopped the bleeding” in terms of new reverse mortgages, he added. However, separating the HECM portfolio from the FHA insurance fund and making it a stand-alone program is ...

October 13, 2017 - Inside Nonconforming Markets

Treasury Proposal Could Boost Non-Agency MBS

A proposal released last week by the Treasury Department could make issuing and investing in non-agency mortgage-backed securities more attractive for banks. The Treasury called for revisions to various regulations that apply to non-agency MBS in a broad report suggesting regulatory reforms for capital markets. “In its review of the securitization market, the Treasury found that regulatory bank capital requirements treat investment in non-agency securitized ...

October 13, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

GSE Shareholders More Confident As Judge Releases New Government Documents to Plaintiff Attorneys

As Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders inch closer to having hundreds of government documents released in pending shareholder lawsuits surrounding the conservatorship and preferred stock purchase agreement, they are more confident the court will rule in their favor. In the latest development in Fairholme Funds v. the United States, Federal Claims Court Judge Margaret Sweeney last week granted a motion to compel the disclosure of documents filed over the summer by ...

October 13, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Regulatory Relief Pushed by Treasury for MBS And ABS Looks Likely, though Not Immediate

The Treasury Department released a report late last week calling for a variety of regulatory reforms for the MBS and ABS markets. Many of the reforms aim to increase issuance and are likely to come into effect, particularly those that don’t require action by Congress. The recommendations were part of a response to an executive order issued by President Trump calling for regulators to identify actions to be taken to align financial regulations with “core principles” established by ...

October 6, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Judge Moves to Disclose More Documents in Shareholder Case

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders are feeling more confident they will prevail in lawsuits over the Treasury sweep as internal government documents related to a popular case continue to trickle out. Late this week, Federal Claims Court Judge Margaret Sweeney granted a motion to compel the disclosure of documents that were filed over the summer by attorneys in Fairholme Funds v. the United States. Investors, having grown weary of the drawn-out discovery process, filed a motion in August in hopes of speeding things up by forcing the government to stop what they perceive as delay tactics. Attorneys asked the Federal Claims Court to use the “quick peek” procedure for some documents dating back to May 2012.

September 29, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Hopes for Regulatory Reforms Rest on Regulators As Prospects Dim on Legislation from Congress

The election of President Trump and Republican control of Congress initially prompted optimism among MBS and ABS issuers for significant easing of regulatory standards. But with comprehensive legislation from Congress looking unlikely, the focus has shifted to federal agencies, according to speakers at the recent ABS East conference sponsored by Information Management Network. “Expectations have had to be reset post-election,” said Ryan Schoen, a senior financial services analyst at Washington Analysis, a research firm. He said he doesn’t expect much regulatory reform from Capitol Hill. While the House passed H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act, this year, the Senate is taking a more measured approach. “The Senate doesn’t seem...

September 28, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Groups Feud Over Fannie/Freddie Capital Strategies. Will Congress Finally Act in 2018?

Resolving the long-running conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is drawing a lot of attention, but policymakers and industry groups don’t seem any closer to a consensus. For the most part, the executive branch and many groups representing large financial institutions want Congress to tackle the problem through legislation. Investors and some groups representing smaller lenders say the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Treasury could do more to pave the way. Motivating the debate is...

September 28, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Third Quarter was a Barn-Burner for Some Originators But Just So-So for Others; Nonprime Lending Excels

Drawing to a close, the third quarter of 2017 is turning out to be modestly better than some lenders expected with both profits and production volumes getting a second wind recently thanks to falling interest rates. “We’re having a great quarter,” said Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, Troy, MI. According to Ishbia, not only will UWM post record originations of $8.6 billion in the third quarter, but volume at the privately held nonbank will be about 20.0 percent higher than ever before. According to figures compiled by Inside Mortgage Finance, UWM is...

September 22, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Groups Tell Treasury, FHFA: Legislation Not Recap

Fifteen industry trade groups and other organizations sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and GSE regulator Mel Watt late this week, reminding them that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be reformed through legislation and not some type of recapitalization plan where Congress is cut from the equation. “We are increasingly concerned about efforts to derail comprehensive reform,” they write. “We urge both Treasury and Federal Housing Finance Agency to focus on continuing to work with Congress to end conservatorship through comprehensive, bipartisan, legislative reforms.” No specifics are provided regarding the derailment comment. Presently, there are no viable bills before Congress where a consensus on GSE reform might be reached.

September 22, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

MBS Trading Volume Remained Light In August; Maybe a Fed Exit Will Help

The average daily trading volume in agency MBS totaled a tepid $199.8 billion in August, the lowest reading since May, according to figures compiled by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Then again, volume wasn’t too far off trading activity in the prior two months, which came in at $200.5 billion and $200.9 billion. It appears that investors haven’t had...

September 22, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Fed Announces MBS Reinvestments Will Begin to Slow in October, Next Rate Hike Seen in December

The great unwinding of the Federal Reserve’s massive intervention in the MBS market post-financial crisis is set to begin soon. This week, surprising no one, the U.S. central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee announced it will start to normalize its huge balance sheet next month along the parameters it first outlined in June. From October through December, the decline in the Fed’s securities holdings will be capped at $6 billion per month for Treasuries and $4 billion per month for agency MBS. Next year, the declines will gradually increase to $30 billion a month for Treasuries and $20 billion a month for MBS. Fed Chair Janet Yellen reiterated...

September 21, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Community Banking Trade Groups Seek Support for Regulatory Relief for Independent Mortgage Lenders

Trade groups representing smaller mortgage lenders are asking the Trump administration for targeted regulatory relief for smaller independent mortgage bankers. In a joint letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin this week, the Community Home Lenders Association and the Community Mortgage Lenders of America urged the administration to back legislation that would exempt independent mortgage lenders from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s supervision, enforcement and third-party vendor audits. Support is also being sought for CFPB administrative action to provide such targeted relief. In June, Treasury issued...

September 21, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

With GSE ‘Zero Capital Day’ About Three Months Away, Possible Credit Reserves Become a Factor

Unless the Federal Housing Finance Agency acts soon, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will see their capital buffers fall to zero on Jan. 1, 2018. Having zero capital may not be a big deal, initially – but a new complication has arrived in the form of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. According to Tim Rood, chairman of The Collingwood Group, the government-sponsored enterprises are not looking at losses “that will cost tens of billions of dollars – but they don’t need to be. The capital buffer is small as it is. And if a credit event happens, it could wipe out the thin layer of capital they have in a hurry.” If Rood – a former Fannie executive – is correct, the GSEs might have...

September 15, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Treasury Discussing GSE Issues with Trade Groups; Multiple Guarantors, Capital Are on the Table

Over the past several weeks, the Treasury Department has been meeting with several industry trade groups about the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, discussing – among other things – what to do about the impending “zero capital” problem as well as the topic of multiple guarantors. Treasury’s goal, these officials said, is to come up with a workable blueprint on the future of the government-sponsored enterprises and the nation’s housing finance system – changes that might touch Ginnie Mae as well. Late this week there was...

September 8, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Once Banks Got LCR Compliant, They Opted For More GSE MBS, Fed Researchers Find

Partly to comply with liquidity cover ratio requirements imposed in the wake of the financial crisis, U.S. banks ramped up their holdings of high-quality liquid assets. But once they got compliant, many of them shifted their asset allocations more to agency MBS and U.S. Treasuries, according to researchers at the Federal Reserve. This could have implications for the U.S. central bank’s massive balance sheet over the long haul, they added. As of Jan. 1, 2015, large banks in the U.S. have needed...


The year is almost 75% done. How is mortgage origination volume at your shop?

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