Treasury

Browse articles from all of our Newsletters related to Treasury.

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 7, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Treasury Dept. Backs Away from Supporting FHFA Structure

The Treasury Department reneged on its support of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s single- director structure last week. The issue stems from a recent PHH Mortgage-initiated lawsuit challenging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s structure as unconstitutional, which led to questioning the similarly structured FHFA. Although the Treasury previously sided with the FHFA, the Trump administration decided to side with the mortgage lender. The Treasury Department is now making a similar argument that the FHFA’s structure is also unconstitutional. The CFPB and FHFA, the GSEs’ regulator, are independent agencies led by a single director whom the president can only fire for cause.


April 7, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Industry Experts Say GSE Reform Unlikely Anytime Soon

While hopes were high for GSE reform with the incoming Trump administration, housing industry experts seem to agree that major changes at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may not happen anytime soon. Panelists at a housing finance conference sponsored by Moody’s agreed with the ratings agency’s sentiment and said that the policy environment is in flux and unpredictable with GSE reform unlikely in the near term. “The election of Donald J. Trump as president amid Republican control of Congress has created a new political landscape with potential implications for the U.S. housing and finance markets,” said Moody’s in a recap of the conference. “However, panelists at our conference saw targeted legislative or regulatory changes as...


April 7, 2017 - Inside The GSEs

Some Still Looking to Suspend or Alter Dividend Payments

There are multiple sides to the Treasury sweep debate but despite rumors to the contrary, the GSEs sent the bulk of their fourth-quarter earnings to the Treasury at the end of March, as scheduled. While some advocate for suspending the profit sweep, others question whether the timing of future payments could be altered to reduce the likelihood that either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac might need another bailout. In early March, industry officials and lobbyists began voicing their belief that the FHFA, possibly with Treasury’s blessing, might alter or suspend the quarterly dividends. One possibility floated was changing the four quarterly payments to one annual one. Speculation may have been fueled...


April 7, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

The Many Sides of the Treasury Sweep Debate, What to Do With Fannie, Freddie Earnings in 2017

Despite rumors to the contrary, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac forked over most of their fourth-quarter earnings to the Treasury Department at the end of March, as scheduled. But some industry insiders wonder whether the timing of future payments will be altered to reduce the likelihood that either of the government-sponsored enterprises might need another bailout. In early March, there were talks predicting, or hoping for everything from a possible suspension of the Treasury sweep to replacing the quarterly payment with an annual one. Speculation may have been fueled by uncertainty about what the Trump administration wants to do about the now eight-year-old conservatorships of the two GSEs. In 2017, Fannie and Freddie can only retain...


April 7, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Fed Starts to Plan for Shrinking its Huge Portfolio After Inflation Breaches Key 2 Percent Threshold

For years, officials at the Federal Reserve seemed nonchalant about coming up with a final exit strategy for the U.S. central bank’s massive holdings of agency MBS and debt and Treasury Securities, currently valued at approximately $4.5 trillion. But now, in relatively short order, the prospect of the Fed beginning to reduce its holdings has become a “thing” – so much so, in fact, that officials there reportedly are starting to put together just such a plan. The likelihood of such a move suddenly got much stronger when the Commerce Department announced late last week that the personal-consumption expenditures price index rose 2.1 percent from a year ago. The Fed has been striving to achieve 2 percent inflation for at least the last five years, and now appears to have the green light it has been waiting for. According to various press reports, the Fed’s plan would entail...


March 31, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Treasury Department Takes Back Its Support Of FHFA Structure in New Court Advisory

The mortgage market has paid close attention to a lawsuit brought by PHH Mortgage that challenges the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Trump administration’s recent move to side with the mortgage lender. Now, the Treasury Department is making a similar argument that the structure of the Federal Housing Finance Agency is also unconstitutional. Both the CFPB and FHFA, the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are independent agencies led by a single director whom the president can only fire for cause. In an advisory filed March 24, the Treasury backed...


March 31, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Former Investment Banker Craig Phillips Is the GSE ‘Point Person’ on GSE Reform

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made it clear after being nominated that resolving the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be a top priority for his department. And although Mnuchin will clearly be a player in the debate, the policy “ax” on the issue will be Craig Phillips, recently tapped to serve as counselor with an agenda that includes fixing the two government-sponsored enterprises. Most mortgage professionals have applauded President Trump’s pick of Mnuchin and now Phillips. Mnuchin was the former head of Goldman Sachs’ MBS department, and Phillips was a former managing director of Morgan Stanley’s fixed-income division. Phillips was...


March 30, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Industry Says Act Now or Pay Later On GSE and Housing-Finance Reform

Since 2012 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have provided the government with a hefty amount of funds thanks to the Treasury sweep of GSE profits, which could be a perverse disincentive to move forward on housing finance reform. The two government-sponsored enterprises expected to pass along a combined $9.97 billion during the first quarter of 2017, the net profits they earned in the fourth quarter that exceeded the $600 million cap on retained capital. That brings...


March 30, 2017 - Inside Mortgage Finance

Mortgage Industry Expects FHFA Chief Watt to Change the GSE Dividend to Annual Instead of Quarterly – This Year

As the clock ticks down on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac running out of a capital buffer in early 2018, there is a growing belief in the mortgage industry that the Federal Housing Finance Agency will move to change dividends payments by the two from a quarterly to an annual basis. If the FHFA pulls the trigger, it would allow the government-sponsored enterprises to sit on a pile of cash before upstreaming it to Treasury – money that would give them a buffer if rates turn the wrong way and a hedging loss ensues in a given quarter. Ron Haynie, senior vice president of mortgage policy at the Independent Community Bankers of America, told...


March 24, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

MBS Trading Volume Weak in February as Demand Declines; Market Nervous About Stocks, Trump’s Business Agenda

The average daily trading volume in agency MBS declined to $202.4 billion in February, one of the worst readings over the past six months, according to figures compiled by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. In January, volume was a bit healthier at $229.8 billion, but that was before concerns began to mount about President Trump’s business agenda and how successful the new White House might be in rolling back regulations – financial and otherwise. As Inside MBS & ABS went to press this week, fears were...


March 17, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Government Must Turn Over Unprivileged Documents Relating to Treasury Sweep

In a prominent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholder case, the government was ordered to go back through thousands of documents related to the Treasury sweep to determine whether they fall under the executive privilege that has been more narrowly defined. In an attempt to make sure the government asserted privilege properly on the 11,000 documents it is withholding, Federal Claims Court Judge Margaret Sweeney asked it to reexamine the large batch and turn over any that don’t merit secrecy by April 17. This order follows...


March 17, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Trump Administration Plan to Tackle Tax Reform Expected to Have an Impact on Housing Reform

Tax reform may have a significant impact on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, before federal policymakers get around to resolving the long-running conservatorships of the two government-sponsored enterprises. Reducing the corporate tax rate is a big component of the Trump administration’s tax reform plan, but it could force the GSEs to write down the value of their deferred tax assets. “It is...


March 17, 2017 - Inside MBS & ABS

Federal Reserve Chooses to Raise Fed Funds Rate, Defers Talk About Its Huge Agency Portfolio

For the third time in as many years, the U.S. Federal Reserve decided to raise the federal funds rate by 25 basis points this week, as widely expected – only this time, the Fed didn’t wait until the very end of the year. The FOMC’s revised projections are for two additional quarter-point rate hikes later this year, three next year and three or four the year after. World stock indexes rallied...


Poll

With the spring homebuying season in full swing, what percentage of your March 2017 application volume has been for “purchase” loans?

75% or higher

48%

50% to 74%

24%

30% to 49%

14%

Under 30%

14%