GSEs Transfer Billions in Mortgage Risk

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac transferred $5.5 billion in mortgage credit risk during just the first quarter of this year, according to the Credit Risk Transfer Progress Report released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency this morning. This brings the Enterprises’ total risk transferred up to $54 billion since 2013.

According to the report, the mortgages transferred in Q1 amounted to an unpaid principal balance of $174 billion. The Enterprises have transferred risk on $1.6 trillion in unpaid principal balance to date.

Fannie Mae moved the larger share of risk, transferring $108 billion in unpaid principal balance and $3.4 billion in total risk. Freddie Mac transferred risk on $65 billion in unpaid principal balance and $2.1 billion in risk.

In Q1, the report shows that 77 percent of the total Enterprise risk transferred was done through debt issuance, while 19 percent was transferred through reinsurance transactions. Whole loan securities, lender recourse, and front-end reinsurance accounted for 1 percent, 1 percent, and 2 percent, respectively.

“The report also shows that in 2017 both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac modified the first loss structure of their debt issuances to, in general, retain the first 50 basis points of losses, mostly expected credit losses,” the FHFA reported. “This means the Enterprises are now selling most of the credit losses between 50 to 100 basis points.”

A significant portion of the Enterprise’s debt issuances is backed by loans with loan-to-value ratios higher than 80 percent and have either private mortgage insurance, a recourse agreement, or seller-retained participation attached to them.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac begin their Credit Risk Transfer (CRT) programs in 2013 in an effort to reduce taxpayer risk.

“In 2012, the Federal Housing Finance Agency established guidelines governing single-family credit risk sharing by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with the intent of reducing their overall risk and, therefore, the risk they pose to taxpayers while in conservatorship,” the report reads. “The CRT programs include credit risk transfers via debt issuances, insurance/reinsurance transactions, senior-subordinate securitizations, and a variety of lender collateralized recourse transactions.”

See the full Credit Risk Transfer Progress Report at FHFA.gov.

 

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