In an earlier post, we discussed the use of trial modifications as a leading indicator of buyouts, as loans in these programs must experience three months of successful payments prior to being eligible for a permanent mod. On January 25, Fannie Mae announced that they had purchased certain loans out of pools prior to the completion of the necessary trial payments. Then, on March 25, Fannie published a list of these securities, allowing us to quantify the impact of this event on the performance of their pools.
The spreadsheet attached to the March announcement contains over 17,800 entries dating back to February 2021 and states that the total unpaid balance bought out early amounted to over $4.5 billion.
The point of this post is to assess the magnitude of this activity on Fannie Mae’s prepayment speeds. To address this question, we imported the data in the file released by Fannie Mae into our Recursion Pool Analyzer.
As a first step, we look at the impact of these purchases on CDR’s as the activity was clearly involuntary.
Agency-based Metrics for Assessing the Resolution of Mortgage Forbearance and Delinquencies (Part II – The GSE’s)
In a recent post, we discussed the utility of secondary market indicators to track the progression of loans that are coming out of forbearance in Government programs. This short note looks at this progression in the conforming loan market.
For the Ginnie Mae programs, issuers may buy loans out of pools after they are delinquent more than 90 days and begin a workout process that culminates in one of the options, including loan modification. The situation is quite a bit different for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The main distinction is that on January 1, 2021, the GSEs extended their timeline for buying loans out of pools to 24 consecutive months of missed payments. As the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020, we expect to see buyouts being extended as much as to April and May this year.
However, we can obtain a view on future loan modifications through the trial mod flag in the borrower assistance plan field in the monthly disclosures the GSEs started to release in March, 2021. In order to obtain a permanent modification, borrowers must first successfully complete a three-month trial modification plan.
Below find the progression in the number of loans in such plans since March 2021:
Agency-based Metrics for Assessing the Resolution of Mortgage Forbearance and Delinquencies (Part I– Government Programs)
In a fine recent paper, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia “highlights the immediacy of the challenges facing mortgage servicers and policymakers” that arise from the resolution of mortgage forbearance and delinquencies. As of the time of writing, the Philly Fed stated that “some 2.73 million mortgages are either in forbearance or past due; about 0.78 million of those are in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act forbearance plans”. In addition, “about 47 percent of loans in forbearance will expire in the first quarter of 2022; another 42 percent will expire in the second quarter”. They go on to discuss recent trends and provide data on income and demographics of these borrowers.
The point of this brief article is to look at secondary market indicators to shed additional light on these issues. The note is broken into two parts, the first looks at Government programs, notably FHA and VA, while the second looks at the GSEs.
On January 13, Housing Wire posted an article titled “Freedom Mortgage dominates the MSR market” in which they reported that, among other top servicers, Freedom is leading the MSR marketing. They cited Recursion data on the ranking of the Ginnie Mae top servicers/buyers as well as their loan delinquency rates to provide perspective on the MSR market.
In a recent post, we discussed the various factors behind the elevated pace of prepayments in Ginnie Mae securitized pools relative to those in conventional pools. A key driver of the difference in speeds is the different incentives facing Ginnie Mae program servicers regarding loan buyouts on one hand and those facing the GSE’s on the other. In the first case, the economics of the transaction are often favorable for servicers with cash available to purchase loans out of pools while the GSE’s take a more balanced view of the interests of servicers and investors.
The key regulation driving GSE behavior in this regard is the September 30, 2020 statements by the Enterprises extending the timeframe for delinquent loan buyouts from four consecutive months to twenty four consecutive months. While forbearance was not explicitly mentioned in these announcements, there is clearly a connection between this timeframe and that of the duration of the forbearance programs. For conventional loans that entered a plan prior to February 28 2021, borrowers have a maximum 18 months of forbearance available to them. Since the biggest share of loans in forbearance took place in Q2 2020, that 18 month period is running out for many. As borrowers work with their servicers to consider their options, loan buyouts should start to pick up in coming months as distressed borrowers pursue loan modifications or enter into foreclosure proceedings. In addition, distressed borrowers with equity in their homes may choose to sell their properties, leading to a pickup in voluntary prepayments.
Received wisdom in the mortgage market holds that distress in the mortgage market eases as the labor market improves. While there is certainly some justification for this view, in fact there are many factors that drive performance so the direct correlation with the jobs market does not always hold.
One of the many recurring themes of these posts is that the shock of the Covid-19 Pandemic and subsequent policy response has resulted in structural changes in behavior that cause loan performance metrics to shift compared to the pre-crisis world. An interesting example of this can be found in the performance of modified loans in Ginnie Mae programs.
Modified loans in these programs are those that have been purchased out of pools by servicers that are past due that subsequently have features such as rate and term adjusted in order to bring households back to a current status. These are then often resecuritized into a new GNM pool.