In recent posts, we’ve been tracking the progress of loans coming out of forbearance into various pool types such as Reperforming (RG), Extended Term (ET) and, even Private Label pools. A different perspective can be obtained by looking at the disposition of loans with partial claims. Recall that a partial claim occurs when a borrower with missed payments can resume making payments but does not have the resources to increase payments to compensate for the balance missed. In general, the missed payments are placed into a subordinate lien that comes due when the mortgage is extinguished. It is important to note that a partial claim is not a modification, and a loan with a partial claim does not have to be in a forbearance program.
Recently, Ginnie Mae announced that they would disclose the share of loans in pools with partial claims. Below find a summary table of these results reported first ever as of April, 2022
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.
Mortgage market analysis in 2022 is setting up to be very much focused on the impact of expiring forbearance programs. In this post, we look at the FHA program from this perspective. With the onset of the pandemic, FHA began to apply “Partial Claim”s, a seldom-used loss mitigation method to help its mortgage borrowers cope with financial difficulties stemming from the pandemic. A Partial Claim is a no-interest junior claim consisting of missed P&I payments secured by the property that comes due when the first lien is extinguished. Ginnie Mae created a new pool type, the RG pool, mainly to take delivery of the loans received via a partial claim, after they successfully made six6 consecutive payments. Another FHA innovation is the availability of an automatic modification that allows borrowers exiting forbearance to have access to a program that reduces monthly payments by up to 25% without impacting their credit.
The result has been a sharp change in the composition of FHA loans delivered to Ginnie Mae program over the past year.
This changing composition will likely have a measurable impact on pool performance. In this regard, it’s interesting to look at the credit scores of borrowers across loan types.
Original Credit scores for RG loans look very much like those in the overall pool. And while credit scores for modified loans remain below those overall, the gap has narrowed since the new waterfall was made available. As a result, we are once again in the situation where we can’t confidently extrapolate historical trends about the relationship of loan performance and economic factors like interest rates and unemployment as a basis for decision-making. Instead, it is the details in the policy changes designed to keep borrowers in their homes that provide the clearest view on market performance.
As we approach year-end and the beginning of the process of phasing out forbearance programs, the natural question market participants are asking is which indicators should they be watching to gain a sense of the mortgage landscape in 2022. Along these lines, there is a significant difference between the Ginnie Mae programs and the GSE’s. In particular, for conforming loans, it is the Agencies themselves that buy nonperforming loans out of pools, while for FHA and VA, this function is performed by servicers. As the timeframe for buyouts on the part of the GSE’s was extended to 24 months earlier this year, we won’t see much activity prior to April 2022 on this front. So in this post, we focus on the Ginnie Mae programs.
As we have written previously, it is challenging to follow the path of a loan once it has been purchased out of a pool. At the aggregate level, we can view the activity of individual lenders using the FHA Neighborhood Watch data. In terms of the process, a nonperforming loan is bought out of a pool, and one of three actions can be taken. First, the borrower can be taken into foreclosure. Second, the borrower can become current and roll the unpaid balance into a second lien, in a process known as a partial claim. Third, the borrower can accept a loan modification.
In terms of the scale of buyouts, after an early spurt of activity in 2020 on the part of some parties, notably banks, the involuntary prepayment rate, measured by CDR(constant default rate), has settled down in recent months. FHA nonbank servicers have been more active in this space than other categories over the past year. As forbearance plans begin to expire towards the end of the year, these numbers may start to rise.
As we head into 2021, an ongoing issue is the disposition of loans in forbearance. The Cares Act allows for borrowers negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic to obtain forbearance up to 1 year. This will begin to expire in Spring 2021, although an extension is possible as the new Administration takes over in January. A key point is that forbearance is not forgiveness. The mortgage agencies have provided options for borrowers who become current after forbearance, so they don’t have to make a lump-sum payment for missed principle and interest.
FHA has designated its policy regarding the disposition of suspended payment amounts as COVID-19 National Emergency Standalone Partial Claims(COVID Partial Claim).
“The COVID Partial Claim puts all suspended mortgage payment amounts owed into a junior lien, which is only repaid when the homeowner sells the home, refinances the mortgage, or the mortgage is otherwise extinguished.”