|FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION FANNIE MAE filed this Form 10-Q on 05/07/2015|
Whether the loans we acquire in the future will exhibit an overall credit profile and performance similar to our more recent acquisitions will depend on a number of factors, including our future guaranty fee pricing and any impact of that pricing on the volume and mix of loans we acquire; our future eligibility standards and those of mortgage insurers, the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”), the percentage of loan originations representing refinancings, changes in interest rates, our future objectives and activities in support of those objectives, including actions we may take to reach additional underserved creditworthy borrowers, government policy, market and competitive conditions, and the volume and characteristics of HARP loans we acquire in the future. In addition, if our lender customers retain more of the higher-quality loans they originate, it could negatively affect the credit risk profile of our new single-family acquisitions.
Providing Targeted Access to Credit Opportunities for Creditworthy Borrowers
Pursuant to FHFA’s 2014 and 2015 conservatorship scorecards and our statutory mission, we are continuing to work to increase access to mortgage credit for creditworthy borrowers, consistent with the full extent of our applicable credit requirements and risk management practices. As part of this effort, we are encouraging lenders to originate loans across the full range of credit eligibility for those borrowers meeting our credit requirements. Some actions we are taking in this regard include: providing additional clarity regarding seller and servicer representations and warranties and remedies for poor servicing performance; making new quality control tools available to lenders; conducting increased outreach to lenders and other industry stakeholders to increase awareness of our available products and programs and to identify potential opportunities to enhance our products and programs to serve this important creditworthy segment; and conducting consumer research to provide industry partners with information to support their efforts to reach underserved market segments.
As part of meeting this scorecard objective, in 2014 we worked with FHFA to revise our eligibility criteria to address a targeted segment of creditworthy borrowers—those who can afford a mortgage but who lack resources for a substantial down payment—in a responsible manner by taking into account factors that would compensate for the high LTV ratios of their loans. Specifically, we changed our eligibility requirements to increase our maximum LTV ratio from 95% to 97% for loans meeting certain criteria. Although higher LTV ratio loans typically present a higher credit risk than lower LTV ratio loans, we expect our acquisition of these loans under our revised eligibility criteria will not materially affect our overall credit risk because we expect that (1) these loans will constitute a small portion of our acquisitions overall and (2) our eligibility requirements for these loans will limit their effect on our overall credit risk. In addition, we have experience managing the credit risk associated with loans with LTV ratios in this range. In the first quarter of 2015, under our newly revised eligibility criteria, we acquired approximately 2,100 single-family loans with 95.01% to 97% LTV ratios from 370 lenders. These loans represented less than 1% of the single-family loans we acquired in the first quarter of 2015. While we expect the volume of loans we acquire under these criteria to increase, we expect they will continue to constitute only a small portion of our acquisitions overall. Our eligibility requirements for these loans include compensating factors and risk mitigants, which reduce the incidence of loans with multiple higher-risk characteristics, or “risk layering.” For purchase transactions, at least one borrower on the loan must be a first-time home buyer and occupy the property as his or her principal residence. In some cases, we also require the borrower to receive housing counseling before obtaining the loan. Eligibility for refinance transactions is limited to existing Fannie Mae loans to provide support for borrowers who may not otherwise be eligible for our Refi PlusTM initiative. For both purchase and refinance loans, the loans must have fixed-rate terms and must be underwritten through Desktop Underwriter®, our proprietary automated underwriting system. Desktop Underwriter provides a comprehensive credit risk assessment on loan applications submitted through the system, assessing risk layers and compensating factors, and denying loan applications that do not meet our eligibility requirements. We require mortgage insurance or other appropriate credit enhancement for all non-HARP loans with LTV ratios greater than 80%.
To the extent we are able to encourage lenders to increase access to mortgage credit, we may acquire a greater number of single-family loans with higher risk characteristics than we acquired in recent periods; however, we expect our single-family acquisitions will continue to have a strong overall credit risk profile given our current underwriting and eligibility standards and product design. We actively monitor on an ongoing basis the credit risk profile and credit performance of our single-family loan acquisitions, in conjunction with housing market and economic conditions, to determine if our pricing, eligibility and underwriting criteria accurately reflect the risk associated with loans we acquire or guarantee.
Contributions to the Housing and Mortgage Markets
Liquidity and Support Activities
As the largest provider of residential mortgage credit in the United States, we indirectly enable families to buy, refinance or rent homes. During the first quarter of 2015, we continued to provide critical liquidity and support to the U.S. mortgage market in a number of important ways: