"Lets remind ourselves, this began with predatory lenders out there marketing products that borrowers could not afford. Fannie and Freddie were never bottom feeders. They had some Alt-A, they had some subprime, but nothing to the extent these other institutions had. That's where the problem lay."
Chris Dodd, former Senator from Connecticut
What is a Mortgage-Backed Security?
A mortgage-backed security (MBS) is a type of asset-backed security that is secured by a mortgage, or more commonly a collection ("pool") of sometimes hundreds of mortgages. The mortgages are sold to a financial institution (Fannie Mae or investment banks like Bank of America or Chase) that "securitizes" or packages the loans together into a security that can be sold to investors.
Value of mortgage-backed security issuances in $USD trillions, 1990-2009.
Can you Spot the Bubble that PoPPed?
(source: sifma statistics, structured finance)
Data on the Risk Characteristics and Performance of Single- Family Mortgages Originated from 2001 through 2008 and Financed in the Secondary Market
September 13, 2010
There has been considerable public discussion of the roles Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) may have played in the financial crisis that began in the third quarter of 2007.1 This Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) data release contributes to that discussion by summarizing information on the risk characteristics and performance of two sets of single-family mortgage loans originated from 2001 through 2008 and financed in the secondary mortgage market: those acquired by the Enterprises and those financed through the issuance of private-label mortgage-backed and asset- backed securities (collectively called private-label MBS). The period 2001 through 2008 encompasses the development and peak of the recent single- family mortgage lending and house price boom and the beginning of the ensuing bust. The release focuses on conventional loans—those without government insurance or a government guarantee.
1. Credit Scores
Lower credit scores are associated with greater mortgage credit risk. Borrower credit scores used here were calculated using models developed by Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO).
Fannie & Freddie:
Enterprise-acquired mortgages were predominantly made to borrowers with FICO scores above 660. Such loans comprised 84 percent of all Enterprise-acquired mortgages originated between 2001 and 2008 and ranged from 82 percent of 2001 originations to 91 percent of 2008 originations. Eleven percent of all Enterprise-acquired loans during the period were made to borrowers with FICO scores between 620 and 660. Only 5 percent of Enterprise-acquired loans were made to borrowers with FICO scores below 620.
Mortgages financed with private-label MBS originated between 2001 and 2008 were much more likely to be made to borrowers with lower FICO scores. Borrowers with FICO scores above 660 received 47 percent of mortgages financed with private-label MBS, while borrowers with FICO scores below 620 received close to 32 percent of those mortgages, and borrowers with FICO scores between 620 and 660 received just over 21 percent.
2. Loan-to-Value Ratios
Loan-to-value ratios measure the relative use of borrower equity and mortgage debt to finance the purchase of a home. Loans with higher LTV ratios rely more heavily on borrowed funds and pose more credit risk. Second liens (including closed-end second mortgages and home equity lines of credit) further increase credit risk by reducing borrower equity in the property, but second liens, even if incurred simultaneously with the first mortgage, are not captured in the datasets used to prepare this release.
Fannie & Freddie:
The vast majority of Enterprise-acquired loans had LTV ratios at origination of 80 percent or less. Such loans comprised 82 percent of all Enterprise-acquired mortgages originated between 2001 and 2008 and ranged from 75 percent of 2007 originations to 86 percent of 2003 and 2005 originations. Loans with LTV ratios above 80 percent but no greater than 90 percent and loans with LTV ratios above 90 percent each constituted 9 percent of Enterprise-acquired loans during the period, with loans in the latter category spiking to more than 15 percent of 2007 originations.
About two-thirds of mortgages financed with private-label MBS had LTV ratios at or below 80 percent, with such loans increasing from 54 percent of 2001 originations to 81 percent of 2008 originations. Loans with LTV ratios above 80 percent but no greater than 90 percent constituted 20 percent of all mortgages financed with private-label MBS, while loans with LTV ratios above 90 percent constituted 11 percent. Loans in the latter two categories decreased significantly over time.
The pattern of decreasing LTV ratios over time, most pronounced for loans financed with private-label MBS, is consistent with the greater use of second liens to avoid mortgage insurance on low- down payment mortgages, a practice that was increasingly common into 2007. In addition, loans with LTV ratios at origination of 80 percent or 90 percent tend to have higher delinquency rates than loans with slightly higher LTV ratios in several origination years. That observation is consistent with the existence of second liens that are not captured in the LTV ratio.
3. Loan Payment Type
Adjustable-rate loans offer borrowers lower initial payments in return for less certainty about future payments. In the data analyzed here, adjustable-rate loans perform worse than fixed-rate loans in part because some originators of adjustable-rate loans evaluated borrower repayment capacity using artificially low rates, called “teaser rates.”
Fannie & Freddie:
Enterprise-acquired mortgages were predominantly fixed-rate loans. Such loans comprised 88 percent of all Enterprise-acquired mortgages originated between 2001 and 2008 and ranged from 79 percent for 2004 originations to 96 percent for 2001 originations.
Mortgages financed with private-label MBS were predominantly adjustable-rate loans. Such loans comprised 70 percent of mortgages financed with private-label MBS originated between 2001 and 2008 and ranged from 53 percent of 2008 originations to 75 percent of 2004 originations.
This data release measures performance as the percentage of loans in a given origination-year (as measured by their principal balance at origination) that have ever become 90-days delinquent, entered foreclosure processing, or entered real estate owned (REO) status through December 2009. We call such loans ever 90-days delinquent.
Fannie & Freddie:
Roughly 5 percent of Enterprise-acquired fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) and 10 percent of Enterprise-acquired adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were ever 90-days delinquent at some point before the end of 2009.
In contrast, roughly 20 percent of FRMs financed with private- label MBS and 30 percent of ARMs financed with private-label MBS were ever 90-days delinquent at some point before year- end 2009. The relatively worse performance of private-label MBS-financed mortgages was consistent across origination years and, within each year, across nearly all groups of loans with similar LTV ratios and FICO scores.
Although higher FICO scores and lower LTV ratios are correlated with lower 90-day delinquency rates within an origination-year, that correlation varies significantly across origination years. Delinquency rates of all mortgages deteriorate over time from the 2003 through the 2007 origination years. That deterioration is worse for ARMs and for loans that combine low FICO scores and high LTV ratios.