JPMorgan Chase To Raise Mortgage Borrowing Standards As Economic Outlook Darkens

So much for The Fed’s attempts to lower rates and stimulate borrowing.

JP Morgan Chase is running away from the storm .. sort of.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), the country’s largest lender by assets, is raising borrowing standards this week for most new home loans as the bank moves to mitigate lending risk stemming from the novel coronavirus disruption.

From Tuesday, customers applying for a new mortgage will need a credit score of at least 700, and will be required to make a down payment equal to 20% of the home’s value.

In other words, JP Morgan Chase is returning to good, old-fashioned lending standards … at least for the moment while jobless claims skyrocket.

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JP Morgan Chase’s mortgage origination

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Of course, JPMC can always originate a conforming mortgage that can be sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I assume that their new underwriting standards apply to loans held in portfolio..

Speaking of darkening economic outlook …

This is beginning to look like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the last men standing.

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Federal Reserve To Provide Up To $2.3 Trillion In Loans To Support The Economy (Fed Seizes Control of Entire U.S. Bond Market)

The Fed Seizes Control of Entire U.S. Bond Market!

The Federal Reserve on Thursday took additional actions to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy.This funding will assist households and employers of all sizes and bolster the ability of state and local governments to deliver critical services during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our country’s highest priority must be to address this public health crisis, providing care for the ill and limiting the further spread of the virus,” said Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell. “The Fed’s role is to provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity, and our actions today will help ensure that the eventual recovery is as vigorous as possible.”

The Federal Reserve’s role is guided by its mandate from Congress to promote maximum employment and stable prices, along with its responsibilities to promote the stability of the financial system. In support of these goals, the Federal Reserve is using its full range of authorities to provide powerful support for the flow of credit in the economy.

The actions the Federal Reserve is taking today to support employers of all sizes and communities across the country will:

  • Bolster the effectiveness of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by supplying liquidity to participating financial institutions through term financing backed by PPP loans to small businesses. The PPP provides loans to small businesses so that they can keep their workers on the payroll. The Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility (PPPLF) will extend credit to eligible financial institutions that originate PPP loans, taking the loans as collateral at face value;
  • Ensure credit flows to small and mid-sized businesses with the purchase of up to $600 billion in loans through the Main Street Lending Program. The Department of the Treasury, using funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) will provide $75 billion in equity to the facility;
  • Increase the flow of credit to households and businesses through capital markets, by expanding the size and scope of the Primary and Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facilities (PMCCF and SMCCF) as well as the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF). These three programs will now support up to $850 billion in credit backed by $85 billion in credit protection provided by the Treasury; and
  • Help state and local governments manage cash flow stresses caused by the coronavirus pandemic by establishing a Municipal Liquidity Facility that will offer up to $500 billion in lending to states and municipalities. The Treasury will provide $35 billion of credit protection to the Federal Reserve for the Municipal Liquidity Facility using funds appropriated by the CARES Act.

In addition, on April 9, 2020, the Federal Reserve announced additional measures to support the economy amounting to as much as $2.3 trillion in liquidity. Among their actions, the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) will now include legacy commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) as eligible collateral. Eligible CMBS securities must have been issued prior to March 23, 2020, while securities related to other asset classes are only eligible if they were issued after this date.

TALF Specifics for CRE

The TALF term sheet specifies the following for the commercial and multifamily real estate loan/securities markets:
The underlying credit exposures for CMBS must be to real property located in the United States or one of its territories;
CMBS securities related to single-asset single-borrower (SASB) and commercial real estate collateralized loan obligations (CRE CLOs) are not eligible at this time.

TALF provides three-year loans to investors of CMBS and other eligible collateral. Haircuts and other terms can be found on the Fed’s website.

Mortgage REITs were pleased by the news!!

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But remember the old proverb, “There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip.” Or “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

 

 

Tumble! Mortgage Purchase Applications Drop 33% YoY As Economic Shutdown Continues

According to the latest survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the Refinance Index decreased 19 percent from the previous week and was 144 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 12 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 12 percent compared with the previous week and was 33 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

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Yes, 33% lower than the same week a year ago.

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And this was in spite of the historic drenching of the market by The Fed with liquidity and trillions in economic something by Congress.

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And nearly a third of U.S. apartment renters didn’t pay April rent.

This was a tumble!

Is Redwood Deadwood? Jumbo Mortgage REIT Redwood Got Clear-cut

Times are tough for non-GSE firms like Redwood, one of the leading jumbo mortgage companies. Redwood Trust, a REIT, has fallen from around $18 per share in March to just $3.08 today.

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Of course, plunging EPS is the primary culprit (loan payment delays, forbearance) are on the rise with growth in US job loss.

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A YoY earnings growth rate of -33.3% is devastating.

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Redwood is joined by other niche financial companies in hovering around less than $10 per share.

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Lumberjacks ready for some more clear-cutting?

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Mortgage REITs Collapse By More Than 50% Before Slight Rally

Mortgage Real Estate Investment Trusts (MREITs) got clobbered starting February 20th and declined by over 50% before a small rally after the Fed/Congressional bailouts.

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Year-to-date, mortgage REITs are down over 50%.

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The Fidelity and Vanguard bond indices didn’t plunge as far and had a better rebound effect after the bailouts.

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Equity REITs had a plunge and rebound similar to the Dow.

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Mr. Freeze is still around for mortgage REITs.

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The Fed’s Bigger Boat! Is The Fed’s Cure Worse Than the Covid-19 Virus?

Apparently, The Federal Reserve and US Treasury think they need a bigger boat!

(Bloomberg) — The economic debate of the day centers on whether the cure of an economic shutdown is worse than the disease of the virus.  Similarly, we need to ask if the cure of the Federal Reserve getting so deeply into corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, commercial paper, and exchange-traded funds is worse than the disease seizing financial markets. 

In just these past few weeks, the Fed has cut rates by 150 basis points to near zero and run through its entire 2008 crisis handbook. That wasn’t enough to calm markets, though — so the central bank also announced $1 trillion a day in repurchase agreements and unlimited quantitative easing, which includes a hard-to-understand $625 billion of bond buying a week going forward. At this rate, the Fed will own two-thirds of the Treasury market in a year.

But it’s the alphabet soup of new programs that deserve special consideration, as they could have profound long-term consequences for the functioning of the Fed and the allocation of capital in financial markets. Specifically, these are:

CPFF (Commercial Paper Funding Facility) – buying commercial paper from the issuer.

PMCCF (Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility) – buying corporate bonds from the issuer.

TALF (Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility) – funding backstop for asset-backed securities.

SMCCF (Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility) – buying corporate bonds and bond ETFs in the secondary market.

MSBLP (Main Street Business Lending Program) – Details are to come, but it will lend to eligible small and medium-size businesses, complementing efforts by the Small Business Association.

To put it bluntly, the Fed isn’t allowed to do any of this. The central bank is only allowed to purchase or lend against securities that have government guarantee. This includes Treasury securities, agency mortgage-backed securities and the debt issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. An argument can be made that can also include municipal securities, but nothing in the laundry list above.

So how can they do this? The Fed will finance a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for each acronym to conduct these operations. The Treasury, using the Exchange Stabilization Fund, will make an equity investment in each SPV and be in a “first loss” position.

What does this mean? In essence, the Treasury, not the Fed, is buying all these securities and backstopping of loans; the Fed is acting as banker and providing financing. The Fed hired BlackRock Inc. to purchase these securities and handle the administration of the SPVs on behalf of the owner, the Treasury.

In other words, the federal government is nationalizing large swaths of the financial markets. The Fed is providing the money to do it. BlackRock will be doing the trades.

Here is part of the mayhem The Fed/Treasury are trying to mitigate. The CitiMortgage Alternative Loan Trust 2007-A4 asset-backed security.

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Yes, the US Treasury curve is now below 0.75% from 10 years in, including negative yields on most Treasury bills.

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The US Treasury actives curve and On/off the run curves are under 1% at 15 years and in.

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Welcome to Amity Island, in a shutdown over the Corona-19 virus.

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Mr Freeze! U.S. Mortgage Rates Slip While Home Sales Head for Deep Freeze (Unemployment Claims Hit All-time High!)

Deep freeze?

(Bloomberg) — U.S. mortgage rates fell for the first time in three weeks. But for would-be homebuyers frozen in fear of an economic meltdown, borrowing costs are no longer a prime concern.

The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan was 3.5%, down from 3.65% last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday.

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Unemployment claims jumped today to the highest ever.

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Pennsylvania and Ohio lead the nation in unemployment (jobless) claims.

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Did someone say Deep Freeze?

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$423 Billion Distressed-Debt Deluge in March Doubles Lehman Wave (Hair Of The Dog!)

We are back to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, but this time the virus is not due to the banking system.

(Bloomberg) — Distressed debt supply has surged $234 billion to $559 billion in just the past week, escalating this month’s jump to $423 billion and setting a pace that would nearly double the $215 billion record for a single month set in October 2008. If the total ends the month at these levels, it would be the biggest-ever increase in the par amount of debt in the ICE BofAML US Distressed Index.

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Energy isn’t solely driving the distressed ratio (44.5%) higher anymore as all sectors now have double-digit distressed ratios.

Commercial and industrial (C&I) lending is approaching zero growth as of February.

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Fortunately for America, The Federal Reserve is on call!

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Thanks to Jesse at Jesse’s Cafe Americain!

Mortgage Apps Crash Most Since 2009 (Covid-19 Lockdown Edition)

(Bloomberg) — U.S. loan applications for buying and refinancing homes plunged last week by the most since the global financial crisis, amid coronavirus shutdowns and related financial turmoil that pushed borrowing costs higher.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of applications fell 29.4% in the week ended March 20, the biggest decline since early 2009. Home-purchase applications dropped by 14.6% while refinancing applications plummeted 33.8%.

The average contract rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage increased 8 basis points to a two-month high of 3.82%, despite the Federal Reserve cutting the benchmark interest rate to near zero.

The decline in applications is an early sign suggesting home sales will slow and that refinancings are coming off a spike. That follows other data indicating a precipitous dropoff in business activity this month as stores and schools shutter to prevent the spread of the virus.

Yes, MBA mortgage applications fell the most since 2009 and the financial crisis.

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Mortgage rates actually rose last week (yellow line) but will likely decline this week.

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The biggest decline came in mortgage refinancing applications, down 33% WoW.

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Mortgage purchase applications dropped 14.64% WoW.

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Mortgage Bonds Rattle Wall Street Anew With Invesco Joining Pain (Fannie Spread To Gov’t SOARS)

Margin calls, the focus of books and movies like Margin Call, The Big Short, etc., during the financial crisis, are back!!

(Bloomberg) — The $16 trillion U.S. mortgage market — epicenter of the last global financial crisis — is suddenly experiencing its worst turmoil in more than a decade, setting off alarms across the financial industry and prompting the Federal Reserve to intervene.

Unlike last time, risky mortgages aren’t the cause. Instead, the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to make good loans go bad — and simultaneously sapping the market’s funding. There are fears that government efforts to shore up borrowers and financing won’t be enough and that mortgage and property investors again face massive losses.

Measures to slow the spread of the deadly disease are slamming the brakes on commerce, threatening to prevent companies from making payments on their leases and commercial mortgages. Companies are also firing employees, who won’t be able to keep up on their own rents and home loans. Mortgage industry veterans warn of a cascade of defaults.

At the same time, holders of mortgage-backed securities are fielding redemption requests from clients, margin calls from jittery counterparties and drops in their valuations, forcing the funds to solicit offers on billions in assets in emergency sales over the weekend. The pain continued Tuesday with Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc., a real estate investment trust that invests in mortgage-backed securities, also saying it’s no longer able to fund margin calls. If forced sales accelerate, bond prices could fall and put pressure on other investors to mark down or sell their holdings too.

Yes, Invesco Mortgage Capital is getting slaughtered, plunging from $18 on February 20th to $2.64 today.

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The Fannie Mae to Gov’t 10 year has exploded indicating a troubled mortgage market.

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Margin calls … they’re ba-ack!

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