Freddie Mac continues to sell off its riskier mortgages in an effort to reduce taxpayer exposure.
This week, the government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) announced a “$199 million pilot structured sale of seasoned loans” that it currently guarantees and holds in its portfolio. This is reportedly the first loan sale of its type undertaken by Freddie Mac.
The collateral comprises option adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) and loans that were originated as option ARMs but have since been modified pursuant to a Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) modification or proprietary modification.
An option ARM, also known as a “pick-a-pay” mortgage, is a monthly adjustable-rate mortgage tied to one of the major mortgage indexes, including the LIBOR, MTA or COFI, that lets a borrower pay off his balance using four payment options, including a 15-year term payment (principal and interest); 30-year term payment (principal and interest); interest-only payment (usually available first 10 years); or minimum monthly payment (negative amortization payment).
The majority of the loans – all of which are currently serviced by JP Morgan Chase Bank – are less than six months current or are moderately delinquent, Freddie Mac says. The company’s release does not say what vintages the loans are.
The sale of these loans is subject to certain requirements and will be handled in two steps. First, there will be a competitive bidding process, subject to a securitization term sheet. The sale will be executed on the basis of economics, subject to meeting Freddie Mac’s internal reserve levels.
Second, the purchaser of the loans will, upon completion of collateral due diligence, securitize the loans. Freddie Mac will guarantee and purchase the senior tranches of the securitization. The GSE may retain or sell the guaranteed senior tranches. The first-loss subordinate tranche will be initially retained by the loan purchaser.
To date, Freddie Mac has sold approximately $24 billion in guaranteed re-performing loans and about $4.3 billion in nonperforming loans to investors in an effort to reduce taxpayer risk. In general, investors purchasing these loans are required to contract with servicers that have substantial experience managing “high-risk” loans, as well as substantial experience in securitizations.