Our Real Estate Blog

Here Come the Bank Buybacks

November 9th, 2010 11:38 PM by Lehel S.

this post is from someplace else but I thought it warrants to be reposted here.............

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is starting to get really serious about all of the mortgage delinquencies which are taking place across the country.

For those of you who may have never heard of the FHFA before, it is the Federal entity which oversees and regulates the mortgage behemoths known as Fannie Mae (add acronym) and Freddie Mac. The tally for delinquent mortgages is rising by the millions and FHFA is looking to offload its losses onto the financial institutions that sold them to Fannie and Freddie. Now, they have enlisted the services of some high powered attorneys to assist with the process.

For example, FHFA recently retained the firm of Quinn Emanuel (QE) to jump start its investigations. Using its expertise in business and banking litigations, QE has already subpoenaed JP Morgan Chase and has put Bank of America on notice for $47 billion dollars in poorly serviced loans. This investigation is broad ranging, as the FHFA is not solely pursuing institutions that sold mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but also private label financiers who eventually packaged and sold mortgage backed securities to investors on Wall Street. As it stands today, banks and mortgage companies could be forced to buyback over $179 billion in soured mortgage products. To date, Fannie and Freddie have forced banks to repurchase over $6 billion in mortgages, and an additional $16 billion will be forced back on the banks in the next 12 months. During the boom years of 2006 and 2007, Fannie/Freddie purchased over $200 billion in subprime loans, of which the majority have gone sour. The FHFA is seeking to force repurchases on these mortgages too.
As one could assume, the banks don’t want to buy back any mortgages. Accordingly, they are pushing back on FHFA/FHMLC/FNMA’s buyback requests with fervor. Bank of America’s chief has gone on record stating that “we will diligently fight this.” Others have retained the best attorneys that money can buy to defend them tooth and nail. The unfortunate issue is that many of the buyback requests are legitimate. As a whole, the majority of these banks signed representations and warranties affirming that if any fraudulent documentation or faulty underwriting can be found in their files, the bank agrees to buy the loans back. Banks look forward to earning NII (net interest income) and not losing due to NIE (net interest expense). As repurchases mount, banks have to raise their loan loss provision, which accordingly drives down their stock price. This also leads to a need for additional capital. If the capital can’t be raised, a bank can fold.
Indeed, the scariest part is how buybacks travel through the mortgage food chain. Just as many banks signed repurchase agreements with representations and warranties regarding the buyback of loans with fraudulent documentation, mortgage brokers, bankers and other forms of ‘direct lenders’ signed them as well. Accordingly, if Bank of America, Chase, Wells, or Citi is forced to buyback mortgages, they may seek their own remedies by forcing buybacks onto mortgage brokers, banks and direct lenders who originated the loans. I haven’t personally experienced this myself, but I know mortgage brokers who were forced to buyback mortgages or go bankrupt. I don’t know many people with an average of $350,000 lying around (per loan) to reimburse a lender.
As this mortgage mess continues to snowball, I see the buyback issue getting bigger while sucking in more people involved in the mortgage origination process. Ultimately, it may take us years to recover as Fannie and Freddie struggle to repay the American taxpayer the $148 billion that was borrowed to keep both entities afloat by pushing bad loans back down on the banks that originated them in the first place. As the loss provisions rise and the stock prices fall, more banks will push their junk onto mortgage bankers, brokers, and other direct lenders by enforcing their own representations and warranties. The smallest of these guys will file BK, Fannie and Freddie will continue to be propped up on the back of the tax payer, while banks will suffer losses and in many cases closes their doors. Oh, what a mess one weaves when they originate a fraudulent loan in order to deceive!
Posted in:General
Posted by Lehel S. on November 9th, 2010 11:38 PM



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