MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 7/15/22

Where are Capital Markets people focused other than on rates and bond market volatility? As if managing margins in this environment wasn’t enough, lenders are trying to stay ahead of the curve in terms of cost cutting while keeping origination volume flowing to remain profitable. Let’s look at several items that are top of mind for MCT’s clients.

Anybody who’s been in this business for any length of time has seen cycles come and go, but we are in one of the most dramatic cycles in recent memory. It’s hard, if you’re a lender, to sit there and think, “Oh, you know, we’re coming up on a recession and a recession typically means lower long-term rates.” Some companies don’t have the luxury of waiting out the current rate environment until the recession hits. And even if one does, it may be shallow and not have a huge impact on mortgage rates. What lenders are having to do is continue to cut costs, which unfortunately includes laying people off.

It’s hard to cut costs fast enough in this environment. Adding personnel or decreasing personnel is a cost in itself: finding and hiring talented individuals, training them, and then unfortunately, having to lay a portion of them off.

Thus, lenders continue to look to technology as ways of leveraging their current workforce. Earlier this week, loanDepot came out with a plan for staying alive, and it was viewed by many as drastic. “LD” will be undergoing a series of cutbacks. But loanDepot is no different than many other lenders who are having to deal with this environment that don’t have to publicly announce their plans. It’s just cut, cut, cut, and try to become as efficient as possible. Hopefully, using technology (like we provide here at MCT), many of these lenders can scale up and scale down successfully.

In terms of industry-wide trends and execution avenues, private label securitization (PLS) was “all the rage” last year and the center of discussion about possibilities and revenue enhancements. But PLS has diminished in 2022 to the point that June saw the lowest issuance in a couple of years. The recent demise of First Guaranty Mortgage and Sprout “spooked the herd” and has caused renewed scrutiny of counter-party risk in the secondary markets.

At the company level, lenders who have not reserved enough capital, or those that do not possess sufficient capital reserves, are being scrutinized by warehouse banks, broker dealers, and correspondent investors. Those entities are contractually required to see counter-party (client) retained earnings and income. And whether a lender is publicly held or privately held, revenue has been up and down this year because of the market and because of the volatility.

MCT is also seeing a lot of attention being paid to the best efforts versus mandatory spread volatility, a big hurdle especially for smaller companies.

The market is one thing, but companies continue to try to roll out new products or additional products to try to help every borrower that they can. Products such as renovation, down payment assistance programs (DPAs), community land trusts, housing finance authorities (aka, bond programs), non-Agency/non-QM, and manufactured housing are all being given a good, hard look by nearly every lender. Private investors, usually in the form of depositories, are being sought as a fresh outlet for loan products.

Most of these products are not being hedged by Capital Market staff, as the risk profile can be difficult to gauge. Instead, the risk of the rate locks with these products (typically non-Agency) is passed on to the ultimate investor. In the case of DPA programs and some of the bond programs, those may or may not be included in the hedged pipeline.

The non-QM, non-Agency (such as jumbo), and ARM products tend to be sold on a best-efforts basis directly to either portfolio investors or the non-QM passthrough companies who in turn will have a takeout on the other side with a pension fund or insurance company or somebody who’s interested in non-QM programs. Lenders will try to pass the risk of these on to try to lock in the original margin and then pass the hedging risk onto the end investor and therefore limit the lender’s risk.

Finally, on the agency side of things, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to have a focus on first-time home buyers, affordable housing, and less of a focus on non-owner and second home lending. Generally speaking, the fees from non-owner and second home lending are used partially to subsidize the the other programs by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’ll continue to see agency changes going forward as we move through 2022.

This industry is always evolving, or at least changing. Capital Markets is usually at the center of any changes that occur, and with good reason: if there is no investor appetite for a given product, either within a portfolio or from an outside investor, the lender will not offer it. And in the current environment, investors are hungry for safe, increased yield and lenders are trying to satisfy that hunger.

10-Year Treasury Yield Curve

Compare this chart with the mortgage rates chart to see how the 10-year treasury and mortgage rates are correlated. Read more below to learn how mortgage rates are tied to the 10 year treasury yield. View raw data on U.S. Department of the Treasury website.


Mortgage Rates Today

The current MBS daily rates are shown below in this chart for 5/1 Yr ARM, Jumbo 30 Yr, FHA 30 Yr, 15 Yr Fixed, 30 Yr Fixed. Sign up for our MBS Market Commentary to receive daily mortgage news in your inbox.

About the Author

Robbie Chrisman, Head of Content, MCT

Robbie started his mortgage industry career with internships during high school and college at Peoples National Bank in Colorado, and RPM & Bay Equity in the San Francisco Bay Area. After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Finance in 2014, he went to work at SoFi, where he rose to Director, Capital Markets assisting in the creation of SoFi’s residential mortgage division before leaving to work for TMS in Austin, Texas. From there, he went to work for FinTech startup Riivos in San Francisco and now is the Head of Content at Mortgage Capital Trading (MCT) in San Diego.

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Previous Weekly Market Reviews by Mortgage Capital Trading (MCT)

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MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 3/31/23

The market reaction went a little “too far, too fast” in regard to the Fed policy pivot. We witnessed the coupon stack (i.e., the price spread between TBA coupons) decompress in more than a trivial manner in a short period. However, the primary mortgage market has been largely reluctant to follow the Treasury rally, and mortgage rates have ultimately not dropped by the same amount as Treasury yields.

MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 3/24/23

The FOMC raised its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to a new range of 4.75%-5.00% on Wednesday, a middle ground policy move made in the hope of tampering inflation without further harming the banking system. The raise marks the 9th consecutive rate hike since the Fed began hiking in May of last year and brings the target fed funds rate range to the highest level since September 2007. While the central bank’s monetary policy has been aimed at correcting inflation, it has also revealed hidden weaknesses (e.g., entities whose balance sheets relied on low interest rates).

MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 3/17/23

Next week will reveal the Fed’s resolve on continuing to beat the drum on their aggressive inflation fight. The word until now has been that the central bank will keep hiking interest rates until inflation is under control.

MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 3/10/23

Events this week likely will lead to a higher peak interest rate than investors had been expecting just weeks ago. Central bankers appear worried about a cycle in which workers seek higher pay to offset inflation’s bite, and in turn trigger more price increases. In fact, inflation remains high because people have jobs and earn enough income to cover stubbornly expensive housing costs. Robust hiring is good for the economy and workers, but elevated pay growth puts added pressure on the Fed to bring down earnings. 

MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 2/10/23

The week after the jobs report is generally pretty data-light, and this week was no exception. With a dearth of data, market movement hinged on “Fed speak” and consumer sentiment. We saw some volatility return to bond markets as investors built in expectations for a more hawkish Fed. As a reminder, the Fed raised its benchmark rate last week to a range of 4.5% to 4.75%. Let’s run through what we’ve learned in the wake of that decision and a robust U.S. payrolls report that took some wind out of investors’ sails that had hopes for rate cuts by summer.

MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 2/3/23

As strong as economists may have thought the job market was, it’s even stronger. In addition to headline non-farm payrolls in January (517,000) beating estimates by around 300,000, employment numbers were revised higher for the past two months. Yes, a tight labor market is anathema to any sort of quick stop to the Federal Reserve’s rate hiking cycle, but the growth rate in average hourly earnings is declining, which will be welcome news to Fed Chair Powell and his colleagues. There exists a raging debate among economists over whether we’ll need a sharp rise in unemployment to keep inflation low.