261 research outputs found

    Federal Home Loan Bank mortgage purchases: Implications for mortgage markets

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    The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) System is a government-sponsored enterprise created by Congress to support residential housing finance. Historically, the twelve regional wholesale banks that constitute the FHLB System have pursued this goal by making loans to their depository institution members secured by residential mortgage loans. In 1997, however, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago began purchasing pools of conforming mortgages under its Mortgage Partnership Finance Program. Today, nine FHLBs offer this program, and the remaining three offer their own Mortgage Purchase Programs. ; The FHLB mortgage programs represent a small but growing part of the secondary conforming mortgage market, which has traditionally been dominated by the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). This article examines the various FHLB mortgage programs offered, analyzes the evolving competitive environment in the secondary conforming mortgage market, and identifies implications for this market. ; Consumers could ultimately benefit from lower mortgage costs because of a lower cost of guaranteeing mortgage credit, the author contends, but the savings per borrower would likely be small. He also notes that increased competition may reduce the franchise value of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in turn possibly increasing risk-taking incentives for these firms. The author concludes that the evolution of this competitive landscape bears close attention as it could have important implications for mortgage markets.Federal home loan banks ; Mortgage loans

    The 2008 federal intervention to stabilize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

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    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises that play a central role in U.S. residential mortgage markets. In recent years, policymakers became increasingly concerned about the size and risk-taking incentives of these two institutions. In September 2008, the federal government intervened to stabilize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in an effort to ensure the reliability of residential mortgage finance in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis. This paper describes the sources of financial distress at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, outlines the measures taken by the federal government, and presents some evidence about the effectiveness of these actions. Looking ahead, policymakers will need to consider the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as the appropriate scope of public sector activities in primary and secondary mortgage markets.Government-sponsored enterprises ; Mortgage loans

    Estimating the effect of mortgage foreclosures on nearby property values: a critical review of the literature

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    In response to the wave of residential mortgage foreclosures in the past few years, federal, state and local government intervention programs have aimed to reduce the presumed social costs of foreclosures. Before the recent crisis, there was little economic research documenting foreclosure spillover effects. ; This article takes a critical look at the recent literature that seeks to estimate the negative effects of residential mortgage foreclosures. This review suggests that foreclosed properties sell at a discount, likely because such properties are in worse condition than surrounding properties. What's more, very nearby foreclosures appear to depress the sales prices of nondistressed properties, but this effect diminishes rapidly over physical distance and time ; The author suggests that the considerable variation in foreclosure discount and spillover estimates that occurs from study to study may be related to data limitations (specific places and times) and poorly specified empirical models in some studies. He notes that studies using a repeat-sales approach seem to hold greater promise than those using hedonic regressions; the former approach is more likely to hold property and neighborhood characteristics constant and make it easier to examine multiple geographies and longer time periods.

    Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's voluntary initiatives: Lessons from banking

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    The federal government has an interest in the financial stability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because of their importance to financial markets and the government's implicit guarantee of their liabilities. ; In October 2000 these two housing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) announced six voluntary initiatives. One initiative would enhance market discipline by having the GSEs issue subordinated debt. A second would boost liquidity by having the GSEs maintain a liquid securities portfolio. The other four initiatives would increase transparency by having the GSEs disclose their credit and interest rate losses under certain scenarios, obtain a credit rating for the government's exposure to loss, and disclose whether the GSEs comply with certain capital adequacy standards. ; This article evaluates the initiatives from the perspective of current banking standards. The analysis suggests that the initiatives are beneficial but could be made more effective. The authors point out that the contribution of the subordinated debt initiative depends largely on whether investors believe the implicit guarantee extends to subordinated debtholders. The need for the liquidity initiative has not been established, the authors conclude, and can be criticized as allowing the GSEs to earn a credit spread. The most important of the disclosure initiatives, the one for interest rate risk, will provide some new information but could be more informative if it summarized a wider set of interest rate scenarios.Government-sponsored enterprises ; Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ; Federal National Mortgage Association ; Federal home loan banks

    Financing housing through government-sponsored enterprises

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    Three government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)-Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Bank System-were created to improve the availability of home mortgage financing by supplementing local funding. But today's more evolved financial markets enable retail lenders to tap national markets. Thus, the main contribution of the three housing GSEs has become providing homebuyers an interest rate subsidy that is made possible by the GSEs' special relationship with the federal government. ; This article examines the economic issues arising from the provision of such subsidies via the housing GSEs. The authors first review the benefits and costs of subsidizing housing finance and then provide background information about the housing GSEs and their relationship to the federal government. The GSEs' importance to the financial markets, coupled with their special relationship with the government, raises concerns about the potential for moral hazard and the problems that would arise if a housing GSE became financially distressed or insolvent. ; The discussion then focuses on two public policy debates that have been sparked by this special relationship. The first is whether the housing GSEs are efficient mechanisms for subsidizing housing. The second relates to the housing GSEs' safety and soundness and questions whether implicit guarantees of their liabilities are the best way to subsidize them.Government-sponsored enterprises ; Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ; Federal National Mortgage Association ; Federal home loan banks

    Fussing and fuming over Fannie and Freddie: how much smoke, how much fire?

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    The roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have become increasingly controversial in the modern world of residential mortgage finance. The authors describe the special features of these two companies and their roles in the mortgage markets and then discuss the controversies that surround the companies and offer recommendations for improvements in public policy.

    Small business credit scoring and credit availability

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    U.S. commercial banks are increasingly using credit scoring models to underwrite small business credits. This paper discusses this technology, evaluates the research findings on the effects of this technology on small business credit availability, and links these findings to a number of research and public policy issues.

    Technological change, financial innovation, and diffusion in banking

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    This paper discusses the technological change and financial innovation that commercial banking has experienced during the past twenty-five years. The paper first describes the role of the financial system in economies and how technological change and financial innovation can improve social welfare. We then survey the literature relating to several specific financial innovations, which we define as new products or services, production processes, or organizational forms. We find that the past quarter century has been a period of substantial change in terms of banking products, services, and production technologies. Moreover, while much effort has been devoted to understanding the characteristics of users and adopters of financial innovations and the attendant welfare implications, we still know little about how and why financial innovations are initially developed.Technological innovations

    Empirical studies of financial innovation: lots of talk, little action?

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    This paper reviews the extant empirical studies of financial innovation. Adopting broad criteria, the authors found just two dozen studies, over half of which (fourteen) had been conducted since 2000. Since some financial innovations are examined by more than one study, only fourteen distinct phenomena have been covered. Especially striking is the fact that only two studies are directed at the hypotheses advanced in many broad descriptive articles concerning the environmental conditions (e.g., regulation, taxes, unstable macroeconomic conditions, and ripe technologies) spurring financial innovation. The authors offer some tentative conjectures as to why empirical studies of financial innovation are comparatively rare. Among their suggested culprits is an absence of accessible data. The authors urge financial regulators to undertake more surveys of financial innovation and to make the survey data more available to researchers.Financial modernization ; Banks and banking ; Patents ; Securities
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