Commercial Real Estate, Capital, Insurance, Leasing & Management

Fannie, Freddie Plan Ahead For Privatization

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Ryan Haase, Director of Capital Markets, discusses ongoing changes with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Excerpted from story.

As Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac move toward privatization, Jeff Lee, president of Capital One Multifamily Finance, believes they will have to make some important decisions.

Specifically, they will need to balance pure economic returns versus mission-driven business. “There could be more of a focus on return metrics to ensure they could provide an adequate return on capital in the event of privatization,” Lee says.
Both Fannie and Freddie are taking steps to fortify their balance sheets at the direction of their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, according to Brian Stoffers, global president of debt structured finance for capital markets at CBRE.

“The GSEs have credit risk transfer protocols in place now for multifamily lending [Delegated Underwriting and Servicing loss sharing for FNMA and K series risk transfers for Freddie],” Stoffers says. “I think those models are being very well received by the FHFA. In fact, there’s some talk of creating more credit risk transfer on the single-family side of the business.”

If those models work, it could speed the path to privatization. “Mark Calabria [director of the FHFA] has said that he would like to see this [privatization] largely implemented by 2024 and we have every hope that it could happen if they continue to recapitalize with retained earnings,” Stoffers says.

If privatization does occur and there are no government guarantees backing Fannie and Freddie, Ryan M. Haase, director of Capital Markets for Franklin Street, says bonds should trade wider. That, in turn would make the GSE’s cost of capital higher, which would result in higher rates to the borrower and consumer and effectively level the multifamily lending playing field.

“With less governmental oversight, the GSEs will have more flexibility to go into alternative and adjacent lending spaces where they might create more production and efficiencies, thus resembling a more typical CRE lending institution,” Haase says. “Their mandate is to improve housing affordability, but it will be interesting to see how privatization affects the importance of the bottom line.”

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