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Tozer: Ginnie Mae backs nearly all FHA, VA mortgages

The head of Ginnie Mae said the government corporation has increased its role in the mortgage market since the housing bust, backing virtually every new loan guaranteed or insured by the major federal housing authorities.

Ted Tozer, Ginnie's president, said the corporation guarantees 99% of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs and the Department of Agriculture. That's compared with roughly 90% before the crisis, he said.

Ginnie reported record profits of about $1.2 billion in 2011, a level Tozer reiterated Wednesday, while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hemorrhaged money. Nearly 60% of all home purchases in the fiscal year are secured by Ginnie Mae.

Tozer said Ginnie's mortgage-backed securities are in high demand from investors, which include major governments and money managers.

"It's enabled low-cost financing for borrowers," Tozer said during a speech at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual servicing conference. "Ginnie Mae securities are trading at a premium to Freddie's and Fannie's."

Ginnie's securities largely are not part of the Federal Reserve MBS purchase program, Tozer said, though he said the central bank bought some to balance out its portfolio.

Tozer said Ginnie will "substantially increase" its staffing levels in 2012 as it moves onto its own budget as it gains more autonomy from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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