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Investors Ask Fed for $1.4bn of TALF Loans to Buy Legacy CMBS

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The Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Wednesday received requests for $1.45bn of government loans to buy securities backed by commercial mortgages. The requests arrived through the Federal Reserve's Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) for new and existing - or "legacy" - commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS). The Fed initiated the TALF program to stimulate lending by allowing private investors to purchase securities with a matching government investment. The reach of the program into legacy CMBS aimed to aid price discovery and provide liquidity for the commercial mortgage market, which faces a credit crisis of its own. Wednesday's subscription date brought requests under the legacy branch of the CMBS TALF. The facility for newly issued CMBS remained quiet this month, indicating the market for new issuance remains slow. The Fed previously received requests for nearly $72.25m of loans for new CMBS in November. In addition to the slow-down on the new issue side, requests under the CMBS TALF for legacy securities also appear to be in decline in recent months, with only $1.3bn of requests for legacy CMBS - and only $1.28bn of those requests settled - for the Dec. 14, 2009 subscription date. The Fed also received requests for $1.4bn - and settled $1.3bn of loans - in November. This compares with $2.1bn of requests and $1.9bn of loans settled in October. The most recent subscription, which is expected to close January 28th, offered two loan types: a fixed 3-year loan at nearly 2.8%, which matures on Jan. 28, 2013, and  a fixed 5-year loan at 3.7%, which matures on Jan. 28, 2015. The subscription closed within hours of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) chairman Sheila Bair, in comments delivered at the Commercial Mortgage Securities Association’s (CMSA) annual conference, emphasizing the need to revive the commercial real estate and CMBS markets. Key among the first steps to a once again vibrant CMBS market is restoring investor confidence in CMBS and the broader banking system. "I believe it is appropriate to set high qualitative standards for insured institutions, given their federal backing through insured deposits," Bair said. "And if investors respond by being more willing to invest in securities backed bank-originated loans, it is win-win for everyone.” Write to Diana Golobay.

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