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Corker-Warner bill likely to be scrubbed

Current first-loss position for private capital viewed as too high

September 17, 2013

The Corker-Warner GSE Reform bill is unlikely to stay in its current form as it moves through Congress. But then again, it’s unknown how far it will go before the year ends, considering the plethora of issues now facing lawmakers -- from the debt ceiling to the federal budget.

So what is subject to change in Corker-Warner?  

Analysts claim Corker-Warner is unlikely to gain traction in its current form since it contains a proposal that forces private capital to take on at least 10% of the first-loss position when dealing with mortgage securitizations after GSE reform is enacted, Isaac Boltansky, an analyst with Compass Point Research & Trading pointed out.

Lawmakers on the Hill also assume changes will be made to Corker-Warner – one of the larger pieces of housing reform legislation introduced this year.   

Compass Point analysts attended a housing policy forum hosted by CQ and the National Association of Home Builders on Tuesday.

Lawmakers in attendance included Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. – the Corker-Warner bill’s co-author – along with Sen. Tester, D.-MT, and Sen. Isakson, R-Ga.

While Compass Point noted Corker’s preference for keeping the 10% threshold in the GSE reform bill, Sen. Tester seemed okay with reducing the mandate. He’s quoted as saying, “I think the 10% number is something we can sit down and debate.”

After listening to the discussion, Compass Point suggested that the 10% threshold for the first-loss position is likely to be reduced.

What’s not likely to happen this year is the confirmation of Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

When asked about the nomination, Compass Point says Sen. Tester dodged the question, Sen. Corker said he would not support the nomination without changes to the position’s design and Sen. Isakson described the nomination as uncertain.

After listening to the Senators, Compass Point concluded that Rep. Watt has a 1 in 3 chance of being confirmed FHFA director.

Based on the current pace of Congress and what's facing today's crop of GSE reformers, those odds sound about right.

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