Mortgage giant Freddie Mac announced the pricing of its fifth Freddie Mac Whole Loan Securities transaction, the first of 2017 and largest to date.

The transaction consists of about $640 million of guaranteed senior and non-guaranteed subordinate actual loss securities.

By shifting some of its credit risk from the underlying super-conforming mortgages to subordinate investors, WLS is an offering in Freddie Mac's single-family credit risk transfer program. WLS leverages the characteristics of traditional private label securities. To date, the company issued about $2.4 billion in WLS.

Freddie Mac first began offering this credit risk sharing method in November of 2015.

“We are pleased with the interest in our first WLS transaction of 2017, the largest WLS deal to date,” said Mike Reynolds, vice president of Freddie Mac Credit Risk Transfer. “Our work to educate investors about this asset class is ongoing and we look forward to continued strong investor interest in WLS.”

Barclays Capital and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are co-lead managers and joint bookrunners in the offering that is expected to settle later this month.

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