Written by Darren Stumberger, as originally published in The Reverse Review.

In April, HREMIC deal issuance was $544 million, slightly higher than March’s total of $518 million. Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Knight Capital brought deals of $446 million and $98 million respectively. More than $2 billion in HREMIC issuance has been brought to market by securities firms in 2013, and I would expect continued robust issuance given the move to LIBOR Standard.

Deal execution has kept spreads for HMBS well bid, with originators hedging their pipelines with June settlement bonds. Current levels for fixed-rate Standard HMBS are roughly 57 to swaps for new production, mid-50s to swaps for four- to five-year average life secondary paper, high 30s to swaps for three- to four-year paper, low to mid-20s to swaps for two- to three-year paper, and low- to mid-teens to swaps for less than two-year average life HMBS. Floating Standard has been trading in the low 40s discount margin for March settle.

As much as I’d like to say all the activity is on the secondary side, happenings in D.C. dominate the news and none of it is good. The industry is working around the clock to try to get the suspension bill passed to allow the FHA the authority to implement much-needed risk measures. But even if this does pass, the industry has its work cut out for it to ensure the long-term viability of the program with folks on the Hill. As it is, the market size measured by volume will

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be down 30 to 40 percent at origination due to the elimination of the fixed Standard and UPBs being that much less. Financial assessment, once released, will shave another percentage off of that.

The true sale accounting issue is still not resolved and its resolution remains very uncertain. There’s talk about another interest rate floor reduction and a change in the cap structure for ARM loans. Lastly, there’s the expectation that loan limits will be reduced from their current levels to 417,000. An increase in penetration rates and a rebirth of private label reverses are two things that have to happen in the very near term.