Fed May Expand TALF Terms

The Federal Reserve may soon make 5-year loans available to commercial mortgage-backed security investors under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), in an effort to stimulate the real estate market. At least one ratings firm, however, has raised concern lately over a deteriorating CMBS market. The program currently offers shorter-term 3-year loans so investors can purchase securities backed by car, credit card and other consumer debt. An announcement regarding the expanded loan offering might come sometime today, unnamed sources told the Wall Street Journal. Officials told the Journal these five-year commitments might make withdrawing money from the financial system difficult for the central bank in coming years, so the Fed has considered ways to offer longer-term loans that become less appealing late in their life cycles. The CMBS market itself seems to have grown less appealing in recent weeks, according to Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, which warned in early April of a coming slide in CMBS, as the economic recession appears set to take a bite out of one of the few remaining real estate asset classes to survive much of the turmoil in financial markets worldwide.  “Since September/October 2008, Standard & Poor’s has witnessed significant deterioration in the credit performance of the CMBS transactions it rates,” said credit analyst James Manzi. “The economic recession combined with the absence of readily accessible financing in the capital markets has, in our opinion, skewed the credit risks related to the performance of CMBS sharply to the downside, and in excess of what we expected at origination or in our prior scenario analysis.” Write to Diana Golobay at [email protected].

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