The Role of the National Housing Mortgage Finance Corporation

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  • Strengthening mortgage-backed securitizationin the Philippines: The role of the National HousingMortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC)

    Daisy S. Dulay and Marife M. Ballesteros

    Philippine Institutefor Development StudiesSurian sa mga Pag-aaralPangkaunlaran ng Pilipinas No. 2013-20 (December 2013)ISSN 1656-5266

    PIDS Policy Notes are observations/analyses written by PIDS researchers on certainpolicy issues. The treatise is holistic in approach and aims to provide useful inputs fordecisionmaking.

    The authors are, respectively, Vice-President for Operations and Securitization, Na-tional Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), and Senior Research Fellow,PIDS. This Note benefited from the comments of NHMFC President Dr. Felixberto U.Bustos. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflectthose of PIDS or NHMFC or any of the studys sponsors.

    Policy Notes

    ith stricter risk management for banks andfinancial institutions and the need to address thehousing gap of nearly three million units annually,strategies that will provide long-term funds andexpand home finance specifically to the low- andmoderate-income households are essential toensure the sustainability of housing finance. Onepotential option is to develop mortgage-backedsecuritization (MBS) to strengthen the privatesecurities market and the capital market. So far, thePhilippine mortgage loans-to-GDP ratio is onlyabout 10 percent, which is considered small basedon standards of existing mortgage systems. Inadvanced economies, housing mortgage depth isbetween 30 and 75 percent.

    This Policy Note discusses the role of the NationalHome Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) indeveloping securitization in the country. TheNHMFC is the major government corporationcreated to operate as a secondary mortgage

    institution but this mandate has not been fullyimplemented in the past 30 years as NHMFCoperations have been diverted to loan origination.With the approval of the Securitization Act of 2004and improvements in the financial sector,opportunities to engage in securitization haveopened up. The NHMFC has taken this opportunityto undertake securitization as a strategy to expandhome finance.

    Overview of NHMFCs historyThe NHMFC was created in 1977 by virtue ofPresidential Decree 1267 that gave it the mandateto develop and operate a secondary market forhome mortgages. This mandate was patterned afterthe United States (U.S.) Fannie Mae and FreddieMac that back then were considered the models forhome finance securitization. The NHMFC was

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    operating relatively well before 1984 in performingits mandate of buying home mortgages originatedby private financial institutions and eventuallyselling them to the public as Housing ParticipationCertificates.

    However, the financial crisis that hit the country in19841986 caused interest rates to shoot up from30 to 40 percent, making it impossible for theNHMFC to operate viably because housing loaninterest rates were fixed at nine percent. By the endof 1986, NHMFC and other government-controlledhousing finance institutions were given a freshmandate under Executive Order (EO) 90. EO 90provided for an integrated home finance programfor the middle- to low-income home buyers(members of the three pension funds) through theUnified Home Lending Program (UHLP). Specifically,the NHMFC mandate was expanded to includeorigination, utilizing long-term funds from theSocial Security System (SSS), the GovernmentService Insurance System (GSIS), and the HomeDevelopment Mortgage Fund (HDMF), in additionto purchasing home mortgages originated by bothpublic and private financial institutions and privatedevelopers.

    The UHLP, however, was suspended in 1996 due tolow repayment rates and huge amount ofuncollected loans. Loan collection efficiency wasestimated at only 60 percent. Delinquent accountsfor over three months represented 63 percent oftotal accounts. This problem left the NHMFC withan outstanding debt balance of PHP 46 billionwith SSS, GSIS, and HDMF. The economic slowdown

    in 1998 created further difficulty to implement anaggressive asset recovery program. This situationforced the NHMFC to undertake a financialrehabilitation program in 2002, which included arestructuring of its debt obligations with thefunders and a disposition and liquification programof its delinquent portfolio.1 This situation alsocaused the NHMFC to redirect its operations to itsprimary mandate of secondary mortgage institution.

    The financial rehabilitation undertaken resultedin a financial turnaround. Starting 2005, theNHMFC posted a positive net income after morethan 10 years of insolvency and a negativebalance sheet. This is remarkable as it was donewithout any government bailout. It also showsthat it is possible for an insolvent organizationto do a financial turnaround through a totalportfolio management approach.

    In 2007, NHMFC laid the building blocks for itstransformation into a secondary mortgageinstitution (SMI). The organization was streamlinedfrom an 850-plantilla organization to a lean 300personnel. The training and gearing of its internalsystems and processes for secondary mortgageoperations also enabled NHMFC to issue its firstsecuritization in 2009, which was a success andtwice oversubscribed. It was awarded the BestSecuritization Deal for 2009 by the Asian AssetMagazine in January 2010 in Hong Kong. In 2012,NHMFC offered its first retail and publicly listedMBS in the country. The same issue was given theMost Innovative Award in 2012 by the PhilippineDealing Exchange in Manila.

    Framework for a good securitizationprocess2Securitization is the process of legally isolatingexisting asset pools or future-generated assets

    ______________1 This is the first bulk nonperforming loan sale in thecountry.2 This framework is courtesy of NHMFC President, FelixbertoU. Bustos, Jr. It was presented at the SHDA and CREBANational Developers Convention, September 26, 2013,Fairmont Hotel, Makati City, Philippines.

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    away from the company where thereceivables originate. Figure 1illustrates the process ofsecuritization.

    In particular, the key factors for an SMIsuch as NHMFC to function efficientlyare: (1) initial capital; (2) extractionrate; and (3) turnover rate.

    Funding or capitalization. Thisrefers to the equity capital infusionnecessary for the SMI to undertake andgrow its business. The funds will beused to meet start-up costs andoperational activities. Initialcapitalization requirement is usually substantialgiven the role of the SMI as a central refinancingplatform. The U.S. Federal Home Loan MortgageCorporation (Freddie Mac) was provided with aninitial funding of USD 100 million while HongKong Mortgage Corporation had an authorizedcapital of HKD 3.0 billion. Ideally, a liquidityfacility, such as SMI, would be a stand-aloneinstitution but its long-term future should bewith the private sector, that is, future fundingshould be raised through the market.

    Extraction rate. Extraction rate is the amountor value that has been generated from asecuritization transaction less any and alltransaction or friction costs. Generally, these arethe funds that can be readily utilized for future/subsequent securitizations. Extraction rate is notthe same as recovery rate as this fund grows overtime and ensures sustainability in housing finance.

    The extraction rate is affected by: (a) the supplyof securitizable accounts (or the asset pool); (b)the quality of the asset pool/accounts; and (c)

    the creation/availability of investors, particularlythe development of a professional market forsubordinate tranches.

    Leverage. This is the ability of the SMI to useits securitized instruments or its operations as asupport mechanism for financial capital to ensurecontinuous liquidity in the market (for theinvesting public). This necessitates the existenceor development of the following: (a) faster duediligence processes (which include the presenceof standardized and simplified forms for borrowers,originators, and lending institutions alike) and(b) streamlined review and due diligenceprocesses for the lending institutions. Theaforementioned measures would ensure thequality of the assets/mortgages originated andincluded in the asset pool for securitization.Other processes that are essential include thesharing of credit files, and standardization andsharing of valuation parameters/standards and data.

    Aside from these factors, securitization wouldneed a partnering arrangement whereby the SMI

    Figure 1. The securitization process

    Source: Limlingan (2000) in Bustos (2013)

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    provides for a risk-sharing approach with banksand other institutions in all the securitizationactivities going on. This implies that any and allissuances should be rated investment-grade andof low risk but with a stable yield.

    NHMFC securitization experienceBetween 2009 and 2012, NHMFC has undertakentwo securitization issuances called Bahay Bonds1 (BB1) and Bahay Bonds 2 (BB2). BB1represents NHMFCs first securitization issue. Thisissue is valued at PHP 2.06 billion backed bymore than 12,000 prime residential mortgageloans, which are the best quality loans inNHMFCs portfolio (Table 1). These loans have notbeen restructured and loan payments wereconsistently up to date with a collectionefficiency rate at the time of issue of about 98

    percent. BB1 was offered only to institutionalinvestors (mainly banks).

    BB2 was issued in 2010. The bonds are valued atabout PHP 604 million backed by more than 4,000current and restructured NHMFC UHLP accounts.Unlike BB1, BB2 was offered to the general public.This was the first retail asset-backed security or ABS(denominated at PHP 5,000) offered and listed atthe Philippine Dealing Exchange (PDEX).

    NHMFC installed several risk-mitigatingmechanisms to ensure the protection of investorsfrom potential defaults. These are: Tranching or a subordination structure. Thesubordination structure effectively provides for anovercollateralization of the issue. There are twoclasses of BB1 notes: (a) senior notes rated AA byPhilRatings, a rating company accredited by theBangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and (b)subnotes, rated BBB+ by PhilRatings. Subnoteshave been sold to the public and retained byNHMFC. Senior notes have the first priority inpayments and, in cases of defaults orprepayments, they will be the last to be affected.

    Meanwhile, BB2 consists of three tranches: (a)senior note A sold to the public; (b) senior noteB sold to institutional investors; and (c)subordinated notes held by NHMFC and ratedBBB+ by PhilRatings. Both senior note A andsenior note B were rated AA by PhilRatings.

    Liquidity reserves equivalent to nine monthsof what is due the senior note holders. Commingled reserves equivalent to threemonths of what is due the senior note holders. Provision of a sovereign guarantee through theHome Guarantee Corporation (HGC) on timelypayment of loans. The HGC provides a guarantee in

    Table 1. Key characteristics of asset pool that collateralizedNHMFC BB1 and BB2

    Cut-Off Date BB1 BB2 (December 31, 2008) (December 31, 2008)

    Number of loans 12,408 3,364Total original balance (PHP) 2,060,898,053.43 718,806,606.66Total current balance at cut-off date (PHP) 603,744,442.46Average original loan amount (PHP) 217,141 213,676.16Average current loan amount (PHP) 167,987 179,472.19Maximum original balance (PHP) 393,750 393,750Minimum original balance (PHP) 100,000 81.50Weighted average original LTV 80.88% 82.74%Average increase in original valuation of 2.1 times n.a. the underlying propertiesWeighted average current LTV 33.34% 30.35%Weighted average original term (years) 24.7 18.49Maximum original term (years) 25.0 25.0Minimum original term (years) 11.0 n.a.Weighted average stated remaining term 8.8 8.83 (years)Maximum stated remaining term (years) 4.6Minimum stated remaining term (years) 1.0Weighted average interest rate 13.02% 11.98%Maximum interest rate 16.00% 16%Minimum interest rate 9.00% 9%Cut-off date December 31, 2008 March 31, 2012

    Source: NHMFC

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    the form of debentures in case of default on theinstallment payments. The debentures shall pay thefull principal component of the expectedinstallment plus interest component of up to 11percent per annum of the defaulted assets that areallocated to senior notes. HGC does not coverlosses of the assets allocated to subordinatednotes. Creation of a seller-restricted account (whichcomprises all the excess spread due the subnoteholder/NHMFC)3 that is not released to NHMFCuntil the senior note holders are fully paid. Thisaccount is technically a sinking fund thatprovides an added layer of security to the seniornote holders. The sinking fund was createdspecifically for BB2 due to the lower quality ofassets in the pool (i.e., some mortgages wererestructured).

    A key issue in the development of MBS in thecountry is the high execution cost of thisundertaking. The cost consists of one-time upfrontfees (or fixed costs) and recurring costs. Using theNHMFC experience, MBS execution costs amountedto a total of 5.96 percent and 4.89 percent of theportfolio amount for BB1 and BB2, respectively(Table 2). The upfront cost for BB1 is higher at3.45 percent based on the portfolio size.

    In both MBS transactions, NHMFC allocated fundsfor reserves (liquidity, commingled reserves, sinkingfund) as an added layer of security. The combinedexpenses or costs of the securitization processamount to about 18 percent of the portfolio sizefor BB1 and about 20 percent for BB2. Thisprovides an extraction rate of only about 70percent (Table 3). However, reserves are consideredreflows, which eventually go back to the funds. Thegreater concern in securitization is to reduce theoperating costs to increase the extraction rate.

    NHMFC expects that as it continues with itssecuritization activities, the above costs shouldgo down. It is important to note that the hightransaction or friction costs (particularly for theBB1 issue) is both a function of a learning cycleand legal requirements. Since the transaction is afirst issue, the NHMFC endeavored to follow asimple, basic structure and to be fully compliantwith the Securitization Law of 2004. As it fullymatures, it envisions that certain friction costsmay be reduced further as it can perform the samewithout the need for other third parties.Transaction costs also decline as templates aredeveloped and standardized.

    Generally, the perception of high risk isassociated with the MBS and this is evident fromthe regulation and controls provided by the BSPand Insurance Commission in the investment ofbanks and insurance companies in MBS. The BSPfurther limited bank investments in MBS unlesswith a sovereign guarantee. Likewise, MBS is notin the list of automatically admitted assetseligible for purchase by insurance companies.Investment in MBS requires prior approval fromthe Insurance Commission. This was done forBB1.

    The support of the national government is neededto develop any ABS. In o...

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