Another risk to AGNC’s profitability. Prepayments.

American Capital Agency Corp. (AGNC) profits will erode as the housing market declines further for at least two reasons.  First, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac payoff the previous mortgage after a foreclosure.  This accelerates the payment of that mortgage within the mortgage backed security pool it is in.  Second, when Federal Reserve policy and the US federal government programs artificially drive interest rates down, then more people can refinance their homes.  The old mortgage gets paid off early (prepayment) in a refinance.  AGNC management must estimate prepayment rates correctly to protect profits.  I have little faith in them because they believe in Keynesian economics.  Keynesians are leading us all off the cliff.

We read in this article that the US federal government is trying to introduce new subsidies to allow homeowners to refinance.  http://seekingalpha.com/article/293341-nationwide-mortgage-refinancing-impacts-on-mreits   This is bad news for mortgage REITs like AGNC.  For more info on the nefarious plans of the government read this: http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/124xx/doc12405/09-07-2011-Large-Scale_Refinancing_Program.pdf

From the AGNC 2010 annual report:

 

Changes in prepayment rates may adversely affect our profitability.

The agency securities in our investment portfolio are backed by pools of mortgage loans. We receive payments, generally, from the payments that are made on these underlying mortgage loans. When borrowers prepay their mortgage loans at rates that are faster or slower than expected, it results in prepayments that are faster or slower than expected on the related agency securities. These faster or slower than expected payments may adversely affect our profitability.

We may purchase agency securities that have a higher interest rate than the then prevailing market interest rate. In exchange for this higher interest rate, we may pay a premium to par value to acquire the security. In accordance with GAAP, we amortize this premium over the expected term of the agency security based on our prepayment assumptions. If the agency security is prepaid in whole or in part at a faster than expected rate, however, we must expense all or a part of the remaining unamortized portion of the premium that was paid at the time of the purchase, which will adversely affect our profitability.

We also may purchase agency securities that have a lower interest rate than the then prevailing market interest rate. In exchange for this lower interest rate, we may pay a discount to par value to acquire the security.  We accrete this discount over the expected term of the agency security based on our prepayment assumptions. If the agency security is prepaid at a slower than expected rate, however, we must accrete the remaining portion of the discount at a slower than expected rate. This will extend the expected life of the portfolio and result in a lower than expected yield on securities purchased at a discount to par.

Prepayment rates generally increase when interest rates fall and decrease when interest rates rise, but changes in prepayment rates are difficult to predict. Prepayments can also occur when borrowers sell the property and use the sale proceeds to prepay the mortgage as part of a physical relocation or when borrowers default on their mortgages and the mortgages are prepaid from the proceeds of a foreclosure sale of the property. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will generally, among other conditions, purchase mortgages that are 120 days or more delinquent from MBS trusts when the cost of guarantee payments to security holders, including advances of interest at the security coupon rate, exceeds the cost of holding the nonperforming loans in their portfolios.

Consequently, prepayment rates also may be affected by conditions in the housing and financial markets, which may result in increased delinquencies on mortgage loans, the government-sponsored entities cost of capital, general economic conditions and the relative interest rates on FRM and ARM loans, which could lead to an acceleration of the payment of the related principal. Additionally, changes in the government-sponsored entities’ decisions as to when to repurchase delinquent loans can materially impact prepayment rates.

In addition, the introduction of new government programs, such as the U.S. Treasury’s HASP program, could increase the availability of mortgage credit to a large number of homeowners in the U.S., which we would expect would impact the prepayment rates for the entire mortgage securities market, but primarily for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac agency securities. These new programs along with any new additional programs or changes to existing programs may cause substantial uncertainty around the magnitude of changes in prepayment speeds. To the extent that actual prepayment speeds differ from our expectations, it could adversely affect our operating results.

Conclusion

Stay away from unstable high dividend stocks like AGNC.  Leverage works both ways – just ask Lehman Bros.

Subscribe today for free at www.myhighdividendstocks.com/feed to discover high dividend stocks with earning power and strong balance sheets.

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Published in: on September 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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