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Category: Article

Loans & MSRs: Managing model assumptions and tuners the easy way

One of the things that makes modeling loan and MSR cash flows hard is appropriately applying assumptions to individual loans. Creating appropriate assumptions for each loan or MSR segment is crucial to estimating realistic performance scenarios, stress testing, hedging, and valuation. However, manually creating and maintaining such assumptions can be time-consuming, error-prone, and inconsistent across different segments and portfolios.

Fortunately, hidden among some of the Edge Platform’s better-known features is a powerful and flexible way of running loan-level analytics on a portfolio using the Platform’s segment builder and loan model assumptions features.

These sometimes-overlooked features allow users to create and apply granular and customized modeling assumptions to a particular loan portfolio, based on its various, unique loan characteristics. Assumptions can be saved and reused for future analysis on different loans tapes.  This feature allows clients to effectively build and manage a complex system of models adjustment and tuners for granular sub-segments.

Applying the segment builder and loan model assumptions features, loan investors can:

  • Decouple how they run and aggregate results from how they assign modeling assumptions, and seamlessly assign different assumptions to various segments of the portfolio, based on user-defined criteria and preferences. For example, investors can assign different prepayment, default, and severity assumptions to loans based on their state, LTV, UPB, occupancy, purpose, delinquency status, loan type, collateral features, or virtually any other loan characteristic.
  • Choose from a variety of models and inputs, including RiskSpan models and vector inputs for things like CPR and CDR. Investors can define their own vector inputs as an aging curves by loan age or based on the forecast month, and apply them to different segments of the portfolio. For example, they can define their own CDR and CPR curves for consumer or C&I loans, based on the age of the loans.
  • Set up and save modeling assumptions one time, and then reference them over and over again whenever new loan tapes are uploaded. This saves time and effort and ensures consistency and accuracy in the analysis.

This hidden feature enables investors to customize their analysis and projections for different asset classes and scenarios, and to leverage the Edge Platform’s embedded cash flow, prepayment and credit models without compromising the granularity and accuracy of the results. Users can create and save multiple sets of loan model assumptions that include either static inputs, aging curves, or RiskSpan models, and apply them to any loan tape they upload and run in the forecasting UI.

Contact us and request a free demo or trial to learn more about how to use these and other exciting hidden (and non-hidden) features and how they can enhance your loan analytics.


How an MSR Analytical Solution Can Boost Your Mortgage Banking Business

And why it’s probably less expensive than you think

Mortgage servicing rights (MSRs) are complex and volatile assets that require careful management and analysis. Inherent in MSR risk management is the need to monitor portfolio performance, assess risks and opportunities, evaluate and implement risk-reducing strategies such as recapture and interest rate hedging, and effectively communicate all this to investors and regulators. Handling all this has traditionally required an enormous budget for data, software, and consultants. Many mortgage banks are left with either using outdated and inflexible internal systems or outsourcing their analytics to third parties that lack full transparency and bill clients for every request. 

Not anymore.

The answer is a cloud-native MSR analytical solution that includes slice-and-dice-able Agency loan performance data as well as the models necessary to produce valuations, risk analytics and cash flows across both MSRs and associated derivative hedges, where applicable.

By integrating data, models, and reports, this combined solution enables mortgage banks to:

  • Generate internal metrics to compare with those received from third party brokers and consultants
  • Measure the fair value and cash flows of their MSRs under different scenarios and assumptions including a variety of recapture assumptions
  • Analyze the sensitivity of their MSRs (and associated hedges) to changes in interest rates, prepayment speeds, defaults, home prices and other factors
  • Compare their portfolio’s performance and characteristics with the market and industry peers
  • Generate customized reports and dashboards to share with investors, auditors, and regulators

More specifically, RiskSpan’s comprehensive data and analytics solution enables you to do the following:

1. Check assumptions used by outside analysts to run credit and prepayment analytics

Even in cases where the analytics are provided by a third party, mortgage banks frequently benefit from having their own analytical solution. Few things are more frustrating than analytics generated by a black box with no/limited visibility into assumptions or methodology. RiskSpan’s MSR tool provides mortgage banks with an affordable means of checking the assumptions and methodologies used by outside analysts to run credit and prepayment analytics on their portfolio.

Different analysts use different assumptions and models to run credit and prepayment analytics, often leading to inconsistent results that are difficult to explain. Some analysts use historical data while others rely on forward-looking projections. Some analysts simple models while others turn to complex one. Some analysts are content with industry averages while others dig into portfolio-specific data.

Having access to a fully transparent MSR analytical solution of their own allows mortgage banks to check the assumptions and models used by outside analysts for reasonableness and consistency. In addition to helping with results validation and identification of discrepancies or errors, it also facilitates communication of the rationale and logic behind assumptions and models to investors and regulators.  Lastly, the ability for a mortgage bank to internally generate MSR valuations and cash flows allows for a greater understanding of the economic value (vs. accounting value) of the asset they hold.

2. Understand how your portfolio’s prepayment performance stacks up against the market

Prepayment risk is one of the main drivers of MSR value and volatility. Mortgage banks need to know how their portfolio’s prepayment performance compares with the market and their peers. Knowing this helps mortgage banks field questions from investors, who may be concerned about the impact of prepayments on profitability and liquidity. It also helps identify areas of improvement and opportunity for the portfolio.

RiskSpan’s MSR analytical solution helps track and benchmark portfolio prepayment performance using various metrics, including CPR and SMM. It also helps analysts understand the drivers and trends of prepayments, such as interest rates, loan age, loan type, credit score, and geographic distribution. RiskSpan’s MSR analytical solution combined with its historical performance data provides a deeper understanding of how a portfolio’s prepayment performance stacks up against the market and what factors affect it.

And it’s less expensive than you might think

You may think that deploying an MSR analytical solution is too costly and complex, as it requires a lot of data, software, and expertise. However, this is not necessarily true.

Bundling RiskSpan’s MSR analytical solution with RiskSpan’s Agency historical performance tool actually winds up saving clients money by helping them optimize their portfolios and avoid costly mistakes. The solution:

  • Reduces the need for external data, software, and consultants because all the information and tools needed are in one platform
  • Maximizes portfolio performance and profitability by helping to identify and capture opportunities and mitigate risks, including through recapture analysis and active hedging
  • Enhances reputation and credibility by improving transparency to investors and regulators

RiskSpan’s solution is affordable and easy to use, with flexible pricing and deployment options, as well as user-friendly features and support, including intuitive interfaces, interactive dashboards, and comprehensive training and guidance. Its cloud-native, usage-based pricing structure means users pay only for the compute they need (in addition to a nominal licensing fee).

Contact us to learn more about how RiskSpan’s Edge Platform can help you understand how your MSR portfolio’s performance stacks up against the market, check assumptions used by outside analysts to run credit and prepayment analytics, and, most important, save money and time.


What Do 2024 Origination Trends Mean for MSRs?

While mortgage rates remain stubbornly high by recent historical standards, accurately forecasting MSR performance and valuations requires a thoughtful evaluation of loan characteristics that go beyond the standard “refi incentive” measure.

As we pointed out in 2023, these characteristics are particularly important when it comes to predicting involuntary prepayments.

This post updates our mortgage origination trends for the first quarter of 2024 and takes a look at what they could be telling us.

Average credit scores, which were markedly higher than normal during the pandemic years, have returned and stayed near the averages observed during the latter half of the 2010s.

The most credible explanation for this most recent reversion to the mean is the fact that the Covid years were accompanied by an historically strong refinance market. Refis traditionally have higher FICO scores than purchase mortgages, and this is apparent in the recent trend.

Purchase markets are also associated with higher average LTV ratios than are refi markets, which accounts for their sharp rise during the same period.

Consequently, in 2023 and 2024, with high home prices persisting despite extremely high interest rates, new first-time homebuyers with good credit continue to be approved for loans, but with higher LTV and DTI ratios.

Between rates and home prices, ​​borrowers simply need to borrow more now than they would have just a few years ago to buy a comparable house. This is reflected not just in the average DTI and LTV, but also the average loan size (below) which, unsurprisingly, continues to trend higher as well.

Recent large increases to the conforming loan limit are clearly also contributing to the higher average loan size.

What, then, do these origination trends mean for the MSR market?

The very high rates associated with newer originations clearly translate to higher risk of prepayments. We have seen significant spikes in actual speeds when rates have taken a leg down — even though the loans are still very new. FICO/LTV/DTI trends also potentially portend higher delinquencies down the line, which would negatively impact MSR valuations.

Nevertheless, today’s MSR trading market remains healthy, and demand is starting to catch up with the high supply as more money is being raised and put to work by investors in this space. Supply remains high due to the need for mortgage originators to monetize the value of MSR to balance out the impact from declining originations.

However, the nature of the MSR trade has evolved from the investor’s perspective. When rates were at historic lows for an extended period, the MSR trade was relatively straightforward as there was a broader secular rate play in motion. Now, however, bidders are scrutinizing available deals more closely — evaluating how speeds may differ from historical trends or from what the models would typically forecast.

These more granular reviews are necessarily beginning to focus on how much lower today’s already very low turnover speeds can actually go and the extent of lock-in effects for out-of-the-money loans at differing levels of negative refi incentive. Investors’ differing views on prepays across various pools in the market will often be the determining factor on who wins the bid.

Investor preference may also be driven by the diversity of an investor’s other holdings. Some investors are looking for steady yield on low-WAC MSRs that have very small prepayment risk while other investors are seeking the higher negative convexity risk of higher-WAC MSRs — for example, if their broader portfolio has very limited negative convexity risk.

In sum, investors have remained patient and selective — seeking opportunities that best fit their needs and preferences.

So what else do MSR holders need to focus on that may may impact MSR valuations going forward? 

The impact from changes in HPI is one key area of focus.

While year-over-year HPI remains positive nationally, servicers and other investors really need to look at housing values region by region. The real risk comes in the tails of local home price moves that are often divorced from national trends. 

For example, HPIs in Phoenix, Austin, and Boise (to name three particularly volatile MSAs) behaved quite differently from the nation as a whole as HPIs in these three areas in particular first got a boost from mass in-migration during the pandemic and have since come down to earth.

Geographic concentrations within MSR books will be a key driver of credit events. To that end, we are seeing clients beginning to examine their portfolio concentration as granularly as zipcode level. 

Declining home values will impact most MSR valuation models in two offsetting ways: slower refi speeds will result in higher MSR values, while the increase in defaults will push MSRs back downward. Of these two factors, the slower speeds typically take precedence. In today’s environment of slow speeds driven primarily by turnover, however, lower home prices are going to blunt the impact of speeds, leaving MSR values more exposed to the impact of higher defaults.


GenAI Applications for Loans and Mapping Data

RiskSpan is actively furthering the advancement of several GenAI applications aimed at transforming how mortgage loan and private credit investors work and maximizing their efficiency and performance. They include:

1. Tape-Cracking 3.0: Making RiskSpan’s Smart Mapper Even Smarter

RiskSpan’s Edge Platform currently uses machine learning techniques as part of its Smart Mapper ETL Tool. When a new portfolio is loaded in a new format, the fuzzy logic that powers the Platform’s recommended mappings gets continually refined based on user activity.

In the coming months, the Platform’s existing ML-driven ETL process will be further refined to leverage the latest GenAI technology.

GenAI lends additional context to the automated mapping process by incorporating an understanding not only of the data in an individual column, but also of surrounding data as well as learned characteristics of the asset class in question. The resulting evolution from simply trying to ensure the headers match up a more holistic understanding of what the data actually is and the meaning it seeks to convey will be a game changer for downstream analysts seeking to make reliable data-driven investment decisions.

RiskSpan made several updates in 2023 to help users automate the end-to-end workflow for loan valuation and surveillance. AI-based data loading combined with the Platform’s loan risk assumptions and flexible data model will enable users to obtain valuation and risk metrics simply by dragging and dropping a loan file into the application.

2. Modeling Private Credit Transactions

Many financial institutions and legal advisors still spend an extraordinary amount of time reading and extracting relevant information from legal documents that accompany structured private credit transactions.

RiskSpan has partnered with clients to develop a solution to extract key terms from private credit and funding transactions. Trained multimodal AI models are further extended to generate executable code valuations. This code will be fully integrated into RiskSpan’s risk and pricing platform.

The application solves a heretofore intractable problem in which the information necessary to generate accurate cash flows for private credit transactions is spread across multiple documents (a frequent occurrence when terms for individual classes can only be obtained from deal amendments).

Execution code for cash flow generation and valuation utilizes RiskSpan’s validated analytics routines, such as day count handling, payment calculations, discounting, etc.

3. “Insight Support”

Tech support is one of today’s most widely known (and widely experienced) GenAI use cases. Seemingly all-knowing chatbots immediately answer users’ questions, sparing them the inconvenience of having to wait for the next available human agent. Like every other company, RiskSpan is enhancing its traditional tech support processes with GenAI to answer questions faster and and embed user-facing AI help within the Platform itself. But RiskSpan is taking things a step further by also exploring how GenAI can upend and augment its clients’ workflows.

RiskSpan refers to this workflow augmentation as “Insight Support.”

With Insight Support, GenAI evaluates an individual user’s data, dynamically serves up key insights, and automatically completes routine analysis steps without prompting. The resulting application can understand an individual user’s data and recognize what is most important to identify and highlight as part of a loan data analysis workflow.

Insight Support, for example, can leverage insights obtained by the AI-driven “Smarter Mapping” process to identify what specific type of collateral reporting is necessary. It can produce reports that highlight outliers, recognize the typical analytical/valuation run settings a user would want to apply, and then execute the analytical run and summarize the results in management-ready reporting. All in the name of shortening the analysis time needed to evaluate new investment opportunities.

Conclusion

Considered collectively, these three applications are building toward having RiskSpan’s SaaS platform function as a “virtual junior analyst” capable of handling much of the tedious work involved in analyzing loan and structured product investments and freeing up human analysts for higher-order tasks and decision making.

GenAI is the future of data and analytics and is therefore the future of RiskSpan’s Edge Platform. By revolutionizing the way data is analyzed, AI-created and -validated models, dashboards, and sorted data are already allowing experts to redirect their attention away from time-consuming data wrangling tasks and toward more strategic critical thinking. The more complete adoption of fully optimized AI solutions throughout the industry, made possible by a rising generation of “AI-native” data scientists will only accelerate this phenomenon.

RiskSpan’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation in the Loan and Structured Product Space is underscored by its strategic approach to GenAI. While acknowledging the challenges posed by GenAI, RiskSpan remains poised for the future, leveraging its expertise to navigate the evolving landscape. As the industry anticipates the promised benefits of GenAI, RiskSpan’s vision and applications stand as a testament to its role as a thought leader in shaping the future of data analytics.

Stay tuned for more updates on RiskSpan’s innovative solutions, as we continue to lead the way in harnessing the power of GenAI for the benefit of our clients and the industry at large.


Celebrating Women’s Contributions by the Numbers

Because we’re a data company after all. RiskSpan commemorates International Women’s Day by taking note of the remarkable people behind these numbers.

Martha Stewart

Votes for Women

Serena Williams

Women's March in DC

Girls Who Code

Title IX

Sally Ride

Womens Rights

Taylor Swift

Sandra Day O'connor

Kathryn Blgelow

Betty White


Enriching Pre-Issue Intex CDI Files with [Actual, Good] Loan-Level Data

The way RMBS dealers communicate loan-level details to prospective investors today leaves a lot to be desired.

Any investor who has ever had to work with pre-issue Intex CDI files can attest to the problematic nature of the loan data they contain. Some are better than others, but virtually all of them lack information about any number of important loan features.

Investors can typically glean enough basic information about balances and average note rates from preliminary CDI files to run simple, static CPR/CDR scenarios. But information needed to run complex models — FICO scores, property characteristics and geography, and LTV ratios to name a few — is typically lacking. MBS investors who want to run to run more sophisticated prepayment and credit models – models that rely on more comprehensive loan-level datasets to run deeper analytics and scenarios – can be left holding the bag when these details are missing from the CDI file.

The loan-level detail exists – it’s just not in the CDI file. Loan-level detail often accompanies the CDI file in a separate spreadsheet (still quaintly referred to in the 21st Century as a “loan tape”). Having this data separate from the CDI file requires investors to run the loan tape through their various credit and prepayment models and then manually feed those results back into the Intex CDI file to fully visualize the deal structure and expected cash flows.

This convoluted, multi-step workaround adds both time and the potential for error to the pre-trade analytics process.

A Better Way

Investors using RiskSpan’s Edge Platform can streamline the process of evaluating a deal’s structure alongside the expected performance of its underlying mortgage loans into a single step.

EDGEPLATFORM

Here is how it works.

As illustrated above, when investors set up their analytical runs on Edge, RiskSpan’s proprietary credit and prepayment models automatically extract all the required loan-level data from the tape and then connect the modeling results to the appropriate corresponding deal tranche in the CDI file. This seamlessness reduces all the elements of the pre-trade analytics process down to a matter of just a few clicks.

Making all this possible is the Edge Platform’s Smart Mapper ETL solution, which allows it to read and process loan tapes in virtually any format. Using AI, the Platform recognizes every data element it needs to run the underlying analytics regardless of the order in which the data elements are arranged and irrespective of how (or even whether) column headers are used.

Contact us to learn more about how RMBS investors are reaping the benefits of consolidating all of their data analytics on a single cloud-native platform.


What is the Draw of Whole Loan Investing?

Mortgage whole loans are having something of a moment as an asset class, particularly among insurance companies and other nonbank institutional investors. With insurance companies increasing their holdings of whole loans by 35 percent annually over the past three years, many people are curious what it is about these assets that makes them so appealing in the current environment.

We sat down with Peter Simon, founder and CEO of Dominium Advisors, a tech-enabled asset manager specializing in the acquisition and management of residential mortgage loans for insurance companies and other institutional investors. As an asset manager, Dominium focuses on performing the “heavy lifting” related to loan investing for clients. 

How has the whole loan asset class evolved since the 2008 crisis? How have the risks changed?

Peter Simon: Since 2008, laws and regulations like the Dodd-Frank act and the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have created important risk guardrails related to the origination of mortgage products. Many loan and mortgage product attributes, such as underwriting without proper documentation of income or assets or loan structures with negative amortization, which contributed to high levels of mortgage defaults in 2008 are no longer permissible. In fact, more than half of the types of mortgages that were originated pre-crisis are no longer permitted under the current “qualified mortgage” regulations.  In addition, there have been substantial changes to underwriting, appraisal and servicing practices which have reduced fraud and conflicts of interest throughout the mortgage lifecycle.

How does whole loan investing fit into the overall macro environment?

Peter Simon: Currently, the macro environment is favorable for whole loan investing. There is a substantial supply-demand imbalance – meaning there are more buyers looking for places to live then there are homes for them to live in. At the current rates of new home construction, mobility trends, and household formation, it is expected that this imbalance will persist for the next several years.  Demographic trends are also widening the current supply demand imbalance as more millennial buyers are entering their early 30s – the first time-homebuyer sweet spot.  And work from home trends created by the pandemic are creating a desire for additional living space.

Who is investing in whole loans currently?

Peter Simon: Banks have traditionally been the largest whole loan investors due to their historical familiarity with the asset class, their affiliated mortgage origination channels, their funding advantage and favorable capital rules for holding mortgages on balance sheet.  Lately, however, banks have pulled back from investing in loans due to concerns about the stickiness of deposits, which have been used traditionally to fund a portion of mortgage purchases, and proposed bank capital regulations that would make it more costly for banks to hold whole loans.  Stepping in to fill this void are other institutional investors — insurance companies, for example — which have seen their holdings of whole loans increase by 35% annually over the past 3 years. Credit and hedge funds and pension funds are also taking larger positions in the asset class. 

What is the specific appeal of whole loans to insurance companies and these other firms that invest in them?

Peter Simon: Spreads and yields on whole loans produce favorable relative value (risk versus yield) when compared to other fixed income asset classes like corporate bonds.  Losses since the Financial Crisis have been exceptionally low due to the product, process and regulatory improvements enacted after the Financial Crisis.  Whole loans also produce risks in a portfolio that tend to increase overall portfolio diversification.  Borrower prepayment risk, for example, is a risk that whole loan investors receive a spread premium for but is uncorrelated with many other fixed income risks.  And for investors looking for real estate exposure, residential mortgage risk has a much different profile than commercial mortgage risk.

Why don’t they just invest in non-Agency securities?

Peter Simon: Many insurance companies do in fact buy RMBS securities backed by non-QM loans.  In fact, most insurance companies who have residential exposure will have it via securities.  The thesis around investing in loans is that the yields are significantly higher (200 to 300 bps) than securities because loans are less liquid, are not evaluated by the rating agencies and expose the insurer to first loss on a defaulted loan.  So for insurance investors who believe the extra yield more than compensates them for these extra risks (which historically over the last 15 years it has), they will likely be interested in investing in loans.

What specific risk metrics do you evaluate when considering/optimizing a whole loan portfolio – which metrics have the highest diagnostic value?

Peter Simon: Institutional whole loan investors are primarily focused on three risks: credit risk, prepayment risk and liquidity risk. Credit risk, or the risk that an investor will incur a loss if the borrower defaults on the mortgage is typically evaluated using many different scenarios of home price appreciation and unemployment to evaluate both expected losses and “tail event” losses.  This risk is typically expressed as projected lifetime credit losses.  Prepayment risk is commonly evaluated using loan cash flow computed measures like option adjusted duration and convexity under various scenarios related to the potential direction of future interest rates (interest rate shocks).

How would you characterize the importance of market color and how it figures into the overall assessment/optimization process?

Peter Simon: Newly originated whole loans like any other “new issue” fixed income product are traded in the market every day.  Whole loans are generally priced at the loan level based on their specific borrower, loan and property attributes.  Collecting and tabulating loan level prices every day is the most effective way to construct an investment strategy that optimizes the relative differences between loans with different yield characteristics and minimizes credit and prepayment risks in many various economic and market scenarios.


The future of analytics pricing is RiskSpan’s Usage-based delivery model

Usage-based pricing model brings big benefits to clients of RiskSpan’s Edge Platform

Analytic solutions for loans, MSRs and structured products are typically offered as software-as-a-service (SaaS) or “on-prem” products, where clients pay a monthly or annual fee to access the software and its features. The compute needed to run analytic workloads is typically purchased in advance and is fixed regardless of the need or use case.  

However, this traditional pricing model is not always the best fit for the dynamic and diverse needs of analytics users. It is technologically outdated and does not meet users where they are – with varying data volumes, usage patterns, and analytical complexity requirements that fluctuate with the markets. It is simply wasteful for companies to pay for unused, fixed-fee compute capacity, year-after-year in long-term, set price contracts, when their needs don’t require it. 

Usage-based pricing is a trend that reflects the evolving nature of analytics and the increasing demand for more flexible, transparent, and value-driven pricing models.

RiskSpan has just announced the release of industry-innovating usage-based pricing that allows clients to scale up or down, based on their needs. Further, clients of the RiskSpan platform will now benefit from access to the full Edge Platform, including data, models and analytics – eliminating the need to license individual product modules. The Platform supports loans, MSRs and securities, with growing capabilities around private credit. Analyzing these assets can be compute- and data-intensive because of the need for collateral (loan-level) data and models to price, value, and calculate risk metrics.

A Single Platform
Integrated Data | Trade Analytics | Risk Management

Core Engine

Usage-based pricing is an innovative alternative approach based on user-configured workloads. It enables RiskSpan to invoice its clients according to how much compute they actually need and use, rather than a fixed fee based on the modules they purchased during the last budget cycle.  

Usage-based pricing benefits RiskSpan clients in several ways, including: 

    • Lower Costs: Clients pay only for what they need, rather than being locked into an expensive contract that may not suit their current or future situation.

    • Cost-Sharing Across the Enterprise: Clients can share costs across the enterprise and better manage expense based on usage by internal functions and business units.

    • Transparency: Clients can monitor their usage and directly link their analytics configuration and usage to their results and goals. They can also better control their spending, as they can track their usage and see how it affects their bill.

    • Flexibility: Clients can experiment with different features and options of the Platform, as they are not restricted by a predefined package or plan.

Usage-based pricing is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it may not be suitable for every organization. Based on needs, large enterprise workloads will require specific, customized licensing and may benefit from locked in compute that comes with volume discounts.

Bottom Line on RiskSpan’s Usage-based Pricing Model

CONS of Traditional Fixed Fee Pricing PROS of Usage-Based Pricing
Flat-fee pricing models force customers to pay for unused capacity​. Lower Costs — Pay only for what you use, not the wasted capacity of a dedicated cluster
Unused capacity cannot be shared across the enterprise, which translates into wasted resources and higher costs. Cost Sharing — Costs can be shared across the enterprise to better manage expense based on usage by your internal functions and business units
Fixed pricing models make it difficult for customers to scale up or down as needed. Transparency — Transparent pricing that fits your specific analytics workload (size, complexity, performance)
Traditional “product module-based” purchasing runs the risk of over-buying on features that will not be used. Flexibility — Scale up and scale down your use as new and in-place features become useful to you under different market conditions

With the introduction of usage-based pricing, RiskSpan is adding core value to its Edge Platform and a low-cost entry point to bring its solution to a wider base of clients. Its industry-leading capabilities solve challenges facing various users in the loans, MSR, and structured portfolio domains. For example:

    1. Loan/MSR Trader seeks analytics to support bidding on pools of loans and/or MSRs. Their usage is ad-hoc and will benefit from usage-based pricing. Traders and investors can analyze prepay and credit performance trends by leveraging RiskSpan’s 20+ years of historical performance datasets.

    1. Securities Trader (Agency or Non-Agency) wants more flexibility to set their prepay or credit model assumptions to run ad-hoc scenario analysis not easily handled by their current vendor.

    1. Risk Manager wants another source of valuation for periodic MSR and loan portfolios to enhance decision making and compare against the marks from their third-party valuation firm. 

    1. Private Credit Risk Manager needs a built-for-purpose private credit analytics system to properly run risk metrics. Users can run separate and run ad hoc analysis on these holdings.

For more specific information about how RiskSpan will structure pricing with various commitment levels, click below to tell us about your needs, and a representative will be in touch with you shortly. 


RiskSpan’s Top 3 GenAI Applications for 2024

In the dynamic landscape of fixed-income securities, the role of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) has become increasingly prominent. This transformative force is shaping the future of data, analytics, and predictive modeling, presenting both challenges and opportunities for industry leaders.

First, the challenges:

Managing GenAI applications in a responsible and ethical manner requires developers to be mindful of data security, data integrity, respecting intellectual property, and compliance standards, among other considerations. To this end, RiskSpan:

  • Maintains control over its data within its AWS instance and shares data with AI models solely for processing requests
  • Employs data encryption during transit and at rest to ensure confidentiality and access controls to restrict unauthorized data access within the AWS environment.
  • Affirms client ownership of inputs and outputs generated by the AI model’s API, ensuring data integrity and compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Supports common compliance standards, including GDPR and HIPAA.

Standing at the forefront of this evolution within the loans and structured products space, RiskSpan is actively furthering the advancement of three specific GenAI applications aimed at transforming how market participants work and maximizing their efficiency and performance.

1. Modeling Private Credit Transactions

Many financial institutions and legal advisors still spend an extraordinary amount of time reading and extracting relevant information from legal documents that accompany structured private credit transactions.

RiskSpan has partnered with clients to develop a solution to extract key terms from private credit and funding transactions. Trained multimodal AI models are further extended to generate executable code valuations. This code will be fully integrated into RiskSpan’s risk and pricing platform.

The application solves a heretofore intractable problem in which the information necessary to generate accurate cash flows for private credit transactions is spread across multiple documents (a frequent occurrence when terms for individual classes can only be obtained from deal amendments).

Execution code for cash flow generation and valuation utilizes RiskSpan’s validated analytics routines, such as day count handling, payment calculations, discounting, etc.

2. Tape-Cracking 3.0: Making RiskSpan’s Smart Mapper Even Smarter

RiskSpan’s Edge Platform currently uses machine learning techniques as part of its Smart Mapper ETL Tool. When a new portfolio is loaded in a new format, the fuzzy logic that powers the Platform’s recommended mappings gets continually refined based on user activity.

In the coming months, the Platform’s existing ML-driven ETL process will be further refined to leverage the latest GenAI technology.

GenAI lends additional context to the automated mapping process by incorporating an understanding not only of the data in an individual column, but also of surrounding data as well as learned characteristics of the asset class in question. The resulting evolution from simply trying to ensure the headers match up a more holistic understanding of what the data actually is and the meaning it seeks to convey will be a game changer for downstream analysts seeking to make reliable data-driven investment decisions.

RiskSpan made several updates in 2023 to help users automate the end-to-end workflow for loan valuation and surveillance. AI-based data loading combined with the Platform’s loan risk assumptions and flexible data model will enable users to obtain valuation and risk metrics simply by dragging and dropping a loan file into the application.

3. “Insight Support”

Tech support is one of today’s most widely known (and widely experienced) GenAI use cases. Seemingly all-knowing chatbots immediately answer users’ questions, sparing them the inconvenience of having to wait for the next available human agent. Like every other company, RiskSpan is enhancing its traditional tech support processes with GenAI to answer questions faster and and embed user-facing AI help within the Platform itself. But RiskSpan is taking things a step further by also exploring how GenAI can upend and augment its clients’ workflows.

RiskSpan refers to this workflow augmentation as “Insight Support.”

With Insight Support, GenAI evaluates an individual user’s data, dynamically serves up key insights, and automatically completes routine analysis steps without prompting. The resulting application can understand an individual user’s data and recognize what is most important to identify and highlight as part of a loan data analysis workflow.

Insight Support, for example, can leverage insights obtained by the AI-driven “Smarter Mapping” process to identify what specific type of collateral reporting is necessary. It can produce reports that highlight outliers, recognize the typical analytical/valuation run settings a user would want to apply, and then execute the analytical run and summarize the results in management-ready reporting. All in the name of shortening the analysis time needed to evaluate new investment opportunities.

Conclusion

Considered collectively, these three applications are building toward having RiskSpan’s SaaS platform function as a “virtual junior analyst” capable of handling much of the tedious work involved in analyzing loan and structured product investments and freeing up human analysts for higher-order tasks and decision making.

GenAI is the future of data and analytics and is therefore the future of RiskSpan’s Edge Platform. By revolutionizing the way data is analyzed, AI-created and -validated models, dashboards, and sorted data are already allowing experts to redirect their attention away from time-consuming data wrangling tasks and toward more strategic critical thinking. The more complete adoption of fully optimized AI solutions throughout the industry, made possible by a rising generation of “AI-native” data scientists will only accelerate this phenomenon.

RiskSpan’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation in the Loan and Structured Product Space is underscored by its strategic approach to GenAI. While acknowledging the challenges posed by GenAI, RiskSpan remains poised for the future, leveraging its expertise to navigate the evolving landscape. As the industry anticipates the promised benefits of GenAI, RiskSpan’s vision and applications stand as a testament to its role as a thought leader in shaping the future of data analytics.

Stay tuned for more updates on RiskSpan’s innovative solutions, as we continue to lead the way in harnessing the power of GenAI for the benefit of our clients and the industry at large.


Impact of Mr. Cooper’s Cyber Security Incident on Agency Prepayment Reporting

Amid the fallout of the cyberattack against Mr. Cooper on October 31st was an inability on the large servicer’s part to report prepayment activity to investors.

According to Freddie Mac, the incident “resulted in [Mr. Cooper’s] shutting down certain systems as a precautionary measure. As a result, Freddie Mac did not receive loan activity reporting, which includes loan payoffs and payment corrections, from Mr. Cooper during the last few days of the reporting period related to October loan activity.”

Owing to Mr. Cooper’s size, were curious to measure what (if any) impact its missing days of reporting might have on overall agency speeds.

Not a whole lot, it turns out.

This came as little surprise given the very low prepayment environment in which we find ourselves, but we wanted to run the numbers to be sure. Here is what we found.

We do not know precisely how much reporting was missed and assumed “the last few days of the reporting period” to mean 3 days.

Assuming 3 days means that Mr. Cooper’s reported speeds of 4.5 CPR to Freddie and 4.6 CPR to Fannie likely should have been 5.2 CPR and 5.4 CPR, respectively. While these differences are relatively small for to Mr. Cooper’s portfolio (less than 1 CPR) the impact on overall Agency speeds is downright trivial — less than 0.05 CPR.

Fannie MBSFreddie MBS
Sch. Bal.195,221,550,383168,711,346,228
CPR (reported)4.64.5
CPR (estimated*)5.45.2
*assumes three days of unreported loan activity and constant daily prepayments for the month

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will distribute scheduled principal and interest when servicers do not report the loan activity. Prepayments that were not reported “will be distributed to MBS certificateholders on the first distribution date that follows our receipt and reconciliation of the required prepayment information from Mr. Cooper.”


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