In a previous blog, we highlighted large curtailments on loans, behavior that was driving a prepayment spike on some new-issue pools. Any large curtailment should also result in shortening the remaining term of the loan because the mortgage payment is nearly always “level-pay” for loans in a conventional pool. And we see that behavior for all mortgages experiencing large curtailments.
However, we noted that nearly half of these loans showed a subsequent extension of their remaining term back to where it would have been without the curtailment.1 This extension occurred anywhere between zero and sixteen months after the curtailment, with a median of one month after the large payment. We presume these maturity extensions are a loan “recast,” which is explained well in a recent FAQ from Rocket Mortgage. In summary, a recast allows the borrower to lower their monthly payment after making a curtailment above some threshold, typically at least $10,000 extra principal.
Some investors may not be aware that a recast loan may remain in the trust, especially since the terms of the loan are being changed without a buyout.2 Further, since the extension lowers the monthly payment, the trust will receive principal more slowly ex curtailment than under the original terms of the loan. This could possibly affect buyers of the pool after the curtailment and before the recast.
While the number of recast loans is small, we found it interesting that the loan terms are changed without removing the loans from the pool. We identified nearly 7,800 loans that were issued between 2021 Q4 and 2022 Q1 and had both a curtailment greater than $10,000 and a subsequent re-extension of loan term.
Of these loans, the typical time to term-recast is zero to two months, with 1% of the loans recasting a year or more after the curtailment.
Some of these loans reported multiple curtailments and recasts, with loan 9991188863 in FR QD1252 extending on three separate occasions after three large curtailments. It seems the door is always open to extension.
For loans that recast their maturities after a curtailment, 85% had extensions between 10 and 25 years.
Large curtailments are uncommon and term-recasts comprise roughly half of loans in our sample with large curtailments, so term recasts will typically have only a small effect on pool cash flows, extending the time of principal receipt ex curtailment and possibly changing borrower behavior.3 For large pools, any effect will be typically exceeded by prepayments due to turnover.
However, for some smaller pools the WAM extension due to recast is noticeable. We identified dozens of pools whose WAM extended after a recast of underlying loan(s). The table below shows just a few examples. All of these pools are comparatively small, which is to be expected since just one or two individual loan recasts can have an outsized effect on a small pool’s statistics.