In June, we highlighted Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s new “expanded delinquency” states. The Enterprises are now reporting delinquency states from 1 to 24 months to better account for loans that are seriously delinquent and not repurchased under the extended timeframe for repurchase of delinquent loans announced in 2020.

This new data reveals a strong correlation between loan balance and “chronically delinquent” loans. In the graph below, we chart loan balance on the x-axis and 180+Day delinquency on the y-axis, for 2017-18 production 30yr 3.5s through 4.5 “generic” borrowers.[1]

As the graph shows, within a given coupon, loans with larger original balances also tended to have higher “chronic delinquencies.

The graph above also illustrates a clear correlation between higher chronic delinquencies and higher coupons. This phenomenon is most likely due to SATO. While each of these queries excluded low-FICO, high-LTV, and NY loans, the 2017-18 30yr 3.5 cohort was mostly at-the-money origination, whereas 4.0s and 4.5s had an average SATO of 30bp and 67bp respectively. The higher SATO indicates a residual credit quality issue. As one would expect, and we demonstrated in our June analysis, lower-credit-quality loans tend also to have higher chronic delinquencies.

The first effect – higher chronic delinquencies among larger loans within a coupon – is more challenging to understand. We posit that this effect is likely due to survivor bias. The large refi wave over the last 18 months has factored-down higher-balance cohorts significantly more than lower-balance cohorts.

Higher-credit-quality borrowers tend to refinance more readily than lower-credit-quality borrowers, and because the larger-loan-balance cohorts have seen higher total prepayments, these same cohorts are left with a larger residue of lower-quality credits. The impact of natural credit migration (which is observed in all cohorts) tends to leave behind a larger proportion of credit-impaired borrowers in faster-paying cohorts versus the slower-paying, lower-loan-balance cohorts.

The higher chronic delinquencies in larger-loan-balance cohorts may ultimately lead to higher buyouts, depending on the resolution path taken. As loan balance decreases, the lower balance cohorts will have reduced risk to these potential buyouts, leaving them better protected to any uptick in involuntary speeds.


Contact us if you are interested in seeing variations on this theme. Using Edge, we can examine any loan characteristic and generate a S-curve, aging curve, or time series.


[1] We filtered for borrowers with LTV<=80, FICO>=700, and ex-NY. We chose 2017-18 production to analyze, to give sufficient time for loans to go chronically delinquent. We see a similar relationship in 2019 production, see RiskSpan for details.