With just $13-odd billion of issuance in 2013, private label residential mortgage backed securities remain a tiny niche of the $1.7 trillion market for housing finance. Participants at an ABS Vegas 2014 panel struggled to explain how this market could become relevant to a broader range of U.S. consumers, although they took pains to sound optimistic.

“Right now we hear institutional investor clients refer to private label as a boutique product,” said Philip Thigpen, a director at PricewaterhouseCoopers. With the Mortgage Bankers Association forecasting a drop in total originations this year to $1.2 trillion, he said, that might suggest issuance of private label RMBS will drop as well.

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