With fears mounting that the GSEs may soon alter servicing compensation in a significant way, at least one Wall Street firm is making the rounds offering a 'sale leaseback' deal to some of the nation's largest holders of MSRs, ASR sister publication National Mortgage News (NMN) has learned.
According to secondary market advisors familiar with the concept, a transaction would work like this: the MSR owner would sell a large portion of its portfolio, cashing out of the asset, but remaining as the subservicer.
Hedge or investment funds are being lined up as potential investors with a Wall Street firm facilitating such a transaction as a broker.
However, at this point, it's unclear which Street firm is talking up the concept, or which of the nation's megaservicers have been approached. (As reported by NMN several months back, JPMorgan Chase has already off loaded at least $40 billion in MSRs to the servicing affiliate of IBM. But IBM is the servicer of the loans, not JPM.)
"The Street has approached a few different servicing firms," said one advisor, requesting his name not be used because of the sensitivity of the topic. He added that "Under the structure we were told about, a big multiple was being offered."
The "big multiple" refers to the price of MSRs based on a multiple of the servicing fee. (The minimum servicing fee on a GSE loan is 25 basis points.)
Because of the housing bubble and foreclosure crisis prices being offered for seasoned MSR portfolios are weak at three-times the servicing fee or much less. Only new product trades higher.