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The failure of supervisory stress testing: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and OFHEO

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Abstract

Stress testing has recently become a critical risk management and capital planning tool for large financial institutions and their supervisors around the world. However, the one prior U.S. experience tying stress test results to capital requirements was a spectacular failure: the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight's (OFHEO) risk-based capital stress test for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We study a key component of OFHEO's model—30-year fixed-rate mortgage performance—and find two key problems. First, OFHEO had left the model specification and associated parameters static for the entire time the rule was in force. Second, the house price stress scenario was insufficiently dire. We show how each problem resulted in a significant underprediction of mortgage credit losses and associated capital needs at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the housing bust.

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  • Frame, W. Scott & Gerardi, Kristopher S. & Willen, Paul S., 2015. "The failure of supervisory stress testing: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and OFHEO," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2015-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2015-03
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    1. W. Scott Frame & Andreas Fuster & Joseph Tracy & James Vickery, 2015. "The Rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 25-52, Spring.
    2. Christopher L. Foote & Kristopher S. Gerardi & Paul S. Willen, 2012. "Why did so many people make so many ex post bad decisions? the causes of the foreclosure crisis," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2012-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    3. Nothaft, Frank E & Pearce, James E & Stevanovic, Stevan, 2002. "Debt Spreads between GSEs and Other Corporations," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2-3), pages 151-172, Sept.-Dec.
    4. Wayne Passmore, 2005. "The GSE Implicit Subsidy and the Value of Government Ambiguity," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 465-486, September.
    5. Rajdeep Sengupta, 2010. "Alt-A: the forgotten segment of the mortgage market," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 55-72.
    6. Yongheng Deng & John M. Quigley & Robert Van Order, 2000. "Mortgage Terminations, Heterogeneity and the Exercise of Mortgage Options," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 275-308, March.
    7. Donald P. Morgan & Stavros Peristiani & Vanessa Savino, 2014. "The Information Value of the Stress Test," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(7), pages 1479-1500, October.
    8. Joseph Gyourko & Joseph Tracy, 2013. "Unemloyment and Unobserved Credit Risk in the FHA Single Family Mortgage Insurance Fund," NBER Working Papers 18880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. W. Scott Frame, 2010. "Estimating the effect of mortgage foreclosures on nearby property values: a critical review of the literature," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    10. Ben S. Bernanke, 2010. "The supervisory capital assessment program -- one year later," Proceedings 1133, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    11. Ambrose, Brent W & Warga, Arthur, 2002. "Measuring Potential GSE Funding Advantages," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2-3), pages 129-150, Sept.-Dec.
    12. Danis, Michelle A. & Pennington-Cross, Anthony, 2008. "The delinquency of subprime mortgages," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 67-90.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Transparent stress tests?
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2016-09-26 17:22:36
    2. Regulatory Discretion and Asset Prices
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2017-05-22 16:54:21
    3. Ensuring Stress Tests Remain Effective
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2018-01-22 13:00:51

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    Cited by:

    1. An, Xudong & Cordell, Lawrence R., 2017. "Regime Shift And The Post-Crisis World Of Mortgage Loss Severities," Working Papers 17-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    2. Hirtle, Beverly & Kovner, Anna & Vickery, James & Bhanot, Meru, 2016. "Assessing financial stability: The Capital and Loss Assessment under Stress Scenarios (CLASS) model," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 69(S1), pages 35-55.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bank supervision; stress test; model risk; residential mortgages; government-sponsored enterprises;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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