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Where Does the Money Come From for Mortgage Loans?

In the olden days, when someone wanted a home loan they walked downtown to the neighborhood bank or savings & loan. If the bank had extra funds lying around and considered you a good credit risk, they would lend you the money from their own funds.

It doesn’t generally work like that anymore. Most of the money for home loans comes from three major institutions:

  • Fannie Mae (FNMA - Federal National Mortgage Association)
  • Freddie Mac (FHLMC - Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)
  • Ginnie Mae (GNMA - Government National Mortgage Association)

This is how it works:

You talk to practically any lender and apply for a loan. They do all the processing and verifications and finally, you own the house with a home loan and regular mortgage payments. You might be making payments to the company who originated your loan, or your loan might have been transferred to another institution. The institution where you mail your payments is called the servicer, but most likely they do not own your loan. They are simply servicing your loan for the institution that does own it.

What happens behind the scenes is that your loan got packaged into a pool with a lot of other loans and sold off to one of the three institutions listed above. The servicer of your loan gets a monthly fee from the investor for servicing your loan. This fee is usually only 3/8ths of a percent or so, but the amount adds up. There are companies that service over a billion dollars of home loans and it is a tidy income.

At the same time, whichever institution packaged your loan into the pool for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or Ginnie Mae, has received additional funds with which to make more loans to other borrowers. This is the cycle that allows institutions to lend you money.

What Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, and Fannie Mae may do after they purchase the pools is break them down into smaller increments of $1,000 or so, called mortgage-backed securities. They sell these mortgage-backed securities to individuals or institutions on Wall Street. If you have a 401K or mutual fund, you may even own some. Perhaps you have heard of Ginnie Mae bonds? Those are securities backed by the mortgages on FHA and VA loans.

These bonds are not ownership in your loan specifically, but a piece of ownership in the entire pool of loans, of which your loan is only one among many. By selling the bonds, Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae obtain new funds to buy new pools so lenders can get more money to lend to new borrowers.

And that is how the cycle works.

So when you make your payment, the servicer gets to keep their tiny part and the majority is passed on to the investor. Then the investor passes on the majority of it to the individual or institutional investor in the mortgage backed securities.

From time to time your loan may be transferred from the company where you have been making your payment to another company. They aren’t selling your loan again, just the right to service your loan.

There are exceptions.

Loans above $333,700 do not conform to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines, which is why they are called non-conforming loans, or “jumbo” loans. These loans are packaged into different pools and sold to different investors, not Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Then they are securitized and for the most part, sold as mortgage backed securities as well.

This buying and selling of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities is called mortgage banking, and it is the backbone of the mortgage business.

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Assist-2-Sell, Your Choice Realty
1355 Airbase Rd.
Mountain Home, ID 83647
Phone: 208-587-9111
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"Highly recommend Melissa as a seller's agent! As long distance home owners with renters living in the house, we certainly didn't have the ideal situation for selling a home. She handled EVERYTHING to make the process as seamless as possible. We had great communication and she was willing to do whatever it took to get our home sold-- working with the renters, arranging repairs, etc. Melissa quickly sold a home we hadn't laid eyes on in 7 years. We couldn't be more pleased with our choice to hire Melissa as our agent." eschore5
Our family was growing but unfortunately our home wasn't. When my wife and I finally made the decision to sell and build a new home there were all lot of choices for our real estate needs. Some brokers wanted 5% and others 6% to sell our home. That to us seemed unreasonable. We worked hard to build up equity over time and didn't want to give nearly a third of it to a Realtor. I then got in contact with Susan Richelieu at Assist 2 Sell. Susan told us that she could sell our home at a significantly lesser rate and offer the same full service assistance as all other realtors in town. Hard to believe, right? To be completely honest, she was wrong, because she wasn't just as good as other realtors in town...SHE WAS BETTER!! Susan did an amazing job marketing our home and she even found the buyer. She did everything and stayed in constant communication with us so that we were never left in the dark. We had an accepted offer within 2 months! The best part is she saved us over $5000 in real estate fees. All of that money went back in our pocket and into our new home. Thank you Susan for representing my family. You truly are the best in the business. Matt and Michelle Chandler
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