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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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Melissa Oliver was such a delight to work with, she had such a great energy and realism about her. And she walked us through the process every step of the way. And always had our best interest at heart. We trusted her advise and insight she really know what its all about. We are so glad she was there for us and would use her again if needed. Mimi Rajnak
What a great buying experience!! Melissa and the "O" team were amazing and we can't give them enough praise for their efforts. They were very quick to respond to our needs and were on top of the process the whole way. We found the home of our dreams and we have the "O" team to thank!! Visit their office, you wont be disappointed. Josh R.
Melissa is a Real Estate professional serving the Mother Lode Communities with top quality service and expertise. Her understanding of the local market is second to none and her ability to help buyers and sellers both is outstanding. Thanks you Melissa, for being a part of my experience. Rick Daniel
Definitely recommend Melissa and her team..great real estate agent!!! Sylvie Williams
Melissa has come though for me in all my real estate needs..Always going far beyond my expectations!!! She knows the area like the back of her hand...Should be anyones first choice here in the Motherlode! John Chiarpotti
Very knowledgeable and experienced. Would strongly recommend her to anyone with any real estate needs. Hands down the best Realtor in the county! Jacob Ramsey
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