How aggressive have banks been with loan price competition as they seek to add mortgages to their books, asks Redwood Trust (RWT +0.8%) management in its must-read Redwood Review. During Q3, some were offering 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at more than 25 basis points less than conforming rates, when typically these are 25 bps higher.
"We have never witnessed jumbo loan pricing quite like this," says Redwood, and it's particularly curious why banks would want long-duration assets just at the time when rates look to be headed higher. The answer is an abundance of liquidity and a desire for loan and interest income growth trumping the potential consequences down the road. "It is difficult to estimate how long this condition might persist."
Last night, Redwood reported taxable EPS of $0.24 and book value slipping $0.04 to $14.65 in Q3 after payment of a $0.28 dividend.