Global securitization enroute to pre-Covid heights

– Abhirup Ghosh (

The pandemic disrupted life economies across the globe, and so did it to securitization transactions. However, increase in vaccinations across the globe has had a positive impact on the most of the structured finance markets world-wide, but potential new variants continue to be a threat.

This write-up reviews the performance of securitization across the major jurisdictions.

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Global Securitisation Markets in 2020: A Year of Highs in the midst of Turmoil

-Vinod Kothari (

[Revised March 2021]

Even as the pandemic disrupted life and economies across the globe, securitisation activity in different countries scaled new highs, at least in certain asset classes.

Securitisation in USA

Agency and non-agency RMBS

Agency RMBS was the star performer, at least in terms of new issuance volumes. Data available till Nov 2020 suggests that the new issuance volumes for 2020 will be about double of what it was in 2019, and the highest ever achieved in history. There are two reasons primarily responsible, of which the first one is quite obvious – historically low mortgage rates, particularly for refinancing activity. Second reason is that during the pandemic, there was extensive use of technology in mortgage origination and documentation, which led to far faster and simpler turnarounds for the borrowers.

Non-agency RMBS, however, is expected to end about 40% lower than 2019 volumes. Origination levels were halted because of shut-downs and the prevailing economic situation. Lenders put caution on the forefront as 30-day delinquencies continued to soar up.

Figure 1: US RMBS Issuance [By author, based on SIFMA data]

As may be clear, the issuance of agency MBS in 2020 was almost double of last year, whereas as non-agency securities were 45% lower or almost half of the number in 2019.

Asset-backed securities

The issuance volumes across all other classes of asset backed securities were down – from about 6% in case of auto-ABS to about 90% in case of credit cards ABS.

Figure 2: ABS issuance in USA

The CLO market was among the asset classes very badly affected, with the 2020 issuance less than 40% of the number in 2019. The decline in origination volumes of asset classes like credit cards is attributed to tighter lending standards by banks, and of course, lesser spending by individuals on travel or amusement, due to lock down.

Securitisation in Europe

Euro area will end with a GDP contraction estimated at 7.7% in 2020[1].

As per data prepared by AFME, new issuance in 2020 in Europe was down by about 11.9% compared to 2019[2].

EU regulators proposed some amendments to securitisation regulations, by amending Capital Requirements Regulations. “Securitisation can play an important role in enhancing the capacity of institutions to support the economic recovery, providing for an effective tool for funding and risk diversification for institutions. It is therefore essential in the context of the economic recovery post COVID-19 pandemic to reinforce that role and help institutions to be able to channel sufficient capital to the real economy.”[3] Accordingly, three amendments are proposed to securitisation regulatory framework: more risk-sensitive treatment for STS on-balance-sheet securitisation; removal of regulatory constraints to the securitisation of non-performing exposures; and recognition of credit risk mitigation for securitisation positions.

Figure 3: European securitisation issuance

Securitisation in China

Securitisation in China is expected to be about 10-15% lower than the volumes in 2019. A report from S&P recorded first half of 2020 to be almost the same as first half of 2019, but given the concerns and tightened lending by banks, it is expected that lower RMBS issuance will keep overall issuance levels low in 2020[4].

Figure 4: Securitisation Issuance in China – from S&P report

Securitisation in India

Indian securitisation statistics are typically collated on April-March basis. For Q2, Q3 and Q4 of calendar year 2020, securitisation activity [in Indian parlance, securitisation also includes bilateral portfolio transfers, called direct assignment] was highly subdued, as shadow-banking entities which are the major originators of transactions had stopped lending due to the prevailing lock-down. In addition, there were moratoriums imposed by the RBI whereby payments under existing loans were permitted to be withheld for a period of 5 months.

However, once the lockdowns have gradually been lifted, there is a very strong resurgence of economic activity. The Govt. had provided a sovereign guarantee for an additional 20% lending on existing lending facilities, subject to limits. While the non-banking financial entities are not needing significant funding by way of securitisation, there is a strong investor appetite.

This period has also been associated with defaults or credit events by some of the originators, and sale of the ABS investments held by some mutual funds. Hence, the market has seen servicer transitions, as also tested the (il)liquidity of investments in securitisation transactions.

Rating activity

As may be expected, there have been major rating actions during the year as performance of most asset classes was disrupted due to the pandemic. Rating agency S&P reported 2551 structured finance rating actions, which included 1950 downgrades owing to the impact of the pandemic[5]. Moody’s, in a report, states that once Covid-led payment holidays abate, there will be increasing pressures on retail-focused ABS transactions. RMBS transactions, consumer ABS etc are likely to see rising delinquencies.

Moody’s also forecasts the default rates in non-investment grade corporates to increase to 9.7% (trailing average of 12 months) by March, 2021. This will be the highest default rate after 2009. This will result into substantial pressure on CLOs.[6]


[1] Moody’s estimate






Link to related articles:


FAQs on restructuring of securitised loans

– Kanakprabha Jethani, Ass. Manager



The first half of this financial year came with lots of schemes to “apparently” support the financial sector during this time of crisis starting from moratoriums, restructuring, interest subvention and so much more. All these schemes were then adorned with an extension of their time limits, so much that at one point the borrower would altogether tend to forget he has an outstanding liability with some lender.

While the credit risk is an issue lenders cannot ignore, they also cannot ignore the fact that a huge chunk of their borrowers are not going to or will not be able to pay. Considering this, they are bound to allow moratoriums and offer restructuring benefits to them.

A lending transaction is between the lender and the borrower. Providing benefits such as moratorium, restructuring etc. is a matter of agreement between the two. However, in certain cases where there is an involvement of external parties, such as in the case of securitisation or direct assignment of a loan pool, practical dfficulties may arise.

The following FAQs intend to answer the basic questions regarding providing the restructuring benefit to borrowers of loans that have been securitised/assigned by the originator.

Stage1: While contemplating the decision to provide benefit of the schemes

1.     Can the originator provide such benefit?

The originator retains/invests in a very small portion of the portfolio. The rest of it is sold off to the assignee/SPV. The moment an originator sells off the assets, all its rights over the assets stand relinquished. However, after the sale, it assumes the role of a servicer. Legally, a servicer does not have any right to confer any relaxation of the terms to the borrowers or restructure the facility.

Therefore, if at all the originator/ servicer wishes to extend moratorium to the borrowers, it will have to first seek the consent of the investors or the trustees to the transaction, depending upon the terms of the assignment agreement.

On the other hand, in the case of the direct assignment transactions, the originators retain only 10% of the cash flows. The question here is, will the originator, with a 10% share, be able to grant moratorium? The answer again is No. With just 10% share in the cash flows, the originator cannot suo-moto grant moratorium, hence, approval of the assignee has to be obtained.

2.     Is approval of investors required?

As discussed above, when an asset is securitised/assigned, the investor becomes the ultimate owner of the asset to the extent of his/her investment in the said asset. Hence, any change in the terms of the loan impacts the rights/liabilities of such investors. Hence, the investors, being the actual owners of the asset, must agree to offer the benefit of any restructuring, moratorium etc.

As for schemes which provide an additional/separate credit facility to the existing borrower such as ECLGS scheme[1], such facilities are treated as separate facilities and are not linked with the existing loans (the one which is securitised). Hence, in such cases, the approval of the investor or trustee shall not be required. However, it is recommended that a NOC is obtained from the investor or trustee to the effect that the originator is providing the additional funding based on the existing lending exposure on the borrower.

3.     How will the approval be obtained ?

The investors may decide on the manner of providing approval. The originator, in the capacity of the investor (to the extent of retention in the transaction), may propose and initiate the process and obtain approval of other investors.

4.     Is it mandatory for the investor to approve?

The investors, like in any other investment, has the right to consider their benefits and losses and accordingly decide on whether to approve. Further, investors may also give conditional approvals, say a change in payout structure, alteration of interest rate etc., considering the increased risk and the fact that investor is, for the time being, foregoing its returns.

5.     What happens if investors do not agree?

In case the investors do not agree, no benefit of restructuring/moratorium can be provided to the borrower. But, considering the liquidity crunch in the economy, it is very likely that the borrower will fail to pay the loan instalments, thereby resulting in reduced cashflows from the borrower. However, in case the investors did not agree to grant restructuring benefits and amend the payout structure, they will have to be paid. This would call for the credit support to be utilised. Over time, when credit enhancement is utilised, the rating of the PTCs may be downgraded.

6.     What happens if investors agree?

In case the investors agree for providing the benefit to the borrower, the same shall come be put into effect by a revision in payout structure for the investors. The payout structure will be revised as per the terms of restructuring or moratorium as the case may be.

7.     What happens with the remaining investors if the majority  agrees?

The assignment agreement usually provides the nature of approval required to amend the payment terms- either majority or else 100% of the investor, either in number or in value (usually 100%). Hence, in case the majority has agreed, the rest of the investors shall have to bear the outcome of moratorium/restructuring.

Implementation stage:

8.     What will be the immediate impact on investors agreeing to provide the benefit?

When the investors agree for providing any such benefits, they simultaneously agree for an added arrangement concerning the payout structure. Hence, the immediate impact shall be on the cashflows arising out of the underlying assets.

9.     What will be the impact on the agreed payout structure?

The payouts may be reduced or deferred or structured in any other way as per the restructuring terms.

10. Can the investors in a securitisation transaction agree for moratorium/restructuring but not for reschedulement or recomputation of payout structure?

In case the investors agree for moratorium/restructuring, such approval would inherently come with reschedulement or recomputation of the payout structure. This is because, if moratorium/restructuring benefit is provided, the cashflows on the underlying asset would be impacted. This, in turn, would affect the cashflows in the securitisation transaction. Hence, when agreeing to provide the benefit to the borrower, investors must bear in mind that there would be a simultaneous change in their payout structure as well.

11. Can the credit enhancements be used to make payments to the investors in case they have agreed to provide the benefit?

Credit enhancements are utilised usually when there is a shortfall due to credit weakness of the underlying borrower(s). In case the investor have agreed for the restructuring, consequently the payout structure must have also been revised and hence, avoiding any default leading to utilisation of the credit enhancement. Irrespective of granting the restructuring benefit,  if there is still default, though credit enhancements can be utilised, however, it will reduce the extent of support, weaken the structure of the transaction and may lead to rating downgrade.

12. What will be the impact on the rating of the transaction?

Usually, any delays in payout, defaults etc. lead to a downgrade in the rating of the transaction. However, here it is important to consider that in a securitisation or a direct assignment, the transaction mirrors the quality of the underlying pool. Now, in case of moratorium, there will be a standstill on asset classification and in case of restructuring, the asset classification will be upgraded to standard. Hence, there is no impact on the credit quality of the underlying asset.

If the credit quality of the loans remain intact, then there is no question of the securitisation or the direct assignment transaction going bad. Therefore, we do not see any reason for rating downgrade as well.

Further, the SEBI had on March 30, 2020, issued a circular[2] directing rating agencies to not consider delays/defaults caused due to COVID disruption, as a default event for the purpose of rating.

After implementation:

13. What will be the impact in the books of the investor?

In case of securitisation, the income will be booked by the investor as per the revised payout structure. In case of direct assignment, the assignee shall take the impact of restructuring in its books. Say, in case there is a reduction in interest rate, the asset must be booked at such revised interest rate in the books.

14. What will be the impact on asset classification and provisioning for such loans?

In case of moratorium, the asset classification will be on a standstill for the period for which moratorium is granted. After the moratorium period is over, the asset classification as per IRAC norms shall be applied. Further, as per the RBI guidelines for moratorium[3], additional provisions shall be required to be maintained.

In case of restructuring, the asset classification shall be on the revised loan, as per the IRAC norms.

15. Who will be required to maintain additional provisions?

Usually, investors maintain provisions corresponding to the PTCs held by them. The asset classficiation and provisioning is done on the basis of payout from such PTCs. Similarly, any additional provision that is required to be maintained, shall be maintained by the investor corresponding to the value of PTCs held.

Further, in the case of DA,both the assignee and assignor shall maintain the provisions, in their respective share of interest in the loan.

16. Suppose, after restructuring, the borrowers still fails to pay as per the restructured terms, what will be the impact on the rating?

In case the borrower fails to repay as per the restructured terms, it is a case of default beyond the moratorium/restructuring allowed by the RBI. This would result in a downgrade in the quality of the underlying asset. Hence, it is quite probable that the rating of the transaction may downgrade.

17. In case there is a rating downgrade, can the size of classes/tranches be changed?

The prime motivation for tranching a securitisation transaction is to obtain high rating for atleast a part of the transaction. Hence, the upper class, say class A, gets the maximum amount of credit support and is sized in a manner that it is able to get superior rating.

Now, when there is a threat of rating downgrade, the size of classes/tranches cannot be changed to maintain the rating. It is crucial to consider that the rating is allotted based on the structure of the transaction and not the other way round.

Hence, if at all, the originator intends to maintain the rating to the transaction, it may introduce further credit support to the transaction, but the size of classes should not be changed.


[1] Refer our write-up on


[3] Refer:

Electronic Mortgages: Towards a new trend in paperless mortgage lending

– Vinod Kothari

Paperless lending based on e-agreements and electronic documentation seems to be the future. The mortgage market is seeing the emergence of electronic mortgage note called ENotes. ENotes, which are issued as electronic negotiable instruments, have become popular in the US mortgage market. The COVID pandemic has given strong push the popularity of contactless and paperless lending format in the mortgage market too.

Like the transfer of shares and bonds world-over has been replaced by demat trades, the replacement of paper mortgages may be replaced by electronic version, sooner than one can imagine.

Electronic documentation has been given legal validity in most countries world-over. The USA passed the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) way back in 2000, and Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (commonly known as the ESIGN Act) in the year 2000. Most countries have similar enabling laws[1]. These laws grant legal validity to electronic mortgage documentation too. Armed with this power, US national mortgage depository MERS® introduced electronic mortgages almost 16 years ago[2].  The Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization® (MISMO) eMortgage Community of Practice was formed in 2001 to develop standards for efficient eMortgage processes, transactions, and XML data protocol. However, eNotes surged during the pandemic months. It is reported that by end of May, 2020, there were 597,139 eNotes, with the numbers for Q1 of 2020 being 300% of the corresponding quarter in the previous year.

Concept of ENotes

The typical mortgage creation process in US practice, based on a loan for purchase of a house (“purchase money loan”) involves the creation of promissory note whereby the borrower passes possession/control of property documents to the lender, for the purpose of securing a loan. If the mortgage is transferred by the original lender, the promissory note is “indorsed” to the transferee. Under the ENote format, the mortgage is electronically signed and registered with MERS. The electronic mortgage is stored in an electronic vault maintained by MERS[3]. As the mortgage changes hands by way of transfer of the mortgage, the original lender’s name is replaced by transferee – as would have happened in case of dematerialised shares.

UETA and E-Sign laws facilitated the creation of electronic negotiable instruments by the concept of “transferable records”, which was intended to be an electronic version of the mortgage promissory note[4]. The transferable record methodology involves a depository called “controller” of the note, who is responsible for recording, registering and evidencing the transfers of interest in the note.

Judicial recognition of ENotes

Rulings such as New York Community Bank v. McClendon, 29 N.Y.S.3d 507 (N.Y. App. Div. 2016), and Rivera v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 189 So. 3d 323, 329 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2016) have recognised the right of an assignee of an eNote in taking foreclosure action. Courts have held that the assignee needs to establish that it is either the controller of the authoritative copy of the ENote or is the beneficiary thereof, and produces the paper trail of the transfers leading up to the right of the assignee.

Market acceptability of ENotes

Fannie Mae[5] and Ginnie Mae[6] started accepting ENotes. Ginnie Mae has started accepting ENotes only recently and as part of the initial phase, issuers may apply to participate as e-Issuers and begin securitizing government-backed mortgages comprised of digital collateral with Ginnie Mae approval.

However, it is stated that the real push to ENotes came in 2018 when Quicken Loans initiated a complete process of end-to-end electronic mortgage closing, called e-closing[7]. Quicken Loans launched a digital mortgage product called Rocket Mortgage, in November, 2015, presumably one that allows closing a mortgage in less than 10 minutes. In less than 2 years, Quicken Loans became the largest mortgage lender in the USA.

Remote Notarisation – the other part of the digital mortgage eco-system

To prove that a document is authentic in all its aspects, notarization is necessary. The new system of Remote Online Notarization (“RON”) was adopted back in 2010.

RON typically allows documents to be notarized in electronic form with the signer signing with an electronic signature and appearing before a commissioned electronic notary online via audio-video technology. This allows anyone with an Internet connection to get documents signed and notarized online.

This process has several benefits in terms of security and fraud prevention. RON has had growing acceptance in the US.

It is said that before Covid-19, ENotes were growing at a modest pace as the industry collaborated on solutions to facilitate broader adoption, including acceptance of RON[8].

Other Benefits of ENotes

Apart from the benefits already discussed above, the growing acceptance of ENotes has much to do with several other benefits as well, such as, reducing the operational costs, faster turnaround times, faster signing process, improved data quality and validation, etc.

These give ENotes the push towards a completely paperless mortgage process apart from the convenience factor.


Considering the more than $9 trillion size of US mortgage industry, digital mortgage lending is still a long way to go. Digital mortgages are still less than 5% of the total mortgage originations, whereas digital personal loans are close to 60% of the total loan originations.

The growing acceptance of ENotes is certainly providing the push required from the traditional to a completely “e” driven mortgage process.

[1] The eIDAS Regulation (Electronic Identification and Authentication and Trust Services) is the e-sign law in the EU. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is a similar law in Canada. The Electronic Transactions Act 1999 is the governing law in Australia.

[2] Refer to

[3] For a white paper on the ENote methodology, see here:

[4] See section 15 of UETA





Evolution of securitisation – Genesis of MBS

Securitisation as a concept, has a history of over 50 years. In this write up, the author traces the events leading up to the evolution of securitisation in 1970 with the issuance of the first MBS program by Ginnie Mae.

Fifty years of global securitisation – list of chapters

List of chapters for the anthology on fifty years of global securitisation –

Go back to fifty years of securitisation page.

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Fifty years of global securitization

Vinod Kothari

Some people love it; some love to hate it, and some just live it. No matter which one of the clubs one belongs to, but there is no doubt that securitization is a major financial phenomenon.

Year 2020 marks 50 years of the inaugural mortgage-backed pass-through transaction done in 1970 by Ginnie Mae. Securitization has turned fifty.

The world is not in exactly right environment to do either a champagne party or otherwise – however, one should not gloss over the massive change that securitization has made, to the financial landscape of the world, over these five decades. Irrespective of the jury verdict on whether it was responsible for the Global Financial Crisis, the fact is that it had such a major impact that its short-lived absence from the scene could put world’s financial system into doldrums. And now, there are regulators’ reports looking at this very instrument with optimism to lead the recovery out of the COVID disruption.

To commemorate 50 years of securitization, we propose to bring an anthology of write-ups by senior securitization professionals, particularly those who have seen its boom and bust. The write-ups may be along the following lines:

  • Historical write-ups, recounting the development of early MBS by the agencies, the way it was perceived then and major economists’ remarks about this instrument
  • Contribution of securitization to mortgage markets globally, particularly in mortgage availability and affordability
  • Contribution of securitization to financial inclusion, making smaller and community lenders reach out to capital markets through larger intermediaries
  • Securitization and emerging markets
  • Lessons learnt from the GFC and how regulatory systems have evolved thereafter
  • Legal robustness of securitization – has it proved itself over decades of crises?
  • Off-balance securitization – development of accounting standards over the years, and does off-balance sheet securitization have any relevance left?
  • Significant risk transfers and capital relief
  • Market reports from major countries.

List of Chapters

For a work-in-progress list of Chapters, see here.

Publication details

The anthology is proposed to be a compilation in e-book form. We will be in touch with some publishers to seek interest in publication.

Structure of the Chapters

The anthology will be collaborative effort of several leading authors, experts, researchers and practitioners from all over the world. Each of the contributors are leading luminaries in their own field. So while substantial discretion will be used by the contributors, some pointers for contributors are as follows:

  • This e-book will hopefully have a very long shelf-life. Hence, the stance of the write-ups is not contemporaneous state of the market. Rather, the write-ups trace developments over time, to identify trends. The contributors deploy their wisdom to think of the trends that will continue, wither away, or strengthen. The commemorative is all about continuity and change.
  • We are wanting to minimise current market data or statistics, for reasons discussed above.
  • Each of the write-ups may provide a larger, macro view before narrowing down on micro aspects.
  • One of our very important objectives is to have the contribution of securitization to development of financial markets, financial inclusion, stability and robustness of systems, etc. It is not merely a historical account, but an important document on lessons to be learnt, and to provide a place from where one may look at the decades to come.
  • For scholars/practitioners who have been watching the industry grow over the years, if there are details of one’s personal association with the industry – as to how it developed and changed over time – that may of interest to readers. This may be added with generalisation of the market.

Invitation for contributions

Needless to say, it is a massive project – it has to be collaborative. We need the support of scholars, authors, stakeholders – those who have been practising, teaching, consulting or regulating securitization over the years. Hence, if you are one such contributor, or you know one who may be such a contributor, your contribution/assistance is most welcome.

For interest in contribution to the anthology, please do write to Please indicate your background, proposed contents, length of the article, etc. After hearing from us positively, you may start writing your article, for submissions by end of August, 2020.

Sponsoring/advertising opportunities

From our side, this project is completely non-pecuniary. We just felt that we can steer this effort which may be valuable for a long time.

However, this project will involve massive research effort, editing, and production. Hence, there may be substantial expense.

If you want to sponsor in any manner, or want to put up a befitting advertisement about your company/products, the same is welcome. Please feel free to discuss with

Timeline for publication

Tentatively, we may put the e-publication in public domain by November, 2020.

High Level Forum (EU) makes recommendations to further boost securitisation market

Data shows that the European securitisation market never rebounded after the 2008 crisis, even after the implementation of STS framework. Securitisation however, plays a key role in boosting the capital markets. This role has been recognised by the High Level Forum (EU) in its final report released on 10th June, 2019.

Seven recommendations were made by the HLF with respect to securitisation. The intent is to ultimately boost securitisation markets and help it pick up in the years to come.

In this write up, the author attempts to explain in brief the recommendations with respect to securitisation of the High Level Forum.

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