Circular
Federal Reserve Announces Certain High-Quality Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities Will Become Eligible Collateral under TALF
May 19, 2009
Circular No. 12097

The Federal Reserve Board has announced that, starting in July, certain high-quality commercial mortgage-backed securities issued before January 1, 2009 (legacy CMBS) will become eligible collateral under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF).

The CMBS market, which has financed approximately 20 percent of outstanding commercial mortgages, including mortgages on offices and multi-family residential, retail and industrial properties, came to a standstill in mid-2008. The extension of eligible TALF collateral to include legacy CMBS is intended to promote price discovery and liquidity for legacy CMBS. The resulting improvement in legacy CMBS markets should facilitate the issuance of newly issued CMBS, thereby helping borrowers finance new purchases of commercial properties or refinance existing commercial mortgages on better terms.

To be eligible as collateral for TALF loans, legacy CMBS must be senior in payment priority to all other interests in the underlying pool of commercial mortgages and, as detailed in the attached term sheet, meet certain other criteria designed to protect the Federal Reserve and the Treasury from credit risk. The New York Fed will review and reject as collateral any CMBS that does not meet the published terms or otherwise poses unacceptable risk.

Eligible newly issued and legacy CMBS must have at least two triple-A ratings from DBRS, Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service, Realpoint, or Standard & Poor’s and must not have a rating below triple-A from any of these rating agencies. More broadly, the Federal Reserve is formalizing procedures for determining the set of rating agencies whose ratings will be accepted for various types of eligible collateral in the Federal Reserve’s credit programs.

The initial subscription date for TALF loans collateralized by newly issued CMBS will be June 16, 2009. The subsequent subscription dates for TALF loans collateralized by newly issued and legacy CMBS will be announced in advance. The subscription date for loans collateralized by all other ABS will remain toward the beginning of the month.

See press release for full details.

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