Home » Share Market » Understanding Mortgage Putback

Understanding Mortgage Putback

The term “mortgage” denotes a strategic loan an individual secures to purchase or maintain real estate, including homes and land. Upon entering into this agreement, the borrower commits to remit regular payments over time that differentiate between principal and interest. Real estate functions as collateral, ensuring the security of the loan.

Several requirements necessitate your fulfillment for mortgage approval. Upon successful approval, you might secure a mortgage. This enables access to the real estate that captured your interest. Nevertheless, specific scenarios may warrant the retraction of an already-approved mortgage application. A mortgage putback becomes relevant against this backdrop. Keep reading to get a comprehensive understanding of history of mortgage putbacks. 

What is a mortgage putback?

Now you may ask, what is mortgage putback? A mortgage putback, also termed a buyback, represents the mandatory repurchase of a mortgage by its originator. The loan’s initial creator is obligated to repurchase it from the entity that holds its security. For instance, an institutional investor, when we discuss mortgages. This course of action primarily manifests within the context of Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS).

Most commonly, a mortgage putback is necessitated when the findings reveal fraudulent or faulty origination documents misrepresenting either the mortgagor’s creditworthiness or the property’s appraised value.

Understanding a mortgage putback

Investors can consider mortgage-backed security (MBS) as an investment akin to bonds. It comprises a portfolio of home loans purchased from their original issuing banks. These home loans undergo repackaging into one comprehensive security, available for investor acquisition. Notably, the periodic payments that MBS investors receive mirror bond coupon disbursements. An investor receives the payments from an MBS, which represents the mortgage payments homeowners make on their loans.

The original mortgage lender operates as the mortgage originator; a mortgage broker or a banker can fulfil this role. In some instances, these originators package multiple mortgages together. This is an action known as grouping. Then, they sell their stake in those investments to various investors. 

Lenders engage in this practice to realize an instant payout, eliminate the risk of buyer defaults, and unburden their balance sheet for writing additional mortgage loans to new buyers; meanwhile, investors who purchase these mortgages garner payments from borrowers throughout loan life. This operation is known as selling Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS).

When an investor perceives a problem with one or more underlying mortgages in the MBS, they initiate a mortgage putback. This issue could affect the payment stream for the MBS investor. As a mortgage putback example, the borrower defaults on their loan. Suppose an investor believes that misrepresentation of a mortgage aspect, or even a package of mortgages, has adversely affected their investment. In that case, they can assertively demand its return through what is known as ‘mortgage putback.’ The loan originator must buy back the mortgage in response to demand, thus mitigating the investor’s risk.

What is the difference between a mortgage and a mortgage-backed security?

You may be wondering about the difference between mortgage and mortgage-backed security.

A mortgage is a loan that a prospective homeowner takes out to fund the purchase of a property. Most properties are more expensive than a person can purchase in cash. To acquire a home, a person must borrow money from a bank. The money borrowed is a mortgage. 

A mortgage-backed security (MBS) is a type of financial asset, similar to a bond, that is made up of many mortgages packaged together. An investor will buy an MBS from a bank as an investment, just like a bond or stock, and will receive mortgage payments as an income stream, or return on investment. 

Importance of mortgage putbacks

Mortgage putbacks are an essential instrument for investors looking to safeguard their interests and ensure they get the profits they want. By requiring the lender to return a faulty mortgage, investors can limit their losses while holding the lender accountable for any misrepresentations or failure to fulfil requirements. Putbacks also encourage openness and accountability in the mortgage business by motivating lenders to use competent underwriting methods.

Risks and considerations

Mortgage putbacks may be an effective tool for investors, but they are not without hazards. Initiating a putback can be time-consuming and costly, and there is no certainty that the investor will succeed in compelling the lender to buy the loan. Putbacks can also strain the relationship between the investor and the lender, sometimes leading to legal issues or reputational harm. Investors should weigh the costs and advantages of seeking a putback and obtain legal and financial counsel before making any choices.

Factors to remember when considering mortgage putbacks

 When considering mortgage putbacks, there are several important factors to take into account:

  1. Representations and Warranties: Mortgage lenders usually assert and guarantee the quality and characteristics of loans they sell to investors or securitize; these actions trigger a putback obligation when such commitments are breached.
  2. Underwriting Defects: Errors in income calculation, property valuation, or failure to adhere strictly to underwriting guidelines constitute underwriting defects. These deficiencies may provoke putback demands from investors or trustees.
  3. Documentation Errors: Incomplete or missing documentation, including absent notes, assignments, or title policies. These also can incite putback requests due to their deficiencies.
  4. Fraud: If the evidence points towards fraudulent misrepresentations or actions during the origination or underwriting process, investors can potentially demand a loan buyback from the lender.
  5. Repurchase Provisions: The governing agreements, such as pooling and servicing agreements or mortgage loan purchase agreements, dictate the specific repurchase provisions. These provisions establish under what conditions demands for putbacks can be made.
  6. Statute of Limitations: The duration for submitting a putback demand after loan origination or sale might be subject to jurisdictional and alleged breach nature’s specific time limits, often known as statutes of limitations.
  7. Loan Performance: In some mortgage putback example, even without specific underwriting defects, high delinquency rates or poor loan performance can instigate putback demands.
  8. Indemnification Obligations: Lenders might bear indemnification obligations to investors or trustees. These arise from losses sustained due to breaches of representations and warranties.
  9. Settlement Dynamics: The putback resolution can significantly impact the negotiation process and settlement dynamics between the lender, investor, or trustee. This underscores Settlement Dynamics.
  10. Regulatory Environment: Agencies such as the Department of Justice or state attorneys general, through their investigations and regulatory actions, can influence putback demands and resolutions.

Final note

Mortgage putbacks may be a valuable instrument for investors looking to safeguard their interests and guarantee they obtain the expected profits. However, they are not risk-free and should only be undertaken after careful consideration and expert guidance. Understanding mortgage putbacks, how they function, and what aspects to consider allows investors to make educated decisions that encourage openness, accountability, and justice in the mortgage business.


What are common reasons for mortgage putback demands?

Underwriting defects, documentation errors, fraud during the origination process, breaches of representations and warranties, and poor loan performance typically provoke putback demands. The governing agreements–such as pooling and servicing agreements or mortgage loan purchase agreements–usually outline specific triggers.

Who can initiate a mortgage putback?

Typically, investors or trustees who purchase mortgage-backed securities (MBS) or whole loans initiate mortgage putbacks. These entities hold the right to demand that the originating lender repurchases defective loans upon meeting certain conditions.

What is the process for resolving mortgage putback disputes? 

The lender, investor, or trustee often engages in negotiations as part of the resolution process for putback disputes. Should a settlement remain elusive, legal action or arbitration may become an avenue pursued by these parties. Governing agreements’ specific provisions and the influence of applicable laws and regulations determine both the procedure involved and potential remedies available.

What are the potential consequences of mortgage putbacks for lenders?

Lenders can experience substantial financial consequences due to mortgage putbacks. The potential requirement for them lies in repurchasing defective loans at their outstanding principal balance, increased by any accrued interest and fees. Moreover, indemnification obligations may confront lenders because of losses suffered by investors or trustees. Putbacks can also lead to reputational damage and regulatory scrutiny for the lender.

What is a mortgage repurchase?

The term “mortgage repurchase” is interchangeable with “mortgage putback.” This occurs when investors in a Mortgage-Backed Security (MBS) request that the original mortgage originator repurchase the loan due to perceived issues related to its initial approval by the bank.

Enjoyed reading this? Share it with your friends.

Post navigation

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *