Adjustable-Rate Mortgage ("ARM")

An ARM is an adjustable-rate residential mortgage loans that typically has an interest rate that adjust monthly to an increment over a specified interest rate index.


Short and long term secured loans provided by the 11 regional FHLBs to their members.


Refers to a federally chartered corporation, such as the Federal National Mortgage Association, or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, or an agency of the U.S. Government, such as the Government National Mortgage Association.

Agency RMBS

Issued residential mortgage-backed securities which have the principal and interest guaranteed by a federally chartered corporation.


Liquidation of a debt through installment payments. Amortization also refers to the process of systematically reducing a recognized asset or liability (e.g., a purchase premium or discount for a debt security) with an offset to earnings.

Basis Point ("bps")

One hundredth of one percent, used in expressing differences in interest rates. One basis point is 0.01% of yield. For example, a bond’s yield that changed from 2.50% to 3.00% would be said to have moved 50 basis points.


The written evidence of debt, bearing a stated rate or stated rates of interest, or stating a formula for determining that rate, and maturing on a date certain, on which date and upon presentation a fixed sum of money plus interest (usually represented by interest coupons attached to the bond) is payable to the holder or owner; For purposes of computations tied in to “per bond,” a $1,000 increment of an issue is used (no matter what the actual denominations are); Bonds are long-term securities with an original maturity of greater than one year.


Generic name for a securities firm engaged in both buying and selling securities on behalf of customers or its own account.


An interest rate cap is a series of European interest call options (called caplets), with a particular interest rate, each of which expire on the date the floating loan rate will be reset. At each interest payment date the holder decides whether to exercise or let that particular option expire. In an interest rate cap, the seller agrees to compensate the buyer for the amount by which an underlying short-term rate exceeds a specified rate on a series of dates during the life of the contract. Interest rate caps are used often by borrowers in order to hedge against floating rate risk.


Securities, cash or property pledged by a borrower or party to a derivative contract to secure payment of a loan or derivative. If the borrower fails to repay the loan or defaults under the derivative contract, the secured party may take ownership of the collateral.

Collateralized Mortgage Obligation ("CMO")

A multi-class bond backed by a pool of mortgage pass-through securities or mortgage loans.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC")

An independent U.S. federal agency established by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974. The CFTC regulates the swaps, commodity futures and options markets. Its goals include the promotion of competitive and efficient futures markets and the protection of investors against manipulation, abusive trade practices and fraud.

Constant Prepayment Rate ("CPR")

The percentage of outstanding mortgage loan principal that prepays in one year, based on annualizing the Single Monthly Mortality, which reflects the outstanding mortgage loan principal that prepays in one month.

Core Earnings

Represents a non-GAAP financial measure and is defined as net income (loss) available to common stockholders excluding net realized and unrealized gain (loss) on investments, net realized and unrealized gain (loss) on derivative instruments, and net unrealized gain (loss) on FHLBC Advances.


One of two entities in a transaction. For example, in the bond market a counterparty can be a brokerdealer, a state or local government or a corporation.


The interest rate on a bond that is used to compute the amount of interest due on a periodic basis

Counterparty Risk

Risk to earnings, capital or business, resulting from an obligor’s or counterparty's failure to meet the terms of any contract or otherwise failure to perform as agreed. Counterparty risk is present in lending, investing, funding and hedging activities.

Current Face

The current remaining monthly principal on a mortgage security. Current face is computed by multiplying the original face value of the security by the current principal balance factor.


Person or organization that underwrites, trades and sells securities, e.g., a principal market-maker in securities.


A financial product that derives its value from the price, price fluctuations and price expectations of an underlying instrument, index or reference pool (e.g. interest rate swaps, interest rate caps and certain TBA Securities).

Discount Price

Short and long term secured loans provided by the 11 regional FHLBs to their members.

Drop Income

Drop Income is the difference between the spot price and the forward settlement price for the same security on trade date. This difference is also the economic equivalent of the assumed net interest margin (yield minus financing costs) of the bond from trade date to settlement date.


The weighted maturity of a fixed-income investment’s cash flows, used in the estimation of the price sensitivity of fixed-income securities for a given change in interest rates.

Economic Interest Expense

Non-GAAP financial measure that is composed of GAAP interest expense adjusted for realized gains or losses on interest rate swaps used to hedge cost of funds.

Economic Net Interest Income

Non-GAAP financial measure that is composed of GAAP net interest income adjusted for realized gains or losses on interest rate swaps used to hedge cost of funds.

Single Monthly Mortality

Percentage of the principal amount of mortgages that are prepaid in a given month.

Face Amount

The par value (i.e., principal or maturity value) of a security appearing on the face of the instrument.

Factor Calls

Margin calls under repurchase agreements that occur each month and relate to the timing difference between the reduction of principal balances of our Agency RMBS due to monthly principal prepayments on underlying mortgages, and receipt of the corresponding cash.

Fannie Mae ("FNMA")

Federal National Mortgage Association.

Federal Reserve Bank ("Fed")

The central bank of the United States. The Federal Reserve Bank was founded by the U.S. Congress in 1913 to provide the nation with a safe, flexible and stable monetary and financial system.

Federal Funds Rate

In the United States, the Federal Funds Rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions (banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight, on an uncollateralized basis.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC")

An independent agency created by the U.S. Congress to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation's financial system by insuring deposits, examining and supervising financial institutions for safety and soundness and consumer protection, and managing receiverships.

Federal Housing Administration ("FHA")

The Federal Housing Administration, generally known as "FHA", provides mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United States and its territories. FHA insures mortgages on single family and multifamily homes including manufactured homes and hospitals.

Federal Home Loan Banks ("FHLB")

U.S. Government-sponsored banks that provide liquidity to member financial institutions to support housing finance and community investment.

Federal Housing Financing Agency ("FHFA")

The FHFA is an independent regulatory agency that oversees vital components of the secondary mortgage market including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks.


Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

A mortgage featuring level monthly payments, determined at the outset, which remain constant over the life of the mortgage.

Floating Rate

Any interest rate that changes on a periodic basis. The change is usually tied to movement of an outside indicator, such as the LIBOR interest rate.

Freddie Mac

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.


Accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Ginnie Mae

Government National Mortgage Association.


The percentage amounts by which the collateral value exceeds the amount borrowed. This percentage amount reflects the underlying risk of the specific collateral and protects the counterparty against a change in its value.


An investment made with the intention of minimizing the impact of adverse movements in interest rates or securities prices.

Hedge Ratio

The ratio of swap and cap notional to repo borrowings and FHLBC Advances.

Hybrid Adjustable-Rate Residential Mortgage ("ARM")

Hybrid adjustable-rate residential mortgage loans that have interest rates that are fixed for a specified period of time and, thereafter, generally adjust annually to an increment over a specified interest or index.

Interest Rate Risk

The risk that an investment's value will change due to a change in the absolute level of interest rates, in the spread between two rates, in the shape of the yield curve or in any other interest rate relationship. As market interest rates rise, the value of current fixed income investment holdings declines. Diversifying, deleveraging and hedging techniques are utilized to mitigate this risk. Interest rate risk is a form of market risk.

Interest Rate Swap

A binding agreement between counterparties to exchange periodic interest payments on some predetermined dollar principal, which is called the notional principal amount. For example, one party will pay fixed and receive a variable rate.

Investment Company Act

The Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.

International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) Master Agreement

Standardized contract developed by ISDA, under which bilateral derivatives contracts are entered into.


Calculated by dividing (i) the Company's repurchase agreements and FHLBC Advances balance plus payable for securities purchased minus receivable for securities sold plus the net TBA Derivative positions by (ii) stockholders' equity.

Leverage Ratio

Government National Mortgage Association.

London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR")

The rate banks charge each other for short-term Eurodollar loans. LIBOR is frequently used as the base for resetting rates on floating-rate securities and the floating-rate legs of interest rate swaps.

Liquidity Risk

Risk to earnings, capital or business arising from our inability to meet our obligations when they come due without incurring unacceptable losses because of inability to liquidate assets or obtain adequate funding.

Market Risk

Risk to earnings, capital or business resulting in the decline in value of our assets caused from changes in market variables, such as interest rates, which affect the values of residential investment securities and other investment instruments.

Master Agreement

An agreement between two parties specifying the terms that will govern multiple transactions.

Monetary Policy

Action taken by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve system to influence the money supply or interest rates.

Mortgage-Backed Security ("MBS")

A security representing a direct interest in a pool of mortgage loans. The pass-through issuer or servicer collects the payments on the loans in the pool and "passes through" the principal and interest to the security holders on a pro rata basis.

Net Interest Income

Represents interest income earned on our portfolio investments, less interest expense paid for borrowings.

Notional Amount

A stated principal amount in a derivative contract on which the contract is based.

Original Face

The face value or original principal amount of a security on its issue date.

Over-The-Counter ("OTC") Market

A securities market that is conducted by dealers throughout the country through negotiation of price rather than through the use of an auction system as represented by a stock exchange.


Price equal to the face amount of a bond, 100%.

Par Value

The principal amount of a bond or note due at maturity. Also known as par amount.

Pass Through Security

The securitization structure where a GSE or other entity “passes” the amount collected from the borrowers every month to the investor, after deducting fees and expenses.


A collection of mortgage loans assembled by an originator or master servicer as the basis for a security.


The amount by which the price of a security exceeds its principal amount. When the dollar price of a bond is above its face value, it is said to be selling at a premium.


The unscheduled partial or complete payment of the principal amount outstanding on a mortgage loan or other debt before it is due.

Prepayment Risk

The risk that falling interest rates will lead to heavy prepayments of mortgage or other loans, forcing the investor to reinvest at lower prevailing rates.

Principal and Interest

The term used to refer to regularly scheduled payments or prepayments of principal and payments of interest on a mortgage or other security.

Repurchase Agreements or "repo borrowings"

The sale of securities to investors with the agreement to buy them back at a higher price after a specified time period; a form of short-term borrowing. For the party on the other end of the transaction (buying the security and agreeing to sell in the future) it is a reverse repurchase agreement.

Residential Mortgage Backed Securities ("RMBS")

RMBS refers to whole-pool residential mortgage pass-through securities collateralized by residential mortgage loans; agency securities or Agency RMBS refers to our RMBS that are issued or guaranteed by a federally chartered corporation, such as "Fannie Mae" or "Freddie Mac", or an agency of the U.S. government, such as the "Ginnie Mae".

Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC")

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a government commission created by U.S. Congress with goals of protecting investors, maintaining fair and orderly functioning of securities markets, and facilitating the capital formation. The SEC promotes full public disclosure, protects investors against fraudulent and manipulative practices in the market, and monitors corporate takeover actions in the United States.

Secondary Market

Ongoing market for bonds previously offered or sold in the primary market.

Single Monthly Mortality

Percentage of the principal amount of mortgages that are prepaid in a given month.

TBA Derivatives

TBA contracts with no contractual obligation to accept or make delivery.

To-Be-Announced ("TBA Securities")

A contract for the purchase or sale of a mortgage-backed security to be delivered at a predetermined price, face amount, issuer, coupon and stated maturity on an agreed-upon future date but does not include a specified pool number and number of pools.

Unencumbered Assets

Assets on our balance sheet which have not been pledged as collateral against an existing liability.

U.S. Government-Sponsored Enterprise ("GSE") Obligations

Obligations of Agencies originally established or chartered by the U.S. government to serve public purposes as specified by the U.S. Congress, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; these obligations are not explicitly guaranteed as to the timely payment of principal and interest by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

U.S. Treasury

Debt securities issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

Valuation Calls

Margin calls under repurchase agreements that occur due to market and interest rate movements.


A statistical measure of the variance of price or yield over time. Volatility is low if the price does not change very much over a short period of time, and high if there is a greater change.

Weighted-Average Coupon ("WAC")

The weighted-average interest rate of the underlying mortgage loans or pools that serve as collateral for a security, weighted by the size of the principal loan balances.

Weighted-Average Life ("WAL")

The assumed weighted-average amount of time that will elapse from the date of a security’s issuance until each dollar of principal is repaid to the investor. The WAL will change as the security ages and depending on the actual realized rate at which principal, scheduled and unscheduled, is paid on the loans underlying the MBS.


Whole pools refer to mortgage certificates where ownership is represented by an undivided interest in entire pools of mortgages.


The expected rate of return of a bond if it is held to its maturity date. It is calculated by taking into account the current market price, stated redemption value, coupon payments and time to maturity and assuming all coupons are reinvested at the same rate and is equivalent to the internal rate of return.