While recent market upheavals have U.S. investors bailing out of foreign stocks, Freddie Mac has continued its efforts to bring more overseas investors into this country.
The company is looking to increase sales to central banks and foreign institutional investors, which have appetites for higher-yielding, non- credit-sensitive assets.
"The market opportunities are there," said Raymond A. Redlingshafer Jr., Freddie Mac's national director for securities marketing.
Foreign buyers hold about 10% of mortgage investments and that percentage is growing, industry consultants said.
Traders now talk of receiving "3 a.m. wake-up calls" from foreign investors whose days are already well under way, Mr. Redlingshafer said.
Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae also said they are seeing interest from foreign investors. Certain Ginnie Mae securities are enjoying popularity with Asian investors, said George Rose, securities marketer at the agency.
Fannie Mae, which scans international markets to find investors for its mortgage-backed securities, is also making a big push oversees to sell the company's debt, said Gene A. Spencer, vice president for mortgage securities investor marketing.
To increase direct dealings with Wall Street, PNC Bank Corp. is stoking the furnace of its in-house mortgage securitization unit.
The unit, operated by PNC Mortgage Corp., registered last month to package $3 billion of mortgage loans into securities. The filing, in conjunction with earlier registrations, would let PNC securitize about $5 billion of mortgages.
"We've had a lot of activity this year," said Alexander T. Topping Jr., senior vice president of PNC Mortgage Securities, Vernon Hills, Ill.
All told, PNC will issue more than $3 billion of mortgage securities in 1997 and will have capacity to begin 1998. Last year the company securitized about $1 billion of mortgages in-house, Mr. Topping said.
With the step up, PNC is joining a growing number of banks that are increasing their direct dealings with Wall Street. In-house operations like those operated by Countrywide Credit Industries and Norwest Mortgage are seen as ways of retaining more control and potentially more fee income than by selling the loans through outside conduits.
Operating in-house "as a stand-alone business is financially attractive," Mr. Topping said. "This gives us a direct access to the capital markets."
The PNC conduit handles loans that - because of size or credit considerations - cannot be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. About 15% of the nonconforming loans come from PNC's own retail network of 116 mortgage offices.
The balance are bought from outside originators to produce the volume that makes conduits cost-effective, Mr. Topping said. Indeed, it's common for each deal to package $100 million or more of mortgages, investment bankers said.
PNC does a lot of its securitization business through Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, one of Wall Street's largest distributors of mortgage securities.