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HTS > SEC Filings for HTS > Form 10-Q on 30-Apr-2013All Recent SEC Filings

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Form 10-Q for HATTERAS FINANCIAL CORP


30-Apr-2013

Quarterly Report


Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

In this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, we refer to Hatteras Financial Corp. as "we," "us,""our company," or "our," unless we specifically state otherwise or the context indicates otherwise. The following defines certain of the commonly used terms in this quarterly report on Form 10-Q: "MBS" refers to mortgage-backed securities; and "agency securities" refer to our residential MBS that are issued or guaranteed by a U.S. Government sponsored entity, such as the Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae") or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("Freddie Mac"), or an agency of the U.S. Government, such as the Government National Mortgage Association ("Ginnie Mae"); "ARMs" refer to adjustable-rate mortgage loans which typically either 1) at all times have interest rates that adjust periodically to an increment over a specified interest rate index; or 2) have interest rates that are fixed for a specified period of time and, thereafter, generally adjust annually to an increment over a specified interest rate index.

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our financial statements and accompanying notes included in Part 1, Item 1 of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q as well as our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") on February 20, 2013.

Forward-Looking Statements

When used in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, in future filings with the SEC or in press releases or other written or oral communications, statements which are not historical in nature, including those containing words such as "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "plan," "continue," "intend," "should," "may" or similar expressions, are intended to identify "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), and, as such, may involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions.

The forward-looking statements in this report are based on our beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future performance, taking into account all information currently available to us. These beliefs, assumptions and expectations are subject to risks and uncertainties and can change as a result of many possible events or factors, not all of which are known to us. If a change occurs, our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations may vary materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements. The following factors could cause actual results to vary from our forward-looking statements: changes in our investment financing and hedging strategy; the adequacy of our cash flow from operations and borrowings to meet our short-term liquidity requirements; the liquidity of our portfolio; unanticipated changes in our industry, the credit markets, the general economy or the real estate market; changes in interest rates and the market value of our agency securities; changes in the prepayment rates on the mortgage loans securing our agency securities; our ability to borrow to finance our assets; changes in government regulations affecting our business; our ability to maintain our qualification as a real estate investment trust ("REIT") for federal income tax purposes; our ability to maintain our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the "Investment Company Act"); and risks associated with investing in real estate assets, including changes in business conditions and the general economy. These and other risks, uncertainties and factors, including those described in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, including those set forth under the section captioned "Risk Factors" in our quarterly and current reports that we file with the SEC, could cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements we make. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made. New risks and uncertainties arise over time and it is not possible to predict those events or how they may affect us. Except as required by law, we are not obligated to, and do not intend to, update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Overview

We are an externally-managed mortgage REIT that invests primarily in single-family residential mortgage pass-through securities guaranteed or issued by a U.S. Government agency (such as


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Ginnie Mae), or by a U.S. Government-sponsored entity (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). We refer to these securities as "agency securities." We were incorporated in Maryland in September 2007 and commenced operations in November 2007. We listed our common stock on the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") in April 2008 and trade under the symbol "HTS."

We are externally-managed and advised by our manager, Atlantic Capital Advisors
LLC.

We are organized and conduct our operations to qualify as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Code"), and generally are not subject to federal taxes on our income to the extent we distribute our income to our shareholders and maintain our qualification as a REIT.

Our principal goal is to generate net income for distribution to our shareholders, through regular quarterly dividends, from the difference between the interest income on our investment portfolio and the interest costs of our borrowings and hedging activities, which we refer to as our net interest income, and other expenses. In general, our strategy is to manage interest rate risk while trying to eliminate any exposure to credit risk. We believe that the best approach to generating a positive net interest income is to manage our liabilities in relation to the interest rate risks of our investments. To help achieve this result, we employ repurchase financing, generally short-term, and combine our financings with hedging techniques, relying primarily on interest rate swaps. We may, subject to maintaining our REIT qualification, also employ other hedging instruments from time to time, including buying and selling futures, interest rate caps, collars and swaptions to protect against adverse interest rate movements.

We focus on agency securities consisting of mortgage loans with short effective durations, which we believe limits the impact of changes in interest rates on the market value of our portfolio and on our net interest income. However, because our investments vary in interest rate, prepayment speed and maturity, the leverage or borrowings that we employ to fund our asset purchases will never exactly match the terms or performance of our assets, even after we have employed our hedging techniques. Based on our manager's experience, the interest rates of our assets will change more slowly than the corresponding short-term borrowings used to finance our assets. Consequently, changes in interest rates, particularly short-term interest rates, may significantly influence our net income and shareholders' equity.

Our manager's approach to managing our portfolio is to take a longer term view of assets and liabilities; accordingly, our periodic earnings and mark-to-market valuations at the end of a period will not significantly influence our strategy of providing stable cash distributions to shareholders over the long term. Our manager has invested and seeks to invest in agency securities that it believes are likely to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns on capital invested, after considering (1) the amount and nature of anticipated cash flows from the asset, (2) our ability to borrow against the asset, (3) the capital requirements resulting from the purchase and financing of the asset, and (4) the costs of financing, hedging, and managing the asset.

Our focus on asset selection is to own assets with short durations and predictable prepayment characteristics. Since our formation, all of our invested assets have been in agency securities, and we currently intend that our investment assets will continue to be agency securities. These agency securities currently consist of mortgages that have principal and interest payments guaranteed by Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. We invest in both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate agency securities. Adjustable rate mortgages ("ARMs") are mortgages that have floating interest rates that reset on a specific time schedule, such as monthly, quarterly or annually, based on a specified index, such as the 12-month moving average of the one-year constant maturity U.S. Treasury rate ("CMT") or the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR"). The ARMs we generally invest in, sometimes referred to as hybrid ARMS, have interest rates that are fixed for an initial period (typically three, five, seven or 10 years) and then reset annually thereafter to an increment over a pre-determined interest rate index. As of March 31, 2013, our portfolio consisted of approximately $26.4 billion in market value of agency securities, consisting of $23.8 billion of adjustable-rate securities and $2.6 billion of fixed rate securities.


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The following table represents key data regarding our company since March 31, 2010:

(Dollars in thousands except per share amounts)

                                                                                                                                          Quarterly Weighted
                                                                  Repurchase                           Shares           Book Value         Average Earnings
             As of                   Agency Securities (1)        Agreements         Equity          Outstanding        Per Share             Per Share
March 31, 2013                      $            26,373,535      $ 22,586,932      $ 3,072,265             98,830      $      28.18      $               0.62
December 31, 2012                   $            24,648,140      $ 22,866,429      $ 3,072,864             98,822      $      28.19      $               1.02
September 30, 2012                  $            27,931,504      $ 23,583,180      $ 3,212,556             98,809      $      29.60      $               0.83
June 30, 2012                       $            24,535,118      $ 20,152,860      $ 2,692,261             98,074      $      27.45      $               0.91
March 31, 2012                      $            22,562,895      $ 16,556,630      $ 2,669,300             97,779      $      27.30      $               0.89
December 31, 2011                   $            18,146,767      $ 16,162,375      $ 2,080,188             76,823      $      27.08      $               0.92
September 30, 2011                  $            19,014,997      $ 15,886,231      $ 2,015,003             76,547      $      26.32      $               1.04
June 30, 2011                       $            16,678,511      $ 14,800,594      $ 2,006,606             75,092      $      26.72      $               1.04
March 31, 2011                      $            14,811,137      $ 11,495,749      $ 1,894,540             72,572      $      26.11      $               0.96
December 31, 2010                   $            10,418,764      $  8,681,060      $ 1,145,484             46,116      $      24.84      $               0.99
September 30, 2010                  $             9,581,916      $  6,678,426      $ 1,190,313             46,085      $      25.83      $               1.12
June 30, 2010                       $             7,651,266      $  5,982,998      $   965,619             37,388      $      25.83      $               1.01
March 31, 2010                      $             7,125,065      $  6,102,661      $   929,433             36,472      $      25.48      $               1.21

(1) Includes unsettled purchases and forward commitments to purchase agency securities.

Factors that Affect our Results of Operations and Financial Condition

Our results of operations and financial condition are affected by various factors, many of which are beyond our control, including, among other things, our net interest income, the market value of our assets and the supply of and demand for such assets. We invest in financial assets and markets, and recent events, including those discussed below, can affect our business in ways that are difficult to predict, and produce results outside of typical operating variances. Our net interest income varies primarily as a result of changes in interest rates, borrowing costs and prepayment speeds, the behavior of which involves various risks and uncertainties. Prepayment rates, as reflected by the rate of principal paydown, and interest rates vary according to the type of investment, conditions in financial markets, government actions, competition and other factors, none of which can be predicted with any certainty. In general, as prepayment rates on our agency securities purchased at a premium increase, related purchase premium amortization increases, thereby reducing the net yield on such assets. Because changes in interest rates may significantly affect our activities, our operating results depend, in large part, upon our ability to manage interest rate risks and prepayment risks effectively while maintaining our status as a REIT.

We anticipate that, for any period during which changes in the interest rates earned on our assets do not coincide with interest rate changes on our borrowings, such asset coupon rates will reprice more slowly than the corresponding liabilities used to finance those assets. Consequently, changes in interest rates, particularly short-term interest rates, may significantly influence our net interest income. With the maturities of our assets generally being longer term than those of our liabilities, interest rate increases will tend to decrease our net interest income and the market value of our assets (and therefore our book value). Such rate increases could possibly result in operating losses or adversely affect our ability to make distributions to our shareholders.

Prepayments on agency securities and the underlying mortgage loans may be influenced by changes in market interest rates and a variety of economic, geographic and other factors beyond our control; and consequently, such prepayment rates cannot be predicted with certainty. To the extent we have acquired agency securities at a premium or discount to par, or face value, changes in prepayment rates may impact our anticipated yield. In periods of declining interest rates, prepayments on our agency securities will likely increase. If we are unable to reinvest the proceeds of these prepayments at comparable yields, our net interest income may suffer. The current climate of government intervention in the mortgage market significantly increases the risk associated with prepayments.


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While we intend to use hedging to mitigate some of our interest rate risk, we do not intend to hedge all of our exposure to changes in interest rates and prepayment rates, as there are practical limitations on our ability to insulate our portfolio from all potential negative consequences associated with changes in short-term interest rates in a manner that will allow us to seek attractive net spreads on our portfolio.

In addition, a variety of other factors relating to our business may also impact our financial condition and operating performance. These factors include:

our degree of leverage;

our access to funding and borrowing capacity;

our borrowing costs;

our hedging activities;

the market value of our agency securities; and

the REIT requirements, the requirements to qualify for an exemption under the Investment Company Act and other regulatory and accounting policies related to our business.

Our manager is entitled to receive a management fee that is based on our equity (as defined in our management agreement), regardless of the performance of our portfolio. Accordingly, the payment of our management fee may not decline in the event of a decline in our profitability and may cause us to incur losses.

For a discussion of additional risks relating to our business see the section captioned "Risk Factors" in Part II, Item 1A of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, and in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012.

Market and Interest Rate Trends and the Effect on our Portfolio

Credit Market Disruption

Since 2007, the residential housing and mortgage markets in the United States have experienced a variety of difficulties and challenging economic conditions including historically high loan defaults and credit losses, as well as decreased liquidity. Recently, the financial weakness of some of the European Union sovereign nations has renewed concerns of the stability of financial systems worldwide. Further increased volatility and deterioration in the overall financial markets may adversely affect the performance and market value of the agency securities in which we invest. In addition, we rely on the availability of financing to acquire agency securities on a leveraged basis. If market conditions deteriorate further, our lenders may exit the repurchase market, further tighten lending standards, or increase the amount of equity capital (or "haircut") required to obtain financing, any of which could make it more difficult or costly for us to obtain financing.

Developments at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Payments on the agency securities in which we invest are guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because of the guarantee and the underwriting standards associated with mortgages underlying agency securities, agency securities historically have had high stability in value and have been considered to present low credit risk. In 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed under the conservatorship of the U.S. government due to the significant weakness of their financial condition. The turmoil in the residential mortgage sector and concern over the future role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the time generally increased credit spreads and decreased price stability of agency securities. In response to the credit market disruption and the deteriorating financial condition of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Congress and the U.S. Treasury undertook a series of actions in 2008 aimed at stabilizing the financial markets in general, and the mortgage market in particular. These actions include the large-scale buying of MBS, significant equity infusions into banks and aggressive monetary policy.


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In February 2011, the U.S. Treasury along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a report entitled "Reforming America's Housing Finance Market" to Congress outlining alternatives for reforming the U.S. housing system, specifically Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and transforming the government's involvement in the housing market. Other industry groups, such as the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association Home Builders, have also issued proposals outlining their views of the path for housing reform. It is unclear how future legislation may impact the housing finance market and the investing environment for agency securities, as the method of reform is undecided and has not yet been defined by the regulators. Without government support for residential mortgages, we may not be able to execute our current business model in an efficient manner.

On October 4, 2012, the Federal Housing Finance Authority (the "FHFA") released its white paper entitled "Building a New Infrastructure for the Secondary Mortgage Market" (the "FHFA White Paper"). This release follows up on the FHFA's February 21, 2012 Strategic Plan for Enterprise Conservatorships, which set forth three goals for the next phase of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conservatorships. These three goals are to (i) build a new infrastructure for the secondary mortgage market, (ii) gradually contract Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's presence in the marketplace while simplifying and shrinking their operations, and (iii) maintain foreclosure prevention activities and credit availability for new and refinanced mortgages.

The FHFA White Paper proposes a new infrastructure for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that has two basic goals. The first goal is to replace the current, outdated infrastructures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a common, more efficient infrastructure that aligns the standards and practices of the two entities, beginning with core functions performed by both entities such as issuance, master servicing, bond administration, collateral management and data integration. The second goal is to establish an operating framework for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that is consistent with the progress of housing finance reform and encourages and accommodates the increased participation of private capital in assuming credit risk associated with the secondary mortgage market. The FHFA recognizes that there are a number of impediments to their goals which may or may not be surmountable, such as the absence of any significant secondary mortgage market mechanisms beyond Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, and that their proposals are in the formative stages. As a result, it is unclear if the proposals will be enacted. If such proposals are enacted, it is unclear how closely what is enacted will resemble the proposals from the FHFA White Paper or what the effects of the enactment will be.

U.S. Treasury and Agency Securities Market Intervention

One of the main factors impacting market prices has been the U.S. Federal Reserve's programs to purchase U.S. Treasury and agency securities in the open market. On September 21, 2011, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced "Operation Twist," which is a program by which it purchased, by the end of December 2012, more than $650 billion of U.S. Treasury securities with remaining maturities between six and 30 years and sold an equal amount of U.S. Treasury securities with remaining maturities of three years or less. In December 2012, in an effort to keep long-term interest rates at low levels, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced an expansion of its asset buying program starting in January 2013, at which time it would commence outright purchases of longer-term U.S. Treasury securities at a pace of $45 billion per month. This new U.S. Treasury securities purchase program replaces "Operation Twist," which expired in December 2012. On January 30, 2013, the U.S. Federal Reserve affirmed its intention to continue this policy. By reducing the available supply of longer term U.S. Treasury securities in the market, these actions should put downward pressure on longer term interest rates, including rates on financial assets that investors consider to be close substitutes for longer term U.S. Treasury securities, like certain types of agency securities. The reduction in longer term interest rates, in turn, may contribute to a broad easing in financial market conditions that the U.S. Federal Reserve hopes will provide additional stimulus to support the economic recovery.

In September 2012, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a third round of "quantitative easing" aimed to improve the employment outlook and increase growth in the U.S. economy. To accomplish this goal, it announced that it would purchase at least $40 billion of agency securities per month on an "open-ended" timeline, in addition to the reinvestment of the proceeds of principal repayments from its existing MBS holdings. Additionally, it pledged to keep short-term interest rates near zero for an extended period of time.


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These programs have had many effects on our assets. One effect of these purchases has been an increase in the prices of agency securities, which has contributed to the decrease of our net interest margin. The unpredictability of these programs has also injected additional volatility into the pricing and availability of our assets. It is difficult to quantify the impact, as there are many factors at work at the same time which affects the price of our securities and, therefore, our yield and book value. Due to the unpredictability in the markets for our securities in particular and yield generating assets in general, there is no pattern that can be implied with any certainty. We believe the largest risk is that if the government decides to sell significant portions of its portfolio, then we may see meaningful price declines.

U.S. Government Credit Rating

The U.S. debt ceiling and budget deficit concerns in mid-2011 led to the downgrade by Standard & Poor's of the U.S. government's credit rating for the first time in history. Assets backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are considered to have the credit of the U.S. government, and thus were also downgraded at that time. While the other rating agencies have not downgraded the U.S. government's rating, if they were to do so it would likely impact the perceived credit risk associated with agency securities and, therefore, decrease the value of the agency securities in our portfolio. In addition, further downgrades of the U.S. government's credit rating or the credit ratings of certain European countries would likely create broader financial turmoil and uncertainty, which could have a serious negative impact on the global banking system. This could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Regulatory Concerns

We believe that we conduct our business in a manner that allows us to avoid being regulated as an investment company under the Investment Company Act pursuant to the exemption provided by Section 3(c)(5)(C) for entities that are primarily engaged in the business of purchasing or otherwise acquiring "mortgages and other liens on and interests in real estate." On August 31, 2011, the SEC issued a concept release (No. IC-29778; File No. SW7-34-11, Companies Engaged in the Business of Acquiring Mortgages and Mortgage-Related Instruments) pursuant to which it is reviewing whether certain companies that invest in MBS and rely on the exemption from registration under Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the Investment Company Act (such as us) should continue to be allowed to rely on such exemption from registration. If we fail to continue to qualify for this exemption from registration as an investment company, or the SEC determines that companies that invest in MBS are no longer able to rely on this exemption, our ability to use leverage would be substantially reduced and we would be unable to conduct our business as planned, or we may be required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act, either of which could negatively affect the value of shares of our common stock and our ability to make distributions to our shareholders.

Certain programs initiated by the U.S. Government, through the Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC"), to provide homeowners with assistance in avoiding residential mortgage loan foreclosures are currently in effect. The programs may involve, among other things, the modification of mortgage loans to reduce the principal amount of the loans or the rate of interest payable on the loans, or to extend the payment . . .

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