Chimera Investment Corporation (CIM) Finally Breaks Its Silence: Annaly Capital Management, Inc. (NLY)

Page 1 of 2

Chimera (CIM) Lives to Fight Another DayAt the end of last week, Chimera Investment Corporation (NYSE:CIM) finally broke its silence. For over a year, the high-yielding mortgage REIT had kept investors largely in the dark about its financial condition and performance, releasing only cursory updates about its GAAP and economic book values in lieu of its quarterly and annual financial filings. The reticence had gotten so bad that on three occasions, it had to request permission from the NYSE to allow its stock to continue trading on the exchange.

The issue, as we learned last August, was that Chimera Investment Corporation (NYSE:CIM) had incorrectly accounted for the deterioration in its non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities portfolio, which makes up roughly 75% of the company’s holdings. By doing so since its inception in 2007, it had overstated its net income by a factor of nearly three. But critically, the impact on its balance sheet and thus book value was neutral.

For a time, this led analysts, including me, to question the integrity of Chimera Investment Corporation (NYSE:CIM)’s executive team. Fueling my concerns was the fact that both its chief executive officer and chief financial officer are related, respectively, to a director and executive at Annaly Capital Management, Inc. (NYSE:NLY) , Chimera’s manager. The implication being that nepotism as opposed to merit was behind both their positions and seven-figure salaries.

But after combing through Chimera Investment Corporation (NYSE:CIM)’s 2011 10-K, which was filed belatedly last Friday, I’ve concluded that the issue appears rather to be one of competence and not integrity. And specifically, competence about the manner in which credit-impaired non-agency MBSes should be treated for accounting purposes. Bear with me for a bit, and you’ll see what I mean.

Painting with a very broad brush, there are two sets of rules that a financial company like Chimera Investment Corporation (NYSE:CIM) uses to account for MBSes. The first set governs agency MBSes — that is, MBSes that are either issued or otherwise backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. On the balance sheet, if these are characterized as available for sale, as they are on most REIT balance sheets, then they are held at fair value. Any deterioration in value, which is bound to be minimal assuming the security wasn’t egregiously overpaid for, is typically recorded as other comprehensive income (loss), or “OCI.” And on the income statement, the amount of interest recorded over the life of the security is equal to the contractual cash flows of the security and the accretion/amortization of any purchase discount or premium.

The operative word in the rule governing interest income on agency MBSes is “contractual.” Because the interest payments on agency MBSes are implied to be insured by the full faith and credit of the United States, outside of prepayment risk, it’s effectively safe to presume that all such payments will be made. The amount of interest accrued each month, in turn, is a function of the contractual — and not the actual or expected — cash flows of the security and thus the underlying mortgages. In addition, because the principal is similarly guaranteed, the magnitude of any other-than-temporary impairment to the security’s value, or “OTTI,” is narrowly constrained.

This is notably not the case with non-agency MBSes, which are governed by different rules for accounting purposes. On the balance sheet, like agency MBSes, if these are characterized as available for sale, then they are held at fair value. If the value of a security does deteriorate, however, and the deterioration is recognized on the income statement as an OTTI, then the corresponding amount is debited from equity via the retained earnings/accumulated deficit line item. On the income statement, meanwhile, the amount of interest recorded over the life of the security is equal to the amount and timing of cash flows expected to be collected. Additionally, if there is a negative change in expected cash flows, then an OTTI equal to the adverse change must also be recorded.

Page 1 of 2
blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 44 percentage points in 21 months Learn how!

Lists

The Top 10 States With Fastest Internet Speeds

10 Best Places to Visit in USA in August

Top 10 Cities to Visit Before You Die

Top 10 Genetically Modified Food In the US

15 Highest Grossing Movies Opening Weekend

5 Best Poker Books For Beginners

10 Strategies Hedge Funds Use to Make Huge Returns

Top 10 Fast Food Franchises to Buy

10 Best Places to Visit in Canada

Best Summer Jobs for Teachers

10 Youngest Hedge Fund Billionaires

Top 10 One Hit Wonders of the 90s

Fastest Growing Cities In America

Top 10 U.S. Cities for Freelancers

Top 9 Most Popular Free iPhone Apps

Top 10 Least Expensive Private Business Schools in the US

Top 15 Most Expensive Countries in the World – 2014

Top Businesses to Invest In

Top 5 Things You Might Be Doing Wrong With Your Business

Top 5 Strategic Technology Trends in 2014

Top Rags to Riches Stories

Parenting Behavior That Promotes Future Leaders

Top 5 Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

Top 5 Most Common and Potentially Devastating Financial Blunders

Top 5 Highest Paying Jobs for Web Designers

Top 6 Most Respected Professions that Also Pay Well

Top 5 Pitfalls Investors Should Avoid

Top 6 Lawyers and Policy Makers Under 30

Top 6 New Year’s Resolutions for Entrepreneurs

Top 7 Locations to Check in on Facebook

Top 5 Mistakes made by Rookie eBay Sellers

Top 7 eBook Publishers in 2013

Top 6 Health Industry Trends in 2014

5 Lessons for Entrepreneurs from Seth Godin

Top 5 Success Tips from Jordan Belfort – the Wolf of Wall Street

Best Master’s in Finance Degree Programs

Top 6 Earning Celebrities Over 50

The most expensive sports to play

Top 7 Earning Celebrities Under 25

Best 7 Online Courses to Take: Free Finance MOOCs

Top 6 Bad Habits that Promote Failure

20 Most Valuable Soccer Teams in the World in 2013

12 Most Expensive Countries for Foreign Students

Top 30 Most Influential Women in the World

Top 20 Most Expensive New Year Eve Shows

Top 5 Best Vocational Careers

Top 10 Jobs for 2014 by Salary Gain (Predictions)

Top 5 Digital Trends for 2014

Top 6 Things You Can Do To Increase Your Productivity

Top 9 Trending Smartphones in 2013

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!