Residential Mortgage-Backed Security (RMBS)

Definition of 'Residential Mortgage-Backed Security (RMBS)'


A type of mortgage-backed debt obligation whose cash flows come from residential debt, such as mortgages, home-equity loans and subprime mortgages. A residential mortgage-backed security is comprised of a pool of mortgage loans created by banks and other financial institutions. The cash flows from each of the pooled mortgages is packaged by a special purpose entity into classes and tranches, which then issues securities  and can be purchased by investors.

Investopedia explains 'Residential Mortgage-Backed Security (RMBS)'


Residential mortgage-backed securities and commercial mortgage-backed securities serve as the foundation for other financial instruments, such as collateralized mortgage obligations (CMO). Their complexity depends on the income provided to investors and the amount of risk that investors assume. A pass-through style of RMBS allows an investor to receive a share of interest and principal payments, while a CMO may have a structure that allows investors to assume more risk but also potentially more return.

Investing in a residential-mortgage backed security can expose the investor to prepayment risk and credit risk. Prepayment risk is the risk that the mortgage holder will pay back the mortgage before its maturity date, which reduces the amount of interest the investor would have otherwise received. Prepayment, in this sense, is a payment in excess of the scheduled principal payment. This situation may arise if the current market interest rate falls below the interest rate of the mortgage, since the homeowner is more likely to refinance the mortgage.

Residential mortgage-backed securities are considered one of the precipitating factors in the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Investors in RMBS and other mortgage-backed derivatives were exposed to an increase in foreclosures and falling home prices, as well as falling interest rates. 



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Quanto Swap

    A swap with varying combinations of interest rate, currency and equity swap features, where payments are based on the movement of two different countries' interest rates. This is also referred to as a differential or "diff" swap.
  2. Genuine Progress Indicator - GPI

    A metric used to measure the economic growth of a country. It is often considered as a replacement to the more well known gross domestic product (GDP) economic indicator. The GPI indicator takes everything the GDP uses into account, but also adds other figures that represent the cost of the negative effects related to economic activity (such as the cost of crime, cost of ozone depletion and cost of resource depletion, among others).
  3. Accelerated Share Repurchase - ASR

    A specific method by which corporations can repurchase outstanding shares of their stock. The accelerated share repurchase (ASR) is usually accomplished by the corporation purchasing shares of its stock from an investment bank. The investment bank borrows the shares from clients or share lenders and sells them to the company.
  4. Microeconomic Pricing Model

    A model of the way prices are set within a market for a given good. According to this model, prices are set based on the balance of supply and demand in the market. In general, profit incentives are said to resemble an "invisible hand" that guides competing participants to an equilibrium price. The demand curve in this model is determined by consumers attempting to maximize their utility, given their budget.
  5. Centralized Market

    A financial market structure that consists of having all orders routed to one central exchange with no other competing market. The quoted prices of the various securities listed on the exchange represent the only price that is available to investors seeking to buy or sell the specific asset.
  6. Balanced Investment Strategy

    A portfolio allocation and management method aimed at balancing risk and return. Such portfolios are generally divided equally between equities and fixed-income securities.
Trading Center