Impac Mortgage Holdings, Inc. (IMH) - Description of business

Company Description
           Unless the context otherwise requires, the terms "Company," "we," "us," and "our" refer to Impac Mortgage Holdings, Inc. (the Company or IMH), a Maryland corporation incorporated in August 1995, and its subsidiaries, IMH Assets Corp. (IMH Assets), Impac Warehouse Lending Group, Inc. (IWLG), and Impac Funding Corporation (IFC), together with its wholly-owned subsidiaries Impac Secured Assets Corp. (ISAC), and Impac Commercial Capital Corporation (ICCC).Forward-Looking Statements            This report on Form 10-K contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements, some of which are based on various assumptions and events that are beyond our control may be identified by reference to a future period or periods or by the use of forward-looking terminology, such as "may," "will," "believe," "expect," "likely," "should," "could," "anticipate," or similar terms or variations on those terms or the negative of those terms. The forward-looking statements are based on management expectations. Actual results may differ materially as a result of several factors, including, but not limited to, failure to achieve projected earnings levels; unexpected or greater than anticipated increases in credit and bond spreads; the ability to generate sufficient liquidity; the ability to access the equity markets; increased operating expenses and mortgage origination or purchase expenses that reduce current liquidity position more than anticipated; continued increase in price competition; risks of delays in raising, or the inability to raise on acceptable terms, additional capital, either through equity offerings, lines of credit or otherwise; the ability to generate taxable income and to pay dividends; interest rate fluctuations on our assets that unexpectedly differ from those on our liabilities; unanticipated interest rate fluctuations; changes in expectations of future interest rates; unexpected increase in prepayment rates on our mortgages; changes in assumptions regarding estimated loan losses or an increase in loan losses; continued ability to access the securitization markets or other funding sources, the availability of financing and, if available, the terms of any financing; changes in markets which the Company serves, such as mortgage refinancing activity and housing price appreciation; the adoption of new laws that affect our business or the business of people with whom we do business; changes in laws that affect our products and our business; and other general market and economic conditions.           For a discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see Item 1A "Risk Factors" and Item 7. "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" in this report. This document speaks only as of its date and we do not undertake, and specifically disclaim any obligation, to publicly release the results of any revisions that may be made to any forward-looking statements to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statements.Available Information            Our Internet website address is . We make available our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and proxy statement for our annual stockholders' meetings, as well as any amendments to those reports, free of charge through our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or "SEC." You can learn more about us by reviewing our SEC filings on our website by clicking on "Stockholder Relations" located on our home page and proceeding to "Financial Reports." We also make available on our website, under "Corporate Governance," charters for the audit, compensation, and governance and nominating committees of our board of directors, our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, our Corporate Governance Guidelines and other company information, including amendments to such documents and waivers, if any to our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics. These documents will also be furnished, free of charge, upon written request to Impac Mortgage Holdings, Inc., Attention: Stockholder Relations, 19500 Jamboree Road, Irvine, California 92612. The SEC also maintains a website at that contains reports, proxy statements and other information regarding SEC registrants, including the Company.General Overview            We are a mortgage real estate investment trust, or "REIT," that is a nationwide acquirer, originator, seller and investor of non-conforming Alt-A residential mortgages, or "Alt-A mortgages," and to a lesser extent, small-balance, commercial mortgages and multi-family, or "commercial mortgages." We also provide warehouse financing to originators of mortgages.           We operate four core businesses: • the Long-Term Investment Operations conducted by IMH and IMH Assets; • the Mortgage Operations conducted by IFC, and ISAC; • the Commercial Operations conducted by ICCC; and • the Warehouse Lending Operations conducted by IWLG.            The REIT (IMH) is comprised of the long-term investment operations and the warehouse lending operations. The Taxable REIT Subsidiaries (TRS) include the Mortgage Operations and Commercial Operations which are subsidiaries of the REIT.           The long-term investment operations primarily invest in adjustable rate and, to a lesser extent, fixed rate Alt-A mortgages and commercial mortgages that are acquired and originated by our mortgage and commercial operations. Alt-A mortgages are primarily first lien mortgages made to borrowers whose credit is generally within typical Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines, but have loan characteristics that make them non-conforming under those guidelines. Some of the principal differences between mortgages purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Alt-A mortgages are as follows: • credit and income histories of the mortgagor; • underwriting guidelines for debt and income ratios; • loan to value ratios accepted; • documentation required for approval of the mortgagor; and • loan balances in excess of maximum Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lending limits.            For instance, Alt-A mortgages may not have certain documentation or verifications that are required by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and, therefore, in making our credit decisions, we are more reliant upon the borrower's credit score and the adequacy of the underlying collateral. We believe that Alt-A mortgages provide an attractive net earnings profile by producing higher yields without commensurately higher credit losses than other types of mortgages. We believe Alt-A mortgages are normally subject to lower rates of loss and delinquency than subprime mortgages acquired and originated by the mortgage operations. As a result, our subprime mortgages normally bear a higher rate of interest and are typically subject to higher fees than Alt-A mortgages. In general, greater emphasis is placed upon the value of the mortgaged property and, consequently, the quality of appraisals, and less upon the credit history of the borrower in underwriting subprime mortgages than in underwriting Alt-A mortgages. We generally do not acquire or retain subprime mortgages. During 2006 subprime mortgages represented 0.04 percent of retentions, and 0.44 percent of acquisitions and originations. At December 31, 2006 subprime mortgages were 0.2 percent of the ending securitized mortgage collateral.           In general, we define subprime mortgages as residential mortgages made to borrowers with credit ratings less than 620, or other characteristics, that increase the credit risk, including previous late payments, shorter credit history or other derogatory credit patterns that increase the credit risk of the mortgage.           The long-term investment operations also invest in commercial mortgages that are primarily adjustable rate mortgages with initial fixed interest rate periods of two-, three-, five-, seven- and ten-years that subsequently convert to adjustable rate mortgages, or "hybrid ARMs." Commercial mortgages have interest rate floors, which arethe initial start rate, in some circumstances lock out periods and prepayment penalty periods of three-, five- seven- and ten-years. Commercial mortgages provide greater asset diversification on our balance sheet as borrowers of commercial mortgages typically have higher credit scores and commercial mortgages typically have lower loan-to-value ratios, or "LTV ratios," and longer average life to payoff than Alt-A mortgages.           The long-term investment operations generate earnings primarily from net interest income (expense) earned on mortgages held as securitized mortgage collateral and mortgages held-for-investment (long-term mortgage portfolio) and associated derivative cash flows. The long-term mortgage portfolio as reported on our consolidated balance sheet consists of mortgages held as securitized mortgage collateral and mortgages held-for-investment. Investments in Alt-A mortgages and commercial mortgages are initially financed with short-term borrowings under reverse repurchase agreements that are subsequently converted to long-term financing in the form of securitized mortgage borrowings. Cash flows from the long-term mortgage portfolio, proceeds from the sale of capital stock and the issuance of trust preferred securities also finance the acquisitions of new Alt-A and commercial mortgages.           The mortgage operations acquire, originate, sell and securitize primarily Alt-A adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) and fixed rate mortgages (FRMs) from correspondents, mortgage brokers and retail customers. Correspondents originate and close mortgages under their mortgage programs and then sell the closed mortgages to the mortgage operations on a flow (loan-by-loan basis) or through bulk sale commitments. Correspondents include; savings and loan associations, commercial banks and mortgage bankers. The mortgage operations generate income by securitizing and selling mortgages to permanent investors, including the long-term investment operations. This business also earns revenue from fees associated with mortgage servicing rights, master servicing agreements and interest income earned on mortgages held-for-sale. The mortgage operations use warehouse facilities provided by the warehouse lending operations to finance the acquisition and origination of mortgages.           The Company securitizes mortgages in the form of real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs). The typical REMIC securitizations are designed so that the transferee (securitization trust) is not a qualifying special purpose entity (QSPE) and we are not always the residual interest holder on REMICs, the Company consolidates such variable interest entities (VIEs). Amounts consolidated are classified as Securitized mortgage collateral and Securitized mortgage borrowings in the consolidated balance sheets. Occasionally, the Company's REMIC securitization qualifies for sale accounting treatment and the securitization trust is a QSPE and thus not consolidated by the Company. To the extent that our REMIC securitization trusts do not meet the QSPE criteria, consolidation is assessed pursuant to Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Interpretation No. 46 (revised December 2003), "Consolidation of Variable Interest Entities" (FIN 46R).           The following table depicts the Company's loan sales and securitizations that were completed for the periods below (in thousands):     As of December 31, 2006     Residential   Commercial   Total Consolidated CMO/REMIC securitizations   $ 5,363,559   $ 672,413   $ 6,035,972 REMIC securitizations (Sales for GAAP)     584,814     249,179     833,993 Whole loan sales     6,275,571     35,006     6,310,577           Total   $ 12,223,944   $ 956,598   $ 13,180,542             As of December 31, 2005     Residential   Commercial   Total Consolidated CMO/REMIC securitizations   $ 12,730,795   $ 683,124   $ 13,413,919 REMIC securitizations (Sales for GAAP)     633,912     —     633,912 Whole loan sales     8,052,080     —     8,052,080           Total   $ 21,416,787   $ 683,124   $ 22,099,911                    In determining whether or not to complete a REMIC transactions that is consolidated or un-consolidated under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), the Company primarily considers the economics of the deal. In 2005 and 2006, the mortgage and commercial operations completed ISAC REMIC 2005-2, ISAC REMIC2006-1, ISAC REMIC 2006-3, ISAC REMIC 2006-4, and ISAC REMIC 2006-5 securitizations which were treated as sales for tax purposes but treated as secured borrowings under GAAP and consolidated in the financial statements. The associated collateral and borrowings are included in securitized mortgage collateral and borrowings, respectively, for reporting purposes. Hence, reference to "Securitized mortgage collateral" or "Securitized mortgage borrowings" includes the REMIC 2005-2, 2006-1, 2006-3, ISAC REMIC 2006-4, and ISAC REMIC 2006-5 securitized collateral and borrowings.           In the second quarter of 2006, the mortgage and commercial operations completed ISAC REMIC 2006-2 securitization in the amount of $834.0 million which was treated as a sale for both tax and GAAP purposes. The retained interest, calculated as the present value of estimated future cash flows, was retained as a result of the ISAC REMIC 2006-2 securitization, and is recorded in other assets on the balance sheet as investment securities available for sale. Investments in residual interests and subordinated securities represent higher risk than investments in senior mortgage-backed securities because these subordinated securities bear all credit losses prior to the related senior securities. The risk associated with holding residual interest and subordinated securities is greater than holding the underlying mortgage loans directly due to the concentration of losses attributed to the subordinated securities. The fair value of residual interests represents the present value of future cash flows expected to be received by us from excess cash flows created in the securitization transaction. In general, future cash flows are estimated by taking the coupon rate of the mortgages underlying the transaction less the interest rate paid to the investors, less contractually specified servicing and trustee fees, and after giving effect to estimated prepayments and credit losses. The Company estimates future cash flows from these securities utilizing assumptions based in part on discount rates, projected delinquency rates, mortgage loan prepayment speeds and credit losses.           The commercial operations originate commercial mortgages, that are primarily adjustable rate mortgages with initial fixed interest rate periods of two-, three-, five-, seven- and ten-years that subsequently convert to adjustable rate mortgages, or "hybrid ARMs," with balances that generally range from $500,000 to $5.0 million and on exception up to $10 million. Commercial mortgages have interest rate floors, which are the initial start rates; in some circumstances have lock out periods, and prepayment penalty periods of three-, five-, seven- and ten-years. These mortgages provide greater asset diversification on our balance sheet as commercial mortgage borrowers typically have higher credit scores and typically have lower loan-to-value ratios, or "LTV ratios," and the mortgages have longer average lives than residential mortgages.           The warehouse lending operations provide short-term financing to mortgage loan originators, including the mortgage and commercial operations, by funding mortgages from their closing date until sale to pre-approved investors. This business earns fees from warehouse transactions as well as net interest income from the difference between its cost of borrowings and the interest earned on warehouse advances, both of which are tied to the one-month London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) rate.           For financial information relating to the long-term investment operations, mortgage operations, commercial operations and warehouse lending operations, please refer to Item 7. "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and our consolidated financial statements beginning on page F-1.           The following is a diagram of the fiscal 2006 operational flow of loans. The diagram provides a visual complement to the Company's operations described below (in millions). (1) The purpose of this schedule is to provide a visual demonstration of the Company's operations during the year. REMICs sold for GAAP represent REMIC securitizations that meet the accounting requirements to be reflected as sales in the consolidated financial statements. (1) Dispositions include mortgages that were in the ending December 31, 2005 balances of mortgages held-for-sale. (2) IWLG had a $44.0 million decrease in finance receivables. The number of borrowers with ending balances at December 31, 2006 increased to 46 as compared to 43 at December 31, 2005.Long-Term Investment Operations            The long-term investment operations generate revenue primarily from net interest income (expense) on its long-term mortgage portfolio. Net interest income represents the difference between income received on mortgages and the corresponding cost of borrowings. Net interest income also includes (1) amortization of acquisition costs on mortgages acquired from the mortgage operations, (2) amortization of mortgage securitization expenses and, to a lesser extent, (3) amortization of securitized mortgage bond discounts. Net cash payments or receipts on derivative instruments which partially offset changes in the cost of borrowings, are included in realized gain (loss) from derivative instruments, which is a component of non-interest income on our financial statements. We show the effects of the net cash payments or receipts on derivative instruments in our calculation of adjusted net interest margin in the yield table presented in Item 7. "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Results of Operations and Financial Condition."           The mortgage and commercial operations support the investment objectives of the long-term investment operations by supplying mortgages at prices that are comparable to those available through mortgage bankers and brokers and other third parties. We believe that retaining mortgages acquired and originated by our mortgage operations give us a competitive advantage because of our historical understanding of the underlying credit of these mortgages and the extensive information on the performance and historical prepayment patterns of these types of mortgages. We also believe that Alt-A mortgages provide an attractive net earnings profile by producing higher yields without commensurately higher credit risks than other types of mortgages. Long-Term Mortgage Portfolio           Alt-A and commercial mortgages that we retain for long-term investment are primarily adjustable rate mortgages, or "ARMs," hybrid ARMs and,fixed rate mortgages, or "FRMs." The interest rate on ARMs are typically tied to an index, such as the six-month London Interbank Offered Rate, or "LIBOR," plus a spread and adjust periodically, subject to lifetime interest rate caps and periodic interest rate and payment caps. The initial interest rates on ARMs are typically lower than average comparable FRMs but may be higher than average comparable FRMs over the life of the mortgage. Hybrid ARMs are mortgages with maturity periods ranging from 15 to 30 years with initial fixed interest rate periods generally ranging from two to ten years, which subsequently adjust to ARMs. The majority of mortgages retained by the long-term investment operations have prepayment penalty features with prepayment penalty periods ranging from six months to seven years. Prepayment penalties may be assessed to the borrower if the borrower refinances or, in some cases, sells the home.           During 2006, the long-term investment operations retained $5.3 billion and $526.6 million in principal balance of Alt-A and commercial mortgages respectively, originated during the current year for long-term investment. The long-term mortgage portfolio decreased $3.6 billion during 2006, to $21.1 billion at year-end.           The following tables present selected information on mortgages held as securitized mortgage collateral, which comprise a substantial portion of the long-term mortgage portfolio, for the periods indicated:     Residential As of December 31,   Commercial As of December 31,     2006   2005   2004   2006   2005   2004 Percent of Alt-A mortgages   99%   99%   99%   N/A   N/A   N/A Percent of option ARMs(1)   0%   0%   0%   N/A   N/A   N/A Percent of non-hybrid ARMs   7%   14%   21%   2%   4%   8% Percent of hybrid ARMs   73%   75%   69%   98%   96%   92% Percent of FRMs   20%   10%   10%   0%   0%   0% Percent of interest-only   72%   71%   62%   14%   11%   0% Weighted average coupon   7%   6%   6%   6%   6%   5% Weighted average margin   4%   4%   4%   3%   3%   3% Weighted average original LTV   74   76   76   66   67   66 Weighted average original credit score   697   695   695   730   728   725 Percent with original prepayment penalty   68%   75%   75%   100%   100%   100% Prior 3-month constant prepayment rate   39%   39%   30%   6%   9%   7% Prior 12-month prepayment rate   38%   37%   30%   8%   9%   4% Lifetime prepayment rate   29%   25%   27%   6%   5%   3% Weighted average debt service coverage ratio   N/A   N/A   N/A   1.27   1.22   1.34 Percent of mortgages in California   51%   55%   61%   63%   71%   86% Percent of purchase transactions   58%   60%   60%   51%   52%   49% Percent of owner occupied   78%   81%   84%   N/A   N/A   N/A Percent of first lien   99%   99%   99%   100%   100%   100% * N/A = Not Applicable                         (1) The Company originates option ARMs which allow the borrower the ability to pay an amount less than the interest due. The Company has historically sold all option ARMs originated. There was $244,000 of option-ARMs included in the mortgage portfolio at December 31, 2006 and 2005, and none at December 31, 2004. There was no capitalized interest included in the securitized mortgage collateral of any of the years presented above.            Retained mortgages are mortgages that were transferred to the long-term mortgage portfolio during the current year from the mortgage and commercial operations. The following table presents mortgages retained by the long-term investment operations by loan characteristic for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):     For the year ended December 31,     2006   2005   2004     PrincipalBalance   %   PrincipalBalance   %   PrincipalBalance   % Mortgages by Type:                                 Fixed rate first trust deeds   $ 1,677,429   29   $ 1,087,092   8   $ 1,195,200   7   Fixed rate second trust deeds     166,140   3     69,866   1     244,491   1   Adjustable rate first trust deeds:                                   ARM's (1)     66,579   1     1,775,892   14     2,754,757   16     Hybrid ARM's (1)     3,900,060   67     10,096,987   77     13,173,928   76     Option ARM's (1)(2)     -   -     14,391   -     -   -                     Total adjustable rate first trust deeds     3,966,639   68     11,887,270   91     15,928,685   92                       Total mortgages retained   $ 5,810,208   100   $ 13,044,228   100   $ 17,368,376   100              Mortgages by Credit Quality:           Alt-A mortgages (3)   $ 5,281,058   91   $ 12,232,576   94   $ 16,846,781