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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
FORM 10-Q
(Mark One) 
    QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 For the quarterly period ended March 31, 2021
 
or 
    TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the transition period from                              to                             
 
Commission File Number: 1-13991
MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
__________________________________________________________________ 
Maryland13-3974868
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
One Vanderbilt Ave., 48th Floor
New YorkNew York10017
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)
 (212) 207-6400
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
_____________________________________________

Not Applicable 
(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last period)
____________________________________________________________________ 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each ClassTrading Symbol(s)Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, par value $0.01 per shareMFANew York Stock Exchange
7.50% Series B Cumulative Redeemable
Preferred Stock, par value $0.01 per share
MFA/PBNew York Stock Exchange
6.50% Series C Cumulative Redeemable
Preferred Stock, par value $0.01 per share
MFA/PCNew York Stock Exchange

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes x  No o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).  Yes x No o
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company.  See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer x Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer  Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes No x

441,281,610 shares of the registrant’s common stock, $0.01 par value, were outstanding as of April 29, 2021.



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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.

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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
 (In Thousands Except Per Share Amounts)March 31,
2021
December 31,
2020
 (Unaudited) 
Assets: 
Residential whole loans:
Residential whole loans, at carrying value ($2,366,285 and $2,704,646 pledged as collateral, respectively) (1)
$3,932,300 $4,195,332 
Residential whole loans, at fair value ($889,100 and $827,001 pledged as collateral, respectively) (1)
1,320,199 1,216,902 
Allowance for credit losses on residential whole loans held at carrying value(63,244)(86,833)
Total residential whole loans, net5,189,255 5,325,401 
Securities, at fair value ($350,115 and $399,999 pledged as collateral, respectively)
350,115 399,999 
Cash and cash equivalents780,714 814,354 
Restricted cash5,150 7,165 
Other assets392,726 385,381 
Total Assets$6,717,960 $6,932,300 
Liabilities:  
Financing agreements ($2,974,578 and $3,366,772 held at fair value, respectively)
$3,995,982 $4,336,976 
Other liabilities179,712 70,522 
Total Liabilities$4,175,694 $4,407,498 
Commitments and contingencies (See Note 10)
Stockholders’ Equity:  
Preferred stock, $0.01 par value; 7.5% Series B cumulative redeemable; 8,050 shares authorized; 8,000 shares issued and outstanding ($200,000 aggregate liquidation preference)
$80 $80 
Preferred stock, $0.01 par value; 6.5% Series C fixed-to-floating rate cumulative redeemable; 12,650 shares authorized; 11,000 shares issued and outstanding ($275,000 aggregate liquidation preference)
110 110 
Common stock, $0.01 par value; 874,300 and 874,300 shares authorized; 446,114 and 451,714 shares issued
  and outstanding, respectively
4,461 4,517 
Additional paid-in capital, in excess of par3,825,606 3,848,129 
Accumulated deficit(1,361,664)(1,405,327)
Accumulated other comprehensive income73,673 77,293 
Total Stockholders’ Equity$2,542,266 $2,524,802 
Total Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity$6,717,960 $6,932,300 

(1)Includes approximately $1.5 billion and $1.4 billion of Residential whole loans, at carrying value and $311.6 million and $382.3 million of Residential whole loans, at fair value transferred to consolidated variable interest entities (“VIEs”) at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively. Such assets can be used only to settle the obligations of each respective VIE.




The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements.
1

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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(UNAUDITED)
Three Months Ended
March 31,
(In Thousands, Except Per Share Amounts)2021 2020
Interest Income: 
Residential whole loans held at carrying value$45,340 $83,486 
Securities, at fair value16,459 58,581 
Other interest-earning assets 2,907 
Cash and cash equivalent investments54 486 
Interest Income$61,853 $145,460 
Interest Expense: 
Asset-backed and other collateralized financing arrangements$26,050 $77,859 
Other interest expense4,020 5,900 
Interest Expense$30,070 $83,759 
Net Interest Income$31,783 $61,701 
Reversal/(Provision) for credit and valuation losses on residential whole loans$22,750 $(150,711)
Net Interest Income after Provision for Credit and Valuation Losses$54,533 $(89,010)
Other Income, net:
Impairment and other losses on securities available-for-sale and other assets$ $(419,651)
Net realized loss on sales of securities and residential whole loans (238,380)
Net unrealized gain/(loss) on securities measured at fair value through earnings101 (77,961)
Net gain/(loss) on residential whole loans measured at fair value through earnings49,809 (52,760)
Other, net3,607 (2,011)
Other Income/(Loss), net$53,517 $(790,763)
Operating and Other Expense:
Compensation and benefits$8,437 $8,899 
Other general and administrative expense6,792 4,575 
Loan servicing, financing and other related costs7,299 11,280 
Costs associated with restructuring/forbearance agreement 4,468 
Operating and Other Expense$22,528 $29,222 
Net Income/(Loss)$85,522 $(908,995)
Less Preferred Stock Dividend Requirement$8,219 $5,215 
Net Income/(Loss) Available to Common Stock and Participating Securities$77,303 $(914,210)
Basic Earnings/(Loss) per Common Share$0.17 $(2.02)
Diluted Earnings/(Loss) per Common Share$0.17 $(2.02)

The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements.
2

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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME/(LOSS)
(UNAUDITED)
Three Months Ended
March 31,
(In Thousands)20212020
Net income/(loss)$85,522 $(908,995)
Other Comprehensive (Loss):  
Unrealized (losses)/gains on securities available-for-sale(3,855)124,410 
Reclassification adjustment for securities sales included in net income (23,953)
Reclassification adjustment for impairments included in net income (344,269)
Derivative hedging instrument fair value changes, net (50,127)
Changes in fair value of financing agreements at fair value due to changes in instrument-specific credit risk235  
Reclassification adjustment for losses related to hedging instruments included in net income 1,594 
Other Comprehensive (Loss)(3,620)(292,345)
Comprehensive income/(loss) before preferred stock dividends$81,902 $(1,201,340)
Dividends required on preferred stock(8,219)(5,215)
Comprehensive Income/(Loss) Available to Common Stock and Participating Securities$73,683 $(1,206,555)
 
The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements.
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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
(UNAUDITED)
Three Months Ended March 31, 2021
(In Thousands, Except Per Share Amounts)
Preferred Stock
6.50% Series C Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable - Liquidation Preference $25.00 per Share
Preferred Stock
7.50% Series B Cumulative Redeemable - Liquidation Preference $25.00 per Share
Common StockAdditional Paid-in CapitalAccumulated
 Deficit
Accumulated Other Comprehensive IncomeTotal
SharesAmountSharesAmountSharesAmount
Balance at December 31, 202011,000 $110 8,000 $80 451,714 $4,517 $3,848,129 $(1,405,327)$77,293 $2,524,802 
Net Income— — — — — — — 85,522 — 85,522 
Issuance of common stock, net of expenses
— — — — 559 6 376 — — 382 
Repurchase of shares of common stock (1)
— — — — (6,159)(62)(25,074)— — (25,136)
Equity based compensation expense— — — — — — 1,686 — — 1,686 
Change in accrued dividends attributable to stock-based awards— — — — — — 489 — — 489 
Dividends declared on common stock ($0.075 per share)
— — — — — — — (33,521)— (33,521)
Dividends declared on Series B Preferred Stock ($0.46875 per share)
— — — — — — — (3,750)— (3,750)
Dividends declared on Series C Preferred Stock ($0.40625 per share)
— — — — — — (4,468)— (4,468)
Dividends attributable to dividend equivalents— — — — — — — (120)— (120)
Change in unrealized gains on MBS, net— — — — — — — — (3,855)(3,855)
Derivative hedging instrument fair value changes and amortization, net— — — — — — — —   
Changes in fair value of financing agreements at fair value due to changes in instrument-specific credit risk— — — — — — — — 235 235 
Balance at March 31, 202111,000 $110 8,000 $80 446,114 $4,461 $3,825,606 $(1,361,664)$73,673 $2,542,266 

(1)  For the three months ended March 31, 2021 includes approximately $799,000 (213,123 shares) surrendered for tax purposes related to equity-based compensation awards.



The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements.























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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
(UNAUDITED)
Three Months Ended March 31, 2020
(In Thousands, Except Per Share Amounts)
Preferred Stock
6.50% Series C Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable - Liquidation Preference $25.00 per Share
Preferred Stock
7.50% Series B Cumulative Redeemable - Liquidation Preference $25.00 per Share
Common StockAdditional Paid-in CapitalAccumulated
 Deficit
Accumulated Other Comprehensive IncomeTotal
SharesAmountSharesAmountSharesAmount
Balance at December 31, 2019  8,000 $80 452,369 $4,524 $3,640,341 $(631,040)$370,047 $3,383,952 
Cumulative effect adjustment on adoption of new accounting standard ASU 2016-13
— — — — — — — (8,326)— (8,326)
Net loss— — — — — — — (908,995)— (908,995)
Issuance of Series C Preferred Stock, net of expenses11,000 110 — — — — 265,919 — — 266,029 
Issuance of common stock, net of expenses
— — — — 1,106 7 680 — — 687 
Repurchase of shares of common stock (1)
— — — — (337)— (2,652)— — (2,652)
Equity based compensation expense— — — — — — 1,266 — — 1,266 
Change in accrued dividends attributable to stock-based awards— — — — — — 1,059 — — 1,059 
Change in unrealized losses on securities, net— — — — — — — — (243,812)(243,812)
Derivative hedging instruments fair value changes and amortization, net— — — — — — — — (48,533)(48,533)
Balance at March 31, 202011,000 $110 8,000 $80 453,138 $4,531 $3,906,613 $(1,548,361)$77,702 $2,440,675 

(1)  For the three months ended March 31, 2020, includes approximately $2.7 million (337,026 shares) surrendered for tax purposes related to equity-based compensation awards.

The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements.

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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(UNAUDITED)
Three Months Ended
March 31,
(In Thousands)20212020
Cash Flows From Operating Activities:  
Net income/(loss)$85,522 $(908,995)
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities: 
(Gains)/losses on residential whole loans and real estate owned, net(35,893)217,920 
(Gains)/losses on securities, net(100)170,550 
Impairment and other losses on securities available-for-sale and other assets 419,651 
Accretion of purchase discounts on residential whole loans and securities(16,436)(12,114)
Amortization of purchase premiums on residential whole loans and securities, and amortization of terminated hedging instruments6,791 15,266 
(Reversal of provision)/provision for credit and valuation losses on residential whole loans and other financial instruments(23,967)150,711 
Net other non-cash losses included in net income5,212 7,689 
Increase in other assets(1,939)(37,811)
Increase/(decrease) in other liabilities4,975 (9,653)
Net cash provided by operating activities$24,165 $13,214 
Cash Flows From Investing Activities:  
Purchases of residential whole loans, loan related investments and capitalized advances$(184,707)$(1,119,464)
Principal payments on residential whole loans and loan related investments425,300 508,855 
Purchases of securities (162,607)
Proceeds from sales of securities and other assets 1,009,316 
Principal payments on securities58,896 539,882 
Purchases of real estate owned and capital improvements(217)(5,606)
Proceeds from sales of real estate owned50,619 52,042 
Additions to leasehold improvements, furniture and fixtures(4,415)(176)
Net cash provided by investing activities
$345,476 $822,242 
Cash Flows From Financing Activities: 
Principal payments on financing agreements with mark-to-market collateral provisions$(821,716)$(12,903,818)
Proceeds from borrowings under financing agreements with mark-to-market collateral provisions663,926 12,216,862 
Principal payments on other collateralized financing agreements(521,259)(37,418)
Proceeds from borrowings under other collateralized financing agreements437,915  
Payment made for other collateralized financing agreement related costs(1,371) 
Principal payment on redemption of Senior notes(100,000) 
Payments made for settlements and unwinds of Swaps (88,405)
Proceeds from issuance of series C preferred stock 275,000 
Payments made for costs related to series C preferred stock issuance (8,912)
Proceeds from issuances of common stock376 687 
Payments made for the repurchase of common stock through the share repurchase program (20,933) 
Dividends paid on preferred stock(8,219) 
Dividends paid on common stock and dividend equivalents(34,015)(90,749)
Net cash used in financing activities$(405,296)$(636,753)
Net (decrease)/increase in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash$(35,655)$198,703 
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at beginning of period$821,519 $134,664 
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of period$785,864 $333,367 
Supplemental Disclosure of Cash Flow Information 
Interest Paid$29,554 $80,158 
Non-cash Investing and Financing Activities:
Transfer from residential whole loans to real estate owned$20,068 $50,693 
Dividends and dividend equivalents declared and unpaid$33,640 $ 
Payable for unsettled residential whole loan purchases$112,202 $ 
Receivable for unsettled residential whole loan and securities sales$ $419,583 
The accompanying notes are an integral part of the consolidated financial statements.
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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
NOTES TO THE UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
MARCH 31, 2021
 
1.   Organization
 
MFA Financial, Inc. (the “Company”) was incorporated in Maryland on July 24, 1997 and began operations on April 10, 1998.  The Company has elected to be treated as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) for U.S. federal income tax purposes.  In order to maintain its qualification as a REIT, the Company must comply with a number of requirements under federal tax law, including that it must distribute at least 90% of its annual REIT taxable income to its stockholders.  The Company has elected to treat certain of its subsidiaries as taxable REIT subsidiaries (“TRS”). In general, a TRS may hold assets and engage in activities that the Company cannot hold or engage in directly and generally may engage in any real estate or non-real estate related business (see Note 2(m)).
 
2.   Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
 
(a)  Basis of Presentation and Consolidation
 
The interim unaudited consolidated financial statements of the Company have been prepared in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).  Certain information and note disclosures normally included in financial statements prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) have been condensed or omitted in accordance with these SEC rules and regulations.  Management believes that the disclosures included in these interim unaudited consolidated financial statements are adequate to make the information presented not misleading.  The accompanying unaudited consolidated financial statements should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and notes thereto included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020.  In the opinion of management, all normal and recurring adjustments necessary to present fairly the financial condition of the Company at March 31, 2021 and results of operations for all periods presented have been made.  The results of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2021 should not be construed as indicative of the results to be expected for the full year.
 
The accompanying consolidated financial statements of the Company have been prepared on the accrual basis of accounting in accordance with GAAP.  The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period.  Although the Company’s estimates contemplate current conditions and how it expects them to change in the future, it is reasonably possible that actual conditions could differ from those estimates, which could materially impact the Company’s results of operations and its financial condition.  Management has made significant estimates in several areas, impairment, valuation allowances and loss allowances on residential whole loans (see Note 3), MBS, CRT securities and MSR-related assets (collectively, “Securities, at fair value”) (see Note 4) and Other assets (see Note 5), valuation of Securities, at fair value (see Notes 4 and 14), income recognition and valuation of residential whole loans (see Notes 3 and 14), valuation of derivative instruments (see Notes 5(c) and 14) and income recognition on certain Non-Agency MBS (defined below) purchased at a discount (see Note 4).  In addition, estimates are used in the determination of taxable income used in the assessment of REIT compliance and contingent liabilities for related taxes, penalties and interest (see Note 2(m)).  Actual results could differ from those estimates.

The Company has one reportable segment as it manages its business and analyzes and reports its results of operations on the basis of one operating segment: investing, on a leveraged basis, in residential mortgage assets.
 
The consolidated financial statements of the Company include the accounts of all subsidiaries. All intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated. In addition, the Company consolidates entities established to facilitate transactions related to the acquisition and securitization of residential whole loans completed in prior years. Certain prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current period presentation.

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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
NOTES TO THE UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
MARCH 31, 2021
(b)  Residential Whole Loans (including Residential Whole Loans transferred to consolidated VIEs)

Residential whole loans included in the Company’s consolidated balance sheets are primarily comprised of pools of fixed- and adjustable-rate residential mortgage loans acquired through consolidated trusts in secondary market transactions. The accounting model utilized by the Company is determined at the time each loan package is initially acquired and is generally based on the delinquency status of the majority of the underlying borrowers in the package at acquisition. The accounting model described below for Purchased Credit Deteriorated Loans that are held at carrying value is typically utilized by the Company for Purchased Credit Deteriorated Loans where the underlying borrower has a delinquency status of less than 60 days at the acquisition date. The Company also acquires Purchased Performing Loans that are typically held at carrying value, but the accounting methods for income recognition and determination and measurement of any required credit loss reserves (as discussed below) differ from those used for Purchased Credit Deteriorated Loans held at carrying value. The accounting model described below for residential whole loans held at fair value is typically utilized by the Company for loans where the underlying borrower has a delinquency status of 60 days or more at the acquisition date. The accounting model initially applied is not subsequently changed.

The Company’s residential whole loans pledged as collateral against financing agreements are included in the consolidated balance sheets with amounts pledged disclosed parenthetically.  Purchases and sales of residential whole loans that are subject to an extended period of due diligence that crosses a reporting date are recorded in our balance sheet at amounts reflecting management’s current estimate of assets that will be acquired or disposed at the closing of the transaction. This estimate is subject to revision at the closing of the transaction, pending the outcome of due diligence performed prior to closing. Residential whole loans purchased under flow arrangements with loan origination partners are generally recorded at the transaction settlement date. Recorded amounts of residential whole loans for which the closing of the purchase transaction is yet to occur are not eligible to be pledged as collateral against any financing agreement until the closing of the purchase transaction. Interest income, credit related losses and changes in the fair value of loans held at fair value are recorded post settlement for acquired loans and until transaction settlement for sold loans (see Notes 3, 6, 7, 14 and 15).

Residential Whole Loans at Carrying Value

Purchased Performing Loans

Acquisitions of Purchased Performing Loans to date have been primarily comprised of: (i) loans to finance (or refinance) one-to-four family residential properties that are not considered to meet the definition of a “Qualified Mortgage” in accordance with guidelines adopted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“Non-QM loans”), (ii) short-term business purpose loans collateralized by residential properties made to non-occupant borrowers who intend to rehabilitate and sell the property for a profit (“Rehabilitation loans” or “Fix and Flip loans”), (iii) loans to finance (or refinance) non-owner occupied one-to four-family residential properties that are rented to one or more tenants (“Single-family rental loans”), and (iv) previously originated loans secured by residential real estate that is generally owner occupied (“Seasoned performing loans”). Purchased Performing Loans are initially recorded at their purchase price. Interest income on Purchased Performing Loans acquired at par is accrued based on each loan’s current interest bearing balance and current interest rate, net of related servicing costs. Interest income on such loans purchased at a premium/discount to par is recorded each period based on the contractual coupon net of any amortization of premium or accretion of discount, adjusted for actual prepayment activity. For loans acquired with related servicing rights retained by the seller, interest income is reported net of related serving costs.

An allowance for credit losses is recorded at acquisition, and maintained on an ongoing basis, for all losses expected over the life of the respective loan. Any required credit loss allowance would reduce the net carrying value of the loan with a corresponding charge to earnings, and may increase or decrease over time. Significant judgments are required in determining any allowance for credit loss, including assumptions regarding the loan cash flows expected to be collected, the value of the underlying collateral and the ability of the Company to collect on any other forms of security, such as a personal guaranty provided either by the borrower or an affiliate of the borrower. Income recognition is suspended, and interest accruals are reversed against income, for loans at the earlier of the date at which payments become 90 days past due or when, in the opinion of management, a full recovery of income and principal becomes doubtful (i.e., such loans are placed on nonaccrual status). For nonaccrual loans other than Fix and Flip loans, all payments are applied to principal under the cost recovery method. For nonaccrual Fix and Flip loans, interest income is recorded under the cash basis method as interest payments are received. Interest accruals are resumed when the loan becomes contractually current and performance is demonstrated to be resumed. A loan is written off when it is no longer realizable and/or it is legally discharged. Modified loans are considered “troubled debt
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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
NOTES TO THE UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
MARCH 31, 2021
restructurings” if the Company grants a concession to a borrower who is experiencing financial difficulty (including the interpretation of this definition set forth in OCC Bulletin 2020-35).

Charge-offs to the allowance for loan losses occur when losses are confirmed through the receipt of cash or other consideration from the completion of a sale; when a modification or restructuring takes place in which we grant a concession to a borrower or agree to a discount in full or partial satisfaction of the loan; when we take ownership and control of the underlying collateral in full satisfaction of the loan; when loans are reclassified as other investments; or when significant collection efforts have ceased and it is highly likely that a loss has been realized.

The aggregate allowance for credit losses is equal to the sum of the losses expected over the life of each respective loan. Expected losses are generally calculated based on the estimated probability of default and loss severity of loans in the portfolio, which involves projecting each loan’s expected cash flows based on their contractual terms, expected prepayments, and estimated default and loss severity rates. The results were not discounted. The default and severity rates were estimated based on the following steps: (i) obtained the Company’s historical experience through an entire economic cycle for each loan type or, to the extent the Company did not have sufficient historical loss experience for a given loan type, publicly available data derived from the historical loss experience of certain banks, which data the Company believes is generally representative of its portfolio, (ii) obtained historical economic data (U.S. unemployment rates and home price appreciation) over the same period, and (iii) estimated default and severity rates during three distinct future periods based on historical default and severity rates during periods when economic conditions similar to those forecasted were experienced. The default and severity rates were applied to the estimated amount of loans outstanding during each future period, based on contractual terms and expected prepayments. Expected prepayments are estimated based on historical experience and current and expected future economic conditions, including market interest rates. The three periods were as follows: (i) a one-year forecast of economic conditions based on U.S. unemployment rates and home price appreciation, followed by (ii) a two-year “reversion” period during which economic conditions (U.S. unemployment rates and home price appreciation) are projected to revert to historical averages on a straight line basis, followed by (iii) the remaining life of each loan, during which period economic conditions (U.S. unemployment rates and home price appreciation) are projected to equal historical averages. In addition, a liability is established (and recorded in Other Liabilities) each period using a similar methodology for committed but undrawn loan amounts. The Company forecasts future economic conditions based on forecasts provided by an external preparer of economic forecasts, as well as its own knowledge of the market and its portfolio. The Company generally considers multiple scenarios and selects the one that it believes results in the most reasonable estimate of expected losses. The Company may apply qualitative adjustments to these results as further described in Note 3. For certain loans where foreclosure has been deemed to be probable, loss estimates are based on whether the value of the underlying collateral is sufficient to recover the carrying value of the loan. This methodology has not changed from the calculation of the allowance for credit losses on January 1, 2020 pursuant to the transition to Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2016-13 as described below under “New Accounting Standards and Interpretations,” other than a change in the reversion period from one year to two years to reflect the expected ongoing impact of current conditions (see Note 3).

Purchased Credit Deteriorated Loans

The Company has elected to account for these loans as credit deteriorated as they have experienced a more-than-insignificant deterioration in credit quality since origination and were acquired at discounted prices that reflect, in part, the impaired credit history of the borrower. Substantially all of these loans have previously experienced payment delinquencies and the amount owed may exceed the value of the property pledged as collateral. Consequently, these loans generally have a higher likelihood of default than newly originated mortgage loans with loan-to-value ratios (“LTVs”) of 80% or less to creditworthy borrowers. The Company believes that amounts paid to acquire these loans represent fair market value at the date of acquisition. Loans considered credit deteriorated are initially recorded at the purchase price on a net basis, after establishing an initial allowance for credit losses (their initial cost basis is equal to their purchase price plus the initial allowance for credit losses). Subsequent to acquisition, the gross recorded amount for these loans reflects the initial cost basis, plus accretion of interest income, less principal and interest cash flows received. These loans are presented on the Company’s consolidated balance sheets at carrying value, which reflects the recorded cost basis reduced by any allowance for credit losses. Interest income on such loans purchased is recorded each period based on the contractual coupon net of amortization of the difference between their cost basis and unpaid principal balance (“UPB”), subject to the Company’s nonaccrual policy.

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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
NOTES TO THE UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
MARCH 31, 2021
Residential Whole Loans at Fair Value

Certain of the Company’s residential whole loans are presented at fair value on its consolidated balance sheets as a result of a fair value election made at the time of acquisition. For the majority of these loans, there is significant uncertainty associated with estimating the timing of and amount of cash flows that will be collected. Further, the cash flows ultimately collected may be dependent on the value of the property securing the loan. Consequently, the Company considers that accounting for these loans at fair value should result in a better reflection over time of the economic returns for the majority of these loans. The Company determines the fair value of its residential whole loans held at fair value after considering portfolio valuations obtained from a third-party that specializes in providing valuations of residential mortgage loans and trading activity observed in the market place. Subsequent changes in fair value are reported in current period earnings and presented in Net (loss)/gain on residential whole loans measured at fair value through earnings on the Company’s consolidated statements of operations.

Income received in cash or accrued, including coupon interest, on residential whole loans held at fair value is not included in Interest Income, but rather is included in Net (loss)/gain on residential whole loans measured at fair value through earnings on the Company’s consolidated statements of operations. Cash outflows associated with loan-related advances made by the Company on behalf of the borrower are included in the basis of the loan and are reflected in unrealized gains or losses reported each period.

(c)  Securities, at Fair Value

MSR-Related Assets

The Company has investments in financial instruments whose cash flows are considered to be largely dependent on underlying MSRs that either directly or indirectly act as collateral for the investment. These financial instruments, which are referred to as MSR-related assets, are discussed in more detail below. The Company’s MSR-related assets pledged as collateral against repurchase agreements are included in the consolidated balance sheets with the amounts pledged disclosed parenthetically. Purchases and sales of MSR-related assets are recorded on the trade date (see Notes 4, 6, 7 and 14).

Term Notes Backed by MSR-Related Collateral
The Company has invested in term notes that are issued by special purpose vehicles (“SPV”) that have acquired rights to receive cash flows representing the servicing fees and/or excess servicing spread associated with certain MSRs. The Company considers payment of principal and interest on these term notes to be largely dependent on the cash flows generated by the underlying MSRs as this impacts the cash flows available to the SPV that issued the term notes. Credit risk borne by the holders of the term notes is also mitigated by structural credit support in the form of over-collateralization. Credit support is also provided by a corporate guarantee from the ultimate parent or sponsor of the SPV that is intended to provide for payment of interest and principal to the holders of the term notes should cash flows generated by the underlying MSRs be insufficient.

The Company’s term notes backed by MSR-related collateral are treated as “available-for-sale” (“AFS”) securities and reported at fair value on the Company’s consolidated balance sheets with unrealized gains and losses excluded from earnings and reported in Accumulated other comprehensive income/(loss) (“AOCI”), a component of Stockholders’ Equity, subject to impairment and loss allowances. Interest income is recognized on an accrual basis on the Company’s consolidated statements of operations. The Company’s valuation process for such notes is similar to that used for residential mortgage securities and considers a number of observable market data points, including prices obtained from pricing services, brokers and repurchase agreement counterparties, dialogue with market participants, as well as management’s observations of market activity. Other factors taken into consideration include estimated changes in fair value of the related underlying MSR collateral, as applicable, and the financial performance of the ultimate parent or sponsoring entity of the issuer, which has provided a guarantee that is intended to provide for payment of interest and principal to the holders of the term notes should cash flows generated by the related underlying MSR collateral be insufficient.

Corporate Loans
The Company has made or participated in loans to provide financing to entities that originate residential mortgage loans and own the related MSRs. These corporate loans are generally secured by certain MSRs, as well as certain other unencumbered assets owned by the borrower.
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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
NOTES TO THE UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
MARCH 31, 2021

Corporate loans are recorded on the Company’s consolidated balance sheets at the drawn amount, on which interest income is recognized on an accrual basis on the Company’s consolidated statements of operations, subject to loss allowances. Commitment fees received on the undrawn amount are deferred and recognized as interest income over the remaining loan term at the time of draw. At the end of the commitment period, any remaining deferred commitment fees are recorded as Other Income on the Company’s consolidated statements of operations. The Company evaluates the recoverability of its corporate loans on a quarterly basis considering various factors, including the current status of the loan, changes in the fair value of the MSRs that secure the loan and the recent financial performance of the borrower.

Residential Mortgage Securities
 
Prior to the quarter ended June 30, 2020, the Company had invested in residential mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) that are issued or guaranteed as to principal and/or interest by a federally chartered corporation, 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”) (collectively, “Agency MBS”), and residential MBS that are not guaranteed by any agency of the U.S. Government or any federally chartered corporation (“Non-Agency MBS”). The Company disposed of its investments in Agency MBS during 2020 and has substantially reduced its investments in Non-Agency MBS. In addition, the Company has investments in CRT securities that are issued by or sponsored by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The coupon payments on CRT securities are paid by the issuer and the principal payments received are dependent on the performance of loans in either a reference pool or an actual pool of loans. As the loans in the underlying pool are paid, the principal balance of the CRT securities is paid. As an investor in a CRT security, the Company may incur a principal loss if the performance of the actual or reference pool loans results in either an actual or calculated loss that exceeds the credit enhancement of the security owned by the Company.
 
Designation
 
MBS that the Company generally intends to hold until maturity, but that it may sell from time to time as part of the overall management of its business, are designated as AFS. Such MBS are carried at their fair value with unrealized gains and losses excluded from earnings (except when an allowance for loan losses is recognized, as discussed below) and reported in AOCI, a component of Stockholders’ Equity.
 
Upon the sale of an AFS security, any unrealized gain or loss is reclassified out of AOCI to earnings as a realized gain or loss using the specific identification method.

The Company had elected the fair value option for certain of its previously held Agency MBS that it did not intend to hold to maturity. These securities were carried at their fair value with changes in fair value included in earnings for the period and reported in Other Income, net on the Company’s consolidated statements of operations.

In addition, the Company has elected the fair value option for certain of its CRT securities as it considers this method of accounting to more appropriately reflect the risk-sharing structure of these securities. Such securities are carried at their fair value with changes in fair value included in earnings for the period and reported in Other Income, net on the Company’s consolidated statements of operations.
 
Revenue Recognition, Premium Amortization and Discount Accretion
 
Interest income on securities is accrued based on their outstanding principal balance and their contractual terms. Premiums and discounts associated with Agency MBS and Non-Agency MBS assessed as high credit quality at the time of purchase are amortized into interest income over the life of such securities using the effective yield method. Adjustments to premium amortization are made for actual prepayment activity.
 
Determination of Fair Value for Residential Mortgage Securities
 
In determining the fair value of the Company’s residential mortgage securities, management considers a number of observable market data points, including prices obtained from pricing services, brokers and repurchase agreement counterparties, dialogue with market participants, as well as management’s observations of market activity (see Note 14).
 
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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
NOTES TO THE UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
MARCH 31, 2021
Allowance for credit losses

When the fair value of an AFS security is less than its amortized cost at the balance sheet date, the security is considered impaired.  The Company assesses its impaired securities, as well as securities for which a credit loss allowance had been previously recorded, on at least a quarterly basis and determines whether any changes to the allowance for credit losses are required.  If the Company intends to sell an impaired security, or it is more likely than not that it will be required to sell the impaired security before its anticipated recovery, then the Company must recognize a write-down through charges to earnings equal to the entire difference between the investment’s amortized cost and its fair value at the balance sheet date.  If the Company does not expect to sell an impaired security, only the portion of the impairment related to credit losses is recognized through a loss allowance charged to earnings with the remainder recognized through AOCI on the Company’s consolidated balance sheets.  Impairments recognized through other comprehensive income/(loss) (“OCI”) do not impact earnings.  Credit loss allowances are subject to reversal through earnings resulting from improvements in expected cash flows. The determination as to whether to record (or reverse) a credit loss allowance is subjective, as such determinations are based on factual information available at the time of assessment as well as the Company’s estimates of future performance and cash flow projections.  As a result, the timing and amount of losses constitute material estimates that are susceptible to significant change (see Note 4).

Balance Sheet Presentation
 
The Company’s residential mortgage securities pledged as collateral against financing agreements and interest rate swap agreements (“Swaps”) are included on the consolidated balance sheets with the fair value of the securities pledged disclosed parenthetically.  Purchases and sales of securities are recorded on the trade date. 

(d)  Cash and Cash Equivalents
 
Cash and cash equivalents include cash on deposit with financial institutions and investments in money market funds, all of which have original maturities of three months or less.  Cash and cash equivalents may also include cash pledged as collateral to the Company by its financing counterparties as a result of reverse margin calls (i.e., margin calls made by the Company).  The Company did not hold any cash pledged by its counterparties at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020. At March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $780.7 million and $814.4 million, respectively. At March 31, 2021, the Company had $721.7 million of investments in overnight money market funds, which are not bank deposits and are not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) or any other government agency. As of December 31, 2020, the Company had $752.4 million worth of investments in overnight money market funds. In addition, deposits in FDIC insured accounts generally exceed insured limits (see Notes 7 and 14).
 
(e)  Restricted Cash
 
Restricted cash represents the Company’s cash held by its counterparties in connection with certain of the Company’s Swaps and/or financing agreements that is not available to the Company for general corporate purposes. Restricted cash may be applied against amounts due to financing agreement and/or Swap counterparties, or may be returned to the Company when the related collateral requirements are exceeded or at the maturity of the Swap and/or financing agreements.  The Company had aggregate restricted cash held as collateral or otherwise in connection with its financing agreements and/or Swaps of $5.2 million and $7.2 million at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively (see Notes 5(c), 6, 7 and 14).

(f) Real Estate Owned (“REO”)
REO represents real estate acquired by the Company, including through foreclosure, deed in lieu of foreclosure, or purchased in connection with the acquisition of residential whole loans. REO acquired through foreclosure or deed in lieu of foreclosure is initially recorded at fair value less estimated selling costs. REO acquired in connection with the acquisition of residential whole loans is initially recorded at its purchase price. Subsequent to acquisition, REO is reported, at each reporting date, at the lower of the current carrying amount or fair value less estimated selling costs and for presentation purposes is included in Other assets on the Company’s consolidated balance sheets. Changes in fair value that result in an adjustment to the reported amount of an REO property that has a fair value at or below its carrying amount are reported in Other Income, net on the Company’s consolidated statements of operations. The Company has acquired certain properties that it holds for investment purposes, including rentals to third parties. These properties are held at their historical basis less depreciation, and are subject to impairment. Related rental income and expenses are recorded in Other Income, net (see Note 5).
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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
NOTES TO THE UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
MARCH 31, 2021

(g)  Leases and Depreciation
 
Leases

The Company records its operating lease liabilities and operating lease right-of-use assets on its consolidated balance sheets. The operating lease liabilities are equal to the present value of the remaining fixed lease payments (excluding real estate tax and operating expense escalations) discounted at the Company’s estimated incremental borrowing rate at the date of lease commencement, and the operating lease right-of-use assets are equal to the operating lease liabilities adjusted for lease incentives and initial direct costs. As lease payments are made, the operating lease liabilities are reduced to the present value of the remaining lease payments and the operating lease right-of-use assets are reduced by the difference between the lease expense (straight-lined over the lease term) and the theoretical interest expense amount (calculated using the incremental borrowing rate at the date of lease commencement). See Note 10 for further discussion on leases.

Leasehold Improvements, Real estate and Other Depreciable Assets
 
Depreciation is computed on the straight-line method over the estimated useful life of the related assets or, in the case of leasehold improvements, over the shorter of the useful life or the lease term.  Furniture, fixtures, computers and related hardware have estimated useful lives ranging from five to eight years at the time of purchase. The building component of real estate held-for-investment is depreciated over 27.5 years.
 
(h)  Loan Securitization and Other Debt Issuance Costs
 
Loan securitization related costs are costs associated with the issuance of beneficial interests by consolidated VIEs and incurred by the Company in connection with various financing transactions completed by the Company.  These costs may include underwriting, rating agency, legal, accounting and other fees.  Such costs, which reflect deferred charges (unless the debt is recorded at fair value, as discussed below), are included on the Company’s consolidated balance sheets as a direct deduction from the corresponding debt liability. These deferred charges are amortized as an adjustment to interest expense using the effective interest method. For certain financing agreements, such costs are amortized over the shorter of the period to the expected or stated legal maturity of the debt instruments. The Company periodically reviews the recoverability of these deferred costs and, in the event an impairment charge is required, such amount will be included in Operating and Other Expense on the Company’s consolidated statements of operations.

(i)  Financing Agreements

The Company finances the majority of its residential mortgage assets with financing agreements that include repurchase agreements and other forms of collateralized financing.  Under repurchase agreements, the Company sells assets to a lender and agrees to repurchase the same assets in the future for a price that is higher than the original sale price.  The difference between the sale price that the Company receives and the repurchase price that the Company pays represents interest paid to the lender.  Although legally structured as sale and repurchase transactions, the Company accounts for repurchase agreements as secured borrowings. Under its repurchase agreements and other forms of collateralized financing, the Company pledges its assets as collateral to secure the borrowing, in an amount which is equal to a specified percentage of the fair value of the pledged collateral, while the Company retains beneficial ownership of the pledged collateral.  At the maturity of a repurchase financing, unless the repurchase financing is renewed with the same counterparty, the Company is required to repay the loan including any accrued interest and concurrently receives back its pledged collateral from the lender.  With the consent of the lender, the Company may renew a repurchase financing at the then prevailing financing terms.  Margin calls, whereby a lender requires that the Company pledge additional assets or cash as collateral to secure borrowings under its repurchase financing with such lender, are routinely experienced by the Company when the value of the assets pledged as collateral declines as a result of principal amortization and prepayments or due to changes in market interest rates, spreads or other market conditions.  The Company also may make margin calls on counterparties when collateral values increase.
 
The Company’s repurchase financings collateralized by residential mortgage securities and MSR-related assets typically have terms ranging from one month to six months at inception, while the majority of our financing arrangements collateralized by residential whole loans have terms of twelve months or longer.  Should a counterparty decide not to renew a financing arrangement at maturity, the Company must either refinance elsewhere or be in a position to satisfy the obligation.  If, during the term of a financing, a lender should default on its obligation, the Company might experience difficulty recovering its
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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
NOTES TO THE UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
MARCH 31, 2021
pledged assets which could result in an unsecured claim against the lender for the difference between the amount loaned to the Company plus interest due to the counterparty and the fair value of the collateral pledged by the Company to such lender, including accrued interest receivable on such collateral (see Notes 6, 7 and 14).
 
The Company has elected the fair value option on certain of its financing agreements. These agreements are reported at their fair value, with changes in fair value being recorded in earnings each period (or other comprehensive income, to the extent the change results from a change in instrument specific credit risk), as further detailed in Note 6. Financing costs, including “up front” fees paid at inception related to financing agreements at fair value are expensed as incurred. Interest expense is recorded based on the current interest rate in effect for the related agreement.

(j)  Equity-Based Compensation
 
Compensation expense for equity-based awards that are subject to vesting conditions, is recognized ratably over the vesting period of such awards, based upon the fair value of such awards at the grant date. 
 
The Company has made annual grants of restricted stock units (“RSUs”) certain of which cliff vest after a three-year period, subject only to continued employment, and others of which cliff vest after a three-year period, subject to both continued employment and the achievement of certain performance criteria based on a formula tied to the Company’s achievement of average total shareholder return during that three-year period, as well as the total shareholder return (“TSR”) of the Company relative to the TSR of a group of peer companies (over the three-year period) selected by the Compensation Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Compensation Committee”) at the date of grant. The features in these awards related to the attainment of total shareholder return over a specified period constitute a “market condition,” which impacts the amount of compensation expense recognized for these awards.  Specifically, the uncertainty regarding the achievement of the market condition was reflected in the grant date fair valuation of the RSUs, which is recognized as compensation expense over the relevant vesting period.  The amount of compensation expense recognized is not dependent on whether the market condition was or will be achieved.
 
The Company makes dividend equivalent payments in connection with certain of its equity-based awards.   A dividend equivalent is a right to receive a distribution equal to the dividend distributions that would be paid on a share of the Company’s common stock.  Dividend equivalents may be granted as a separate instrument or may be a right associated with the grant of another award (e.g., an RSU) under the Company’s Equity Compensation Plan (the “Equity Plan”), and they are paid in cash or other consideration at such times and in accordance with such rules, terms and conditions, as the Compensation Committee may determine in its discretion.  Payments pursuant to dividend equivalents are generally charged to Stockholders’ Equity to the extent that the attached equity awards are expected to vest.  Compensation expense is recognized for payments made for dividend equivalents to the extent that the attached equity awards (i) do not or are not expected to vest and (ii) grantees are not required to return payments of dividends or dividend equivalents to the Company (see Notes 2(k) and 13).
 
(k)  Earnings per Common Share (“EPS”)
 
Basic EPS is computed using the two-class method, which includes the weighted-average number of shares of common stock outstanding during the period and an estimate of other securities that participate in dividends, such as the Company’s dividend equivalents attached to/associated with RSUs, to arrive at total common equivalent shares.  In applying the two-class method, earnings are allocated to both shares of common stock and estimated securities that participate in dividends based on their respective weighted-average shares outstanding for the period.  For the diluted EPS calculation, common equivalent shares are further adjusted for the effect of RSUs outstanding that are unvested and have dividends that are subject to forfeiture, and for the effect of outstanding warrants, using the treasury stock method.  Under the treasury stock method, common equivalent shares are calculated assuming that all dilutive common stock equivalents are exercised and the proceeds, along with future compensation expenses associated with such instruments (if any), are used to repurchase shares of the Company’s outstanding common stock at the average market price during the reported period.  In addition, the Company’s Convertible Senior Notes are included in the calculation of diluted EPS if the assumed conversion into common shares is dilutive, using the “if-converted” method. This calculation involves adding back the periodic interest expense associated with the Convertible Senior Notes to the numerator and by adding the shares that would be issued in an assumed conversion (regardless of whether the conversion option is in or out of the money) to the denominator for the purposes of calculating diluted EPS (see Note 12).
 
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MFA FINANCIAL, INC.
NOTES TO THE UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
MARCH 31, 2021
(l)  Comprehensive Income/(Loss)
 
The Company’s comprehensive income/(loss) available to common stock and participating securities includes net income, the change in net unrealized gains/(losses) on its AFS securities and derivative hedging instruments (to the extent that such changes are not recorded in earnings), adjusted by realized net gains/(losses) reclassified out of AOCI for sold AFS securities and terminated hedging relationships, as well as the portion of unrealized gains/(losses) on its financing agreements held at fair value related to instrument-specific credit risk, and is reduced by dividends declared on the Company’s preferred stock and issuance costs of redeemed prefe