10-K 1 anh-20171231x10k.htm 10-K anh_Current_Folio_10K

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549


FORM 10‑K


 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2017

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 001‑13709


ANWORTH MORTGAGE ASSET CORPORATION

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)


 

 

MARYLAND

52‑2059785

(State or Other Jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

 

 

1299 OCEAN AVENUE, SECOND FLOOR
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA

90401

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

(Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (310) 255‑4493

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

 

 

Title of Each Class

    

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Series A Cumulative Preferred Stock, $0.01 Par Value

 

New York Stock Exchange

Series B Cumulative Convertible Preferred Stock, $0.01 Par Value

 

New York Stock Exchange

Series C Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, $0.01 Par Value

 

New York Stock Exchange

Common Stock, $0.01 Par Value

 

New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: NONE


Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  ☒    No  ☐

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes  ☐    No  ☒

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  ☒    No  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).   Yes  ☒    No  ☐

Indicate by check mark that disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10‑K or any amendment to this Form 10‑K. ☒

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 

Accelerated Filer 

Non-Accelerated Filer     (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

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. ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b‑2 of the Act).   Yes  ☐    No  ☒

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the closing price of such stock on the New York Stock Exchange, as of June 30, 2017 was approximately $575,189,988.

As of February 23, 2018, the registrant had 98,202,392 shares of common stock issued and outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Part III of this Form 10‑K incorporates by reference certain portions of the registrant’s proxy statement for its 2018 annual meeting of stockholders to be filed with the Commission not later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this report.

 

 

 


 

ANWORTH MORTGAGE ASSET CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES

FORM 10‑K ANNUAL REPORT

FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2017

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

Item

 

Page

 

PART I

 

1. 

Business

1

1A. 

Risk Factors

33

1B. 

Unresolved Staff Comments

62

2. 

Properties

62

3. 

Legal Proceedings

62

4. 

Mine Safety Disclosures

62

 

 

 

 

PART II

 

5. 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

63

6. 

Selected Financial Data

66

7. 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

67

7A. 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

87

8. 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

92

9. 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

92

9A. 

Controls and Procedures

92

9B. 

Other Information

95

 

 

 

 

PART III

 

10. 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

96

11. 

Executive Compensation

96

12. 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

96

13. 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

96

14. 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

96

 

 

 

 

PART IV

 

15. 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

97

Signatures 

102

Financial Statements 

F-1

 

 

 

 


 

PART I

Item 1.     BUSINESS

Overview

Our Company

We were incorporated in Maryland on October 20, 1997 and commenced operations on March 17, 1998. Our principal business is to invest in, finance and manage a leveraged portfolio of residential mortgage-backed securities, or MBS, and residential mortgage loans which presently include the following types of investments:

·

Agency mortgage-backed securities, or Agency MBS, which include residential mortgage pass-through certificates and collateralized mortgage obligations, or CMOs, which are securities representing interests in pools of mortgage loans secured by residential property in which the principal and interest payments are guaranteed by a government-sponsored enterprise, or GSE, such as the Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae, or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, or Freddie Mac.

·

Non-agency mortgage-backed securities, or Non-Agency MBS, which are securities issued by companies that are not guaranteed by federally sponsored enterprises and that are secured primarily by first-lien residential mortgage loans.

·

Residential mortgage loans through consolidated securitization trusts. We finance our residential mortgage loans through asset-backed securities, or ABS, issued by the consolidated securitization trusts. The ABS which are held by unaffiliated third parties are non-recourse financing. The difference in the amount of the loans and the amount of the ABS represents our retained net interest in the securitization trusts.

Our principal business objective is to generate net income for distribution to our stockholders primarily based upon the spread between the interest income on our mortgage assets and our borrowing costs to finance our acquisition of those assets.

We have elected to be taxed as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code. As long as we retain our REIT status, we generally will not be subject to federal or state income taxes to the extent that we distribute our taxable net income to our stockholders, and we routinely distribute to our stockholders substantially all of the taxable net income generated from our operations. In order to qualify as a REIT, we must meet various ongoing requirements under the tax law, including requirements relating to the composition of our assets, the nature of our gross income, minimum distribution requirements and requirements relating to the ownership of our stock.

Our Manager

We are externally managed and advised by Anworth Management, LLC, or our Manager. Our Manager is supervised and directed by our board of directors, or our Board. Our day-to-day operations are being conducted by our Manager through the authority delegated to it under the Management Agreement between us and our Manager (which we refer to as the “Management Agreement”) and pursuant to the policies established by our Board.

Our Manager will also perform such other services and activities relating to our assets and operations as described in the Management Agreement. In exchange for services provided, our Manager receives a management fee paid monthly in arrears in an amount equal to one-twelfth of 1.20% of our Equity (as defined in the Management Agreement).

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Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 10‑K contains, or incorporates by reference, not only historical information but also forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, that are subject to the safe harbors created by such sections. Forward-looking statements involve numerous risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ from our beliefs, expectations, estimates, and projections and, consequently, you should not rely on these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. Forward-looking statements are not historical in nature and can be identified by words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “believe,” “assume,” “intend,” “seek,” “plan,” “target,” “goals,” “future,” “likely,” “may,” and similar expressions or their negative forms, or by reference to strategy, plans, or intentions. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties including, among other things, those described in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K under the caption “Risk Factors.” Other risks, uncertainties, and factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially and adversely from those projected are described below and may be described from time to time in reports we file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, including our Current Reports on Form 8‑K. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Statements regarding the following subjects, among others, that may affect our actual results may be forward-looking: risks associated with investing in mortgage-backed securities, or MBS, and related assets; changes in interest rates and the market value of our target investments; changes in prepayment rates of the mortgage loans securing our mortgage-related investments; changes in the yield curve; the credit performance of our Non-Agency MBS and residential mortgage loans held-for-investment; the concentration of the credit risks we are exposed to; the state of the credit markets and other general economic conditions, particularly as they affect the price of earnings assets and the credit status of borrowers; the availability of our target investments for purchase at attractive prices; the availability of financing for our target investments, including the availability of repurchase agreement financing; declines in home prices; increases in payment delinquencies and defaults on the mortgages comprising and underlying our target investments; changes in liquidity in the market for MBS, the re-pricing of credit risk in the capital markets, inaccurate ratings of securities by rating agencies, rating agency downgrades of securities, and changes in the supply of MBS available-for-sale; changes in the values of the MBS and other mortgage-related investments in our portfolio and the impact of adjustments reflecting those changes on our financial statements; our ability to generate the amount of cash flow we expect from our target investments; changes in our investment and financial strategies and the new risks that those changes may expose us to; changes in the competitive environment within our industry; changes that may affect our Manager’s ability to attract and retain personnel; our ability to successfully diversify our business into new investments and manage the new risks they may expose us to; our ability to manage various operational and regulatory risks associated with our business; our ability to establish, adjust and maintain appropriate hedges for the risks to our portfolio; legislative and regulatory actions affecting the mortgage and derivatives industries or our business; implementation of or changes in government regulations or programs affecting our business; changes due to the consequences of actions by the U.S. government and other foreign governments to address various financial and economic issues and our ability to respond to and comply with such actions and changes; our ability to maintain our qualification as a REIT for federal income tax purposes; our ability to maintain our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended; limitations imposed on our business due to our REIT status as exempt from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended; and our ability to manage our growth. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. New risks and uncertainties arise over time and it is not possible to predict those events or how they may affect us. Except as required by law, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

As used in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K, “Company,” “we,” “us,” “our” and “Anworth” refer to Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation.

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Our Investment Strategy

Our investment objective is to provide attractive risk-adjusted total returns to our stockholders over the long-term primarily through dividends and secondarily through capital appreciation. Our strategy is to invest in residential MBS (both Agency MBS and Non-Agency MBS), residential mortgage loans, and residential rental properties.

We seek to acquire assets that will produce competitive returns after considering the amount and nature of the investment’s anticipated returns, our ability to pledge the investment to secure collateralized borrowings and the costs associated with financing, managing and reserving for these investments.

We do not currently originate mortgage loans or provide other types of financing to the owners of real estate.

Financing Strategy

Our primary financing source for our Agency MBS portfolio is repurchase agreements which we may use to deploy, on a debt-to-allocated-equity basis, within a range of five to nine times leverage on our Agency MBS assets. We also use repurchase agreements to finance our Non-Agency MBS using leverage of approximately two times on a debt-to-allocated equity basis. We are not required to maintain any particular minimum leverage ratio.

Currently, we also invest in the subordinate classes of newly-formed securitization trusts, which allows us to consolidate all of the loans of these trusts. These residential mortgage loans are financed through ABS issued by the securitization trusts. The ABS which are held by unaffiliated third parties are non-recourse financing. The difference in the amount of the loans and the amount of the ABS represents our retained net interest in the loans held in the securitization trusts.

We employ short-term borrowing to attempt to increase potential returns to our stockholders. Pursuant to our Capital and Leverage Policy, we seek to strike a balance between the under-utilization of leverage, which reduces potential returns to stockholders, and the over-utilization of leverage, which could reduce our ability to meet our obligations during adverse market conditions.

The amount of leverage we deploy for particular investments in our target investments depends upon an assessment of a variety of factors, which may include: the anticipated liquidity and price volatility of our assets; the gap between the duration of our assets and liabilities, including hedges; the availability and cost of financing our assets; our opinion of the credit worthiness of financing counterparties; the health of the U.S. economy and residential mortgage and housing markets; our outlook for the level, slope and volatility of interest rates; the credit quality of the loans underlying our Agency MBS and Non-Agency MBS; and our outlook for asset spreads relative to the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, curve.

Repurchase agreements are financings pursuant to which one party, the seller or borrower, sells assets to the repurchase agreement counterparty, the buyer or lender, for an agreed price with the obligation to repurchase the assets from the buyer at a future date and at a price higher than the original purchase price. The amount of financing available under a repurchase agreement is limited to a specified percentage of the estimated market value of the assets. The difference between the sale price and repurchase price is the interest expense of financing under a repurchase agreement. Under repurchase agreement financing arrangements, if the value of the collateral decreases, the buyer could require the seller to provide additional cash collateral to re-establish the ratio of value of the collateral to the amount of borrowing. In the current financing climate, lenders using repurchase agreements generally advance approximately 94% to 97% of the market value of the Agency MBS financed (meaning a 3% to 6% discount from market value, also known as a “haircut”) and 65% to 80% of the market value of the Non-Agency MBS financed (meaning a 20% to 35% haircut). A significant decrease in advance rate or an increase in the haircut could result in our having to sell securities in order to meet additional margin requirements by the lender. We expect to mitigate our risk of margin calls under repurchase agreements by deploying a prudent amount of leverage that is below the amount that could be used under current advance rates.

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In order to reduce our exposure to counterparty-related risk, we generally seek to diversify our exposure by entering into repurchase agreements with multiple counterparties. At December 31, 2017, we had approximately $4.37 billion of outstanding balances under repurchase agreements with 20 different counterparties, with a maximum net exposure (the difference between the amount loaned to us and the value of the assets pledged by us as collateral) to any single lender of approximately $54.7 million, or approximately 8.1% of our equity.

Growth Strategy

It is our long-term objective to grow our earnings and our dividends per common share by increasing our paid-in capital and book value per share.

Our Target Investments

Our investment portfolio is focused on two different strategies that embody our hybrid investment approach. The target investments that fall under these strategies are:

Agency MBS

This strategy includes investing in Agency MBS and the related derivative transactions. The performance of this strategy is most affected by changes in interest rates, prepayments and mortgage spreads relative to U.S. Treasury securities. These assets have minimal exposure to the underlying credit of the investments. Agency MBS are collateralized by fixed-rate mortgage loans, adjustable-rate mortgage loans, or hybrid mortgage loans, or derivatives thereof, including:

·

mortgage pass-through certificates issued by a GSE such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; and

·

“to-be-announced” forward contracts, or TBAs, which are pools of mortgages with specific investment terms to be issued by government-sponsored enterprises at a future date.

Mortgage Credit Investments

These assets include investing in Non-Agency MBS, residential mortgage loans and related derivative transactions. Examples of Non-Agency MBS include MBS collateralized by prime mortgage loans, Alt-A mortgage loans and subprime mortgage loans, which may have fixed-rate, adjustable-rate or hybrid-rate terms.

Non-Agency MBS

Non-Agency MBS includes both senior and mezzanine MBS. Senior MBS refers to Non-Agency MBS that represent the senior-most tranches – that is, tranches which have the highest priority claim to cash flows from the related collateral pool within the MBS structure. Mezzanine MBS refers to subordinated tranches within the collateral pool. The Non-Agency MBS we purchase may include investment grade and non-investment grade classes including non-rated securities.

Hybrid mortgage loans have terms with interest rates that are fixed for a specified period of time and, thereafter, generally adjust annually to an increment over a specified interest rate index. ARMs refer to hybrid and adjustable-rate mortgage loans which typically have interest rates that adjust annually to an increment over a specified interest rate index.

We believe the performance of our Non-Agency MBS strategy is most affected by changes in credit performance of the underlying collateral. These assets also have interest rate and mortgage spread exposure, but we believe the exposure is not viewed to be the main driver of performance.

4


 

Residential Mortgage Loans Held-for-Investment

We invest in residential mortgage loans held-for-investment through consolidated securitization trusts. We finance our residential mortgage loans through ABS issued by the consolidated securitization trusts. The ABS which are held by unaffiliated third parties are non-recourse financing. The difference in the amount of the loans and the amount of the ABS represents our retained net interest in the loans held in the securitization trusts.

Residential Real Estate

These assets consist primarily of single-family residential properties which, after renovation, we lease to tenants. Our focus is on acquiring properties located in in-migration geographical areas that can produce high occupancy and attractive rental rates and generate long-term property appreciation.

While we presently have not acquired any single-family residential mortgage loans outside of securitized loan trusts, it is expected that we may do so in the future. After that time, it is expected that any properties acquired through foreclosure of mortgage loans that we own may be allocated to our rental properties portfolio, subject to any REIT regulations or requirements.

Our Operating Policies and Programs

We have established the following four primary operating policies to implement our business strategies:

·

our Asset Acquisition Policy;

·

our Capital and Leverage Policy;

·

our Credit Risk Management Policy; and

·

our Asset/Liability Management Policy.

Asset Acquisition Policy

Our Asset Acquisition Policy provides guidelines for acquiring investments and contemplates that we will acquire a portfolio of investments that can be grouped into specific categories. Each category and our respective investment guidelines are as follows:

·

Category I — At least 60% of our total assets will generally be high-quality MBS, unsecuritized prime residential mortgage loans and short-term investments. MBS in this category will be rated within one of the three highest rating categories (A- rated or better) by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization or, if not rated, will be obligations guaranteed by a GSE, such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Also included in Category I are the portion of mortgage loans that have been deposited into a trust and have received a rating within one of the three highest rating categories by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization.

·

Category II — At least 90% of our total assets will generally consist of Category I investments plus other mortgage-related assets. Included in this category are mortgage securities not rated within one of the three highest rating categories by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization, mortgage derivative securities, mortgage servicing rights, unsecuritized non-prime residential mortgage loans, shares of other REITs or mortgage-related companies and the portion of real estate mortgage loans that have been deposited into a trust and have not received a rating within one of the three highest rating categories by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization.

·

Category III — Assets not meeting any of the above criteria will be less than 10% of our total assets. Included in this category is the ownership of real estate.

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Capital and Leverage Policy

We employ a leverage strategy to increase our investment assets by borrowing against existing mortgage-related assets and using the proceeds to acquire additional mortgage-related assets. Our borrowings may vary from time to time depending on market conditions and other factors deemed relevant by our management and our Board. We believe that this will leave an adequate capital base to protect against interest rate environments in which our borrowing costs might exceed our interest income from mortgage-related assets. At December 31, 2017, our leverage on capital (including common stockholders’ equity, all preferred stock, and junior subordinated notes) was 5.94x.

Depending on the different costs of borrowing funds at different maturities, we may vary the maturities of our borrowed funds. Our borrowings are short-term and we manage actively, on an aggregate basis, both the interest rate indices and interest rate adjustment periods of our borrowings against the interest rate indices and interest rate adjustment periods on our mortgage-related assets.

Our mortgage-related assets are financed primarily at short-term borrowing rates through repurchase agreements. In the future, we may also employ borrowings under lines of credit and other collateralized financings that we may establish with approved institutional lenders.

Credit Risk Management Policy

Subject to the constraints of our Asset Acquisition Policy, we are allowed to own both investment grade and non-investment grade Non-Agency MBS and other mortgage-related assets. Prior to purchase, we review credit risk and other risks of loss associated with each of our potential investments. To lessen our overall credit risk, we may diversify our portfolio of mortgage-related assets relative to geographic, insurer, industry and certain other types of concentrations.

If there is a decline in the credit quality of any of our Non-Agency MBS holdings or in our retained interests in the loans held in the securitization trusts, we may, after evaluation, maintain or increase our holdings or liquidate all or a portion of the position. We are not required to sell a security when it is moved to a lower Category in our Asset Acquisition Policy.

We also enter into TBA Agency MBS as either a means of investing in and financing Agency MBS or as a means of disposing of or reducing our exposure to agency securities. Pursuant to TBA contracts, we agree to purchase or sell, for future delivery, Agency MBS with certain principal and interest terms and certain types of collateral, but the particular Agency MBS to be delivered are not identified until shortly before the TBA settlement date. We also may choose, prior to settlement, to move the settlement of these MBS out to a later date by entering into an offsetting short or long position (referred to as a “pair off”), net settling the paired off positions for cash, and simultaneously purchasing a similar TBA contract for a later settlement date. This transaction is commonly referred to as a “dollar roll.” The Agency MBS purchased or sold for a forward settlement date are typically priced at a discount to agency securities for settlement in the current month. This difference (or discount) is referred to as the “price drop.” The price drop represents compensation to us for foregoing net interest margin (interest income less repurchase agreement financing cost). TBA Agency MBS are accounted for as derivative instruments since they do not meet the exemption allowed for a “regular way” security trade under ASC 815, as either the TBA contracts do not settle in the shortest period of time possible or we cannot assess that it is probable at inception that we will take physical delivery of the security or that we will not settle on a net basis.

Asset/Liability Management Policy

Interest Rate Risk Management.   To the extent consistent with our election to qualify as a REIT, we follow an interest rate risk management program intended to protect our portfolio of mortgage-related assets and related debt against the effects of major interest rate changes. Specifically, our interest rate management program is formulated with the intent to offset, to some extent, the potential adverse effects resulting from rate adjustment limitations on our mortgage-related assets and the differences between interest rate adjustment indices and interest rate adjustment periods of our adjustable-rate mortgage-related assets and related borrowings.

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Our interest rate risk management program encompasses a number of procedures including the following:

·

monitoring and adjusting, if necessary, the interest rate sensitivity of our mortgage-related assets compared with the interest rate sensitivities of our borrowings;

·

attempting to structure our borrowing agreements relating to adjustable-rate mortgage-related assets to have a range of different maturities and interest rate adjustment periods (although substantially all will be less than one year); and

·

actively managing, on an aggregate basis, the interest rate indices and interest rate adjustment periods of our mortgage-related assets compared to the interest rate indices and adjustment periods of our borrowings.

We expect to be able to adjust the average maturity/adjustment period of our borrowings on an ongoing basis by changing the mix of maturities and interest rate adjustment periods as borrowings come due or are renewed. Through the use of these procedures, we attempt to reduce the risk of differences between interest rate adjustment periods of our adjustable-rate mortgage-related assets and our related borrowings.

Depending on market conditions and the cost of the transactions, we may conduct certain hedging activities in connection with the management of our portfolio. To the extent consistent with our election to qualify as a REIT, we may adopt a hedging strategy intended to lessen the effects of interest rate changes and to enable us to earn net interest income in periods of generally rising, as well as declining or static, interest rates. Specifically, hedging programs are formulated with the intent to offset some of the potential adverse effects of changes in interest rate levels relative to the interest rates on the mortgage-related assets held in our investment portfolio and differences between the interest rate adjustment indices and periods of our mortgage-related assets and our borrowings. We monitor carefully, and may have to limit, our hedging activity to assure that we do not realize excessive hedging income or hold hedges having excess value in relation to our mortgage-related assets, which could result in our disqualification as a REIT or, in the case of excess hedging income, if the excess is due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect, the payment of a penalty tax for failure to satisfy certain REIT income tests under the Code. In addition, hedging activity involves transaction costs that increase dramatically as the period covered by hedging protection increases and that may increase during periods of fluctuating interest rates.

Prepayment Risk Management.   We also seek to lessen the effects of prepayment of mortgage loans underlying our securities at a faster or slower rate than anticipated. We accomplish this by structuring a diversified portfolio with a variety of prepayment characteristics, investing in mortgage-related assets with prepayment prohibitions and penalties, investing in certain mortgage security structures that have prepayment protections and purchasing mortgage-related assets at a premium or at a discount. Under normal market conditions, we generally seek to maintain the aggregate capitalized purchase premium of the portfolio at 3.5% or less. In addition, we can purchase principal-only derivatives to a limited extent as a hedge against prepayment risks. We monitor prepayment risk through periodic review of the impact of a variety of prepayment scenarios on our revenues, net earnings, dividends, cash flow and net balance sheets market value.

We believe that we have developed cost-effective asset/liability management policies to mitigate prepayment risks. However, no strategy can completely insulate us from prepayment risks. Further, as noted above, certain of the federal income tax requirements that we must satisfy to qualify as a REIT limit our ability to fully hedge our prepayment risks. Therefore, we could be prevented from effectively hedging our prepayment risks.

Our Investment Portfolio

Agency MBS

Residential Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates.   We principally invest in pass-through certificates, which are securities representing interests in “pools” of mortgage loans secured by residential real property in which payments of both interest and principal on the securities are generally made monthly to holders of the security, in effect “passing through” monthly payments made by the individual borrowers on the mortgage loans that underlie the securities, net of

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fees paid to the issuer/guarantor and servicers of the securities. In general, mortgage pass-through certificates distribute cash flows from underlying collateral on a pro rata basis among certificate holders. The payment of principal and interest on these securities is guaranteed by Ginnie Mae or a GSE such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Early repayment of principal on some MBS, arising from prepayments of principal due to sale of the underlying property, refinancing or foreclosure, net of fees and costs which may be incurred, may expose us to a lower rate of return upon reinvestment of principal. This is generally referred to as “prepayment risk.” Additionally, if a security subject to prepayment has been purchased at a premium, the unamortized value of the premium would be lost in the event of prepayment.

Like other fixed-income securities, when interest rates rise, the value of a mortgage-backed security generally will decline. When interest rates are declining, however, the value of MBS with prepayment features may not increase as much as other fixed-income securities. The rate of prepayments on underlying mortgages will affect the price and volatility of MBS and may have the effect of shortening or extending the effective maturity of the security beyond what was anticipated at the time of purchase. When interest rates rise, our holdings of MBS may experience reduced returns if the owners of the underlying mortgages pay off their mortgages later than anticipated. This is generally referred to as “extension risk.”

Payment of principal and interest on some mortgage pass-through securities, though not the market value of the securities themselves, may be guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the federal government, including securities backed by Ginnie Mae, or by agencies or instrumentalities of the federal government, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. MBS created by non-governmental issuers, including commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers, may be supported by various forms of insurance or guarantees including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance and letters of credit which may be issued by governmental entities, private insurers or the mortgage poolers.

General Information About Agency MBS

The Agency MBS that we acquire provide funds for mortgage loans made to residential homeowners. These securities generally represent interests in pools of mortgage loans made by mortgage bankers, commercial banks, savings and loan institutions and other mortgage lenders. These pools of mortgage loans are assembled for sale to investors, such as us, by various government-related or private organizations.

Agency MBS differ from other forms of traditional debt securities, which normally provide for periodic payments of interest in fixed amounts with principal payments at maturity or on specified call dates. Instead, Agency MBS provide for a monthly payment, which may consist of both interest and principal. In effect, these payments are a “pass-through” of the monthly interest and scheduled and unscheduled principal payments (referred to as “prepayments”) made by the individual borrower on the mortgage loans, net of any fees paid to the issuer, servicer or guarantor of the securities.

The investment characteristics of Agency MBS differ from those of traditional fixed-income securities. Major differences include the payment of interest and principal on the securities on a more frequent schedule, as described above, and the possibility that principal may be prepaid, without penalty, at par at any time due to prepayments on the underlying mortgage loans. These differences can result in significantly greater price and yield volatility than is the case with traditional fixed-income securities.

Various factors affect the rate at which mortgage prepayments occur, including changes in the level of and directional trends in housing prices, interest rates, general economic conditions, defaults on the underlying mortgages, the age of the mortgage loan, the size of the loan, the loan-to-value ratio of the mortgage, the location of the property and social and demographic conditions. Additionally, changes to GSE underwriting practices or other governmental programs could also significantly impact prepayment rates or expectations. Also, the pace at which the loans underlying our securities become seriously delinquent or are modified and the timing of GSE repurchases of loans from our securities can materially impact the rate of prepayments. Generally, prepayments on Agency MBS increase during periods of falling mortgage interest rates and decrease during periods of rising mortgage interest rates; however, this

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may not always be the case. We may reinvest principal repayments at a yield that is higher or lower than the yield on the repaid investment, thus affecting our net interest income by altering the average yield on our assets.

Payments of principal and interest on Agency MBS, although not the market value of the securities themselves, are guaranteed either by the full faith and credit of the United States, such as those issued by Ginnie Mae, or by a GSE, such as those issued by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Agency MBS are collateralized by pools of fixed-rate mortgage loans, or FRMs, adjustable-rate mortgage loans, or ARMs, and hybrid ARMs. Hybrid ARMs are mortgage loans that have interest rates that are fixed for an initial period (typically ranging from one to ten years) and, thereafter, reset at regular intervals subject to interest rate caps. Our allocation of investments among securities collateralized by FRMs, ARMs or hybrid ARMs depends upon our Manager’s assessment of the relative value of the securities, which is based upon numerous factors including, but not limited to, expected future prepayment trends, supply and demand, costs of financing, costs of hedging, expected future interest rate volatility and the overall shape of the U.S. Treasury and interest rate swap yield curves.

The types of residential pass-through certificates in which we invest, or which may comprise the CMOs in which we may invest, are described below.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae

We invest in Agency MBS issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are stockholder-owned corporations chartered by Congress with a public mission to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the U.S. housing market. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are currently regulated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or the FHFA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the SEC, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, or the U.S. Treasury, and are currently operating under the conservatorship of the FHFA. The U.S. Treasury has agreed to support the continuing operations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with any necessary capital contributions while in conservatorship. However, the U.S. Government does not guarantee the securities, or other obligations, of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operate in the secondary mortgage market. They purchase residential mortgage loans and mortgage-related securities from primary mortgage market institutions, such as commercial banks, savings and loan associations, mortgage banking companies, seller/servicers, securities dealers and other investors. Through the mortgage securitization process, they package the purchased mortgage loans into guaranteed MBS for sale to investors, such as us, in the form of pass-through certificates and guarantee the payment of principal and interest on the securities or, on the underlying loans held within the securitization trust, in exchange for guarantee fees. The underlying loans must meet certain underwriting standards established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (referred to as “conforming loans”) and may be fixed- or adjustable-rate loans with original terms to maturity of up to 40 years.

Mortgage Credit Investments

Non-Agency MBS

Non-Agency MBS are securities backed by residential mortgages for which the payment of principal and interest is not guaranteed by a GSE or government agency. Instead, a private institution such as a commercial bank will package residential mortgage loans and securitize them through the issuance of MBS. Non-Agency MBS are often referred to as “private label MBS.” Non-Agency MBS may benefit from credit enhancement derived from structural elements, such as subordination, overcollateralization or insurance, and they may also be bought at significant discounts. As such, Non-Agency MBS can carry a significantly higher level of credit exposure relative to the credit exposure of Agency MBS. We may also purchase highly-rated instruments that benefit from credit enhancement or non-investment grade instruments that absorb credit risk. We focus primarily on Non-Agency MBS where the underlying mortgages are secured by residential properties within the United States. Non-Agency MBS also include securitized non-performing loans where resolution of the loans may come from loan modifications, short sales or foreclosures. While there is a high expectation of losses on these loans, the bonds benefit from credit enhancement and over-collateralization.

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Non-Agency MBS are backed by residential mortgages that can be comprised of prime mortgage or non-prime mortgage loans which are described below:

Prime mortgage loans. Prime mortgage loans are residential mortgage loans that generally conform to the underwriting guidelines of a U.S. Government agency or a GSE but that do not carry any credit guarantee from either a U.S. Government agency or a GSE. Jumbo prime mortgage loans are prime mortgage loans that conform to such underwriting guidelines except as to loan size.

Non-prime mortgage loans. Non-prime mortgage loans are residential mortgage loans that do not meet all of the underwriting guidelines of a U.S. Government agency or a GSE. Consequently, these loans may carry higher credit risk than prime mortgage loans. Non-prime mortgage loans may allow borrowers to qualify for a mortgage loan with reduced or alternative forms of documentation. This category includes loans commonly referred to as alternative A- paper, or Alt-A, or as subprime. Alt-A mortgage loans are considered riskier than prime mortgage loans but less risky than subprime mortgage loans. They are typically characterized by borrowers with less than full documentation, lower credit scores and higher loan-to-value ratios and include a higher percentage of investment properties. Subprime mortgage loans are considered to be of the lowest credit quality. These loans may also include option-ARM loans, which contain a feature providing the borrower the option, within certain constraints, to make lesser payments than otherwise required by the stated interest rate for a number of years, leading to negative amortization and increased loan balances.

Residential Mortgage Loans Held-for-Investment

We invest in residential mortgage loans held-for-investment through consolidated securitization trusts. We finance residential mortgage loans through ABS issued by the consolidated securitization trusts. The ABS which are held by unaffiliated third parties are non-recourse financing. The difference in the amount of the loans and the amount of the ABS represents our retained net interest in the loans held in the securitization trusts.

Other Mortgage-Related Investments

Mortgage Derivative Securities. We may acquire mortgage derivative securities in an amount not to exceed 10% of our total assets. Mortgage derivative securities provide for the holder to receive interest-only, principal-only or interest and principal in amounts that are disproportionate to those payable on the underlying mortgage loans. Payments on mortgage derivative securities are highly sensitive to the rate of prepayments on the underlying mortgage loans. In the event of faster or slower than anticipated prepayments on these mortgage loans, the rates of return on interests in mortgage derivative securities, representing the right to receive interest-only or a disproportionately large amount of interest or interest-only derivatives, would be likely to decline or increase, respectively. Conversely, the rates of return on mortgage derivative securities, representing the right to receive principal-only or a disproportionate amount of principal or principal-only derivatives, would be likely to increase or decrease in the event of faster or slower prepayments, respectively.

We may invest in inverse floaters, a class of CMOs with a coupon rate that resets in the opposite direction from the market rate of interest to which it is indexed, including LIBOR or the 11th District Cost of Funds Index. Any rise in the index rate, which can be caused by an increase in interest rates, causes a drop in the coupon rate of an inverse floater, while any drop in the index rate causes an increase in the coupon of an inverse floater. An inverse floater may behave like a leveraged security since its interest rate usually varies by a magnitude much greater than the magnitude of the index rate of interest. The leverage-like characteristics inherent in inverse floaters result in a greater volatility of their market prices.

We may also invest in other mortgage derivative securities that may be developed in the future.

Mortgage Warehouse Participations. We may occasionally acquire mortgage warehouse participations as an additional means of diversifying our sources of income. We anticipate that these investments, together with our investments in other Category III assets, will not, in the aggregate, exceed 10% of our total mortgage-related assets. These investments are participations in lines of credit to mortgage loan originators secured by recently originated

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mortgage loans that are in the process of being sold to investors. Our investments in mortgage warehouse participations may be limited because they are not qualified REIT assets under the Code.

Subordinated Interests. We may acquire subordinated interests, which are classes of MBS that are junior to other classes of the same series of MBS in the right to receive payments from the underlying mortgage loans. The subordination may be for all payment failures on the mortgage loans securing or underlying such series of mortgage securities. The subordination will not be limited to those resulting from particular types of risks, including those resulting from war, earthquake or flood, or the bankruptcy of a borrower. The subordination may be for the entire amount of the series of mortgage-related securities or may be limited in amount.

Other Mortgage-Related Assets

Mortgage Loans. We may also acquire and accumulate mortgage loans as part of our investment strategy until a sufficient quantity has been accumulated for securitization into high-quality MBS in order to enhance their value and liquidity. We anticipate that any mortgage loans that we would acquire and do not immediately securitize, will not constitute more than 40% of our total mortgage-related assets at any time. Mortgage loans would be acquired with the intent of securitizing them into high-credit quality mortgage securities. Despite our intentions, however, we may not be successful in securitizing these mortgage loans. We intend to validate all appraisals and the determination of obtaining any additional appraisals will be made before acquisition.

Mortgage loans and other mortgage-related assets may be purchased from various suppliers of mortgage-related assets throughout the United States including savings and loans associations, banks, mortgage bankers and other mortgage lenders.

Other Investments. We may acquire other investments that include equity and debt securities issued by other primarily mortgage-related finance companies, interests in mortgage-related collateralized bond obligations, other subordinated interests in pools of mortgage-related assets, commercial mortgage loans and securities and residential mortgage loans other than high-credit quality mortgage loans. Although we expect that our other investments will be limited to less than 10% of total assets, we have no limit on how much of our stockholders’ equity will be allocated to other investments. There may be periods in which other investments represent a large portion of our stockholders’ equity.

Residential Real Estate

These assets consist of residential properties which we lease to tenants. Our focus is on acquiring properties in those areas within in-migration states that will produce high occupancy and rental rates and generate long-term property appreciation.

Corporate Governance

We strive to maintain an ethical workplace in which the highest standards of professional conduct are practiced.

·

Our Board is composed of a majority of independent directors. Our Audit, Compensation, Nominating and Corporate Governance and Strategic Review Committees are comprised exclusively of independent directors.

·

In order to foster the highest standards of ethics and conduct in all of our business relationships, we have adopted a Code of Ethics and Business Conduct and Corporate Governance Guidelines, which cover a wide range of business practices and procedures that apply to all of our directors and officers and the officers and employees of our Manager. In addition, we have implemented a Whistle-Blower Hotline and procedures by which any officer or employee may raise, on a confidential basis, concerns regarding any questionable or unethical accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters with our Audit Committee.

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·

We have an Insider Trading Policy, which is incorporated into our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct, which prohibits any of our directors and officers and the officers and employees of our Manager from buying or selling our securities on the basis of material non-public information and prohibits communicating material non-public information about our Company to others.

·

We have a formal internal audit function, through the current use of an outsourced firm, to further the effective functioning of our internal controls and procedures. Our internal auditors report directly to our Audit Committee and the internal audit function is intended to provide management and our Audit Committee with an effective tool to identify and address areas of financial or operational concerns and to ensure that appropriate controls and procedures are in place. We have implemented Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended, which requires an evaluation of internal control over financial reporting in association with our consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2017 (see Item 9A, “Controls and Procedures,” included in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K).

Competition

When we invest in MBS and other mortgage-related assets, we compete with a variety of institutional investors including other REITs, insurance companies, mutual funds, pension funds, investment banking firms, banks and other financial institutions that invest in the same or similar types of assets. Many of these investors have greater financial resources and access to lower costs of capital than we do.

Employees

Effective December 31, 2011, in accordance with the Management Agreement, all of our employees at the Company were terminated and were employed by our Manager.

Company Information

We were incorporated in Maryland on October 20, 1997 and commenced our operations on March 17, 1998. Our principal executive offices are located at 1299 Ocean Avenue, Second Floor, Santa Monica, California, 90401. Our telephone number is (310) 255‑4493 and our fax number is (310) 434‑0070.

Information on our Company Website

The Company maintains a website, http://www.anworth.com. We make our Annual Reports on Form 10‑K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10‑Q, Current Reports on Form 8‑K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, available, free of charge, on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we file or furnish these reports with the SEC. In addition, we post the following information on our website (we do not intend to and does not hereby incorporate by reference the information on our website as a part of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K):

·

our corporate code of conduct, which qualifies as a “code of ethics” as defined by Item 406 of Regulation S‑K of the Exchange Act;

·

our corporate governance guidelines; and

·

charters for our Audit Committee, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and Compensation Committee.

All of the above information is also available in print upon request to our Corporate Secretary at the address listed under the heading “Company Information” above.

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CERTAIN FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

The following discussion summarizes particular U.S. federal income tax considerations regarding our qualification and taxation as a REIT and particular U.S. federal income tax consequences resulting from the acquisition, ownership and disposition of our capital stock. This discussion is based on current law and assumes that we have qualified at all times throughout our existence, and will continue to qualify, as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The tax law upon which this discussion is based could be changed and any such change could have a retroactive effect. The following discussion is not exhaustive of all possible tax considerations. This summary neither gives a detailed discussion of any state, local or foreign tax considerations nor discusses all of the aspects of U.S. federal income taxation that may be relevant to an investor in light of its particular circumstances or to particular types of stockholders which are subject to special tax rules, such as insurance companies, tax-exempt entities, financial institutions or broker-dealers, foreign corporations or partnerships and persons who are not citizens or residents of the U.S., stockholders that hold our stock as a hedge, part of a straddle, conversion transaction or other arrangement involving more than one position, or stockholders whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar. This discussion assumes that our capital stock is held by an investor as a “capital asset” under the Code, which generally is property held for investment.

General

Our qualification and taxation as a REIT depends upon our ability to meet, on an ongoing basis, various requirements imposed under the Code as discussed below, which relate to the nature of our gross income, the composition of our assets, distribution levels and diversity of stock ownership. Accordingly, the actual results of our operations for any particular taxable year may not satisfy these requirements.

We have made an election to be taxed as a REIT under the Code commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 1998. We currently expect to continue operating in a manner that will permit us to maintain our qualification as a REIT. All qualification requirements for maintaining our REIT status, however, may not have been, or might not continue to be, met.

So long as we qualify for taxation as a REIT, we generally will be permitted a deduction for dividends that we pay to our stockholders. As a result, we generally will not be required to pay federal corporate income taxes on our net income that is distributed to our stockholders on a current basis. This treatment substantially eliminates the “double taxation” that ordinarily results from investment in a corporation. Double taxation means taxation once at the corporate level when income is earned and once again at the stockholder level when this income is distributed. We will be required to pay federal income tax, however, as follows:

·

we will be required to pay tax at regular corporate rates on any undistributed “real estate investment trust taxable income,” including undistributed net capital gains;

·

we may be required to pay the “alternative minimum tax” on our items of tax preference; and

·

if we have (a) net income from the sale or other disposition of “foreclosure property” which is held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, or (b) other non-qualifying income from foreclosure property, we will be required to pay tax at the highest corporate rate on this income. Foreclosure property is generally defined as property acquired through foreclosure or after a default on a loan secured by the property or on a lease of the property.

To the extent that distributions exceed current and accumulated earnings and profits, they will constitute a return of capital, rather than dividend or capital gain income, and will reduce the stockholder’s tax basis in the stock with respect to which the distributions are paid and, to the extent that they exceed such basis, will be taxed in the same manner as gain from the sale of that stock. For purposes of determining whether distributions are out of current or accumulated earnings and profits, our earnings and profits will be allocated first to our preferred stock (rather than to our common stock) with the result that distributions with respect to our preferred stock are more likely to be treated as dividends than as return of capital or a distribution in excess of basis. Calculations of corporate earnings and profits are

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complex and it is possible that distributions expected to be a return of capital may subsequently be determined to be taxable distributions of earnings and profits.

Currently, dividends paid by regular C corporations to stockholders other than corporations are generally taxed at the rate applicable to long-term capital gains, which is currently a maximum of 20%, subject to certain limitations. Because we are a REIT, however, our dividends, including dividends paid on our stock, including shares of our preferred stock, generally will continue to be taxed at regular ordinary income tax rates, except in limited circumstances, including dividend distributions allocable to distributions we have received from a taxable REIT subsidiary or other taxable corporation; provided, however, that all such distributions, other than distributions which are taxable as capital gain dividends or traceable to distributions from a TRS, as are received by a pass-through entity or an individual, will be eligible for a 20% deduction from gross income starting in 2018 under the new tax laws. This eligibility for a 20% deduction will expire in 2025.

We will be required to pay a 100% tax on any net income from prohibited transactions. Prohibited transactions are, in general, sales or other taxable dispositions of property other than foreclosure property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business. While the Code contains certain safe harbors provisions to avoid the application of this 100% tax, outside of the safe harbor, the determination of whether property is held as inventory or primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business depends on all the facts and circumstances surrounding the particular transaction. No assurance can be given that any particular property in which we hold a direct or indirect interest will not be treated as property held for sale to customers, or that we can comply with certain safe harbor provisions of the Code that would prevent such treatment. The 100% tax will not apply to gains from the sale of property that is held through a taxable REIT subsidiary or other taxable corporation, although such income will be taxed to the corporation at regular corporate tax rates.

If we fail to satisfy the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test discussed below but nonetheless maintain our qualification as a REIT because certain other requirements are met, we will be subject to a tax equal to the greater of (i) the amount by which 75% of our gross income exceeds the amount qualifying under the 75% gross income test described below, and (ii) the amount by which 95% of our gross income exceeds the amount qualifying under the 95% gross income test described below, multiplied by a fraction intended to reflect our profitability.

In the event a more than de minimis failure of any of the asset tests occurs in a taxable year, as long as the failure was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect and we dispose of the assets or otherwise comply with the asset tests within six months after the last day of the quarter in which we identify such failure, we may pay a tax equal to the greater of $50 thousand or 35% of the net income from the non-qualifying assets during the period in which we failed to satisfy any of the asset tests in lieu of having our qualification as a REIT terminated.

In the event of a failure to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification occurring in a taxable year, other than the gross income tests and the asset tests, as long as such failure was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, we will be required to pay a penalty of $50 thousand for each such failure in order to maintain our REIT qualification.

We will be required to pay a nondeductible 4% excise tax on the excess of the required distribution over the amounts actually distributed if we fail to distribute during each calendar year at least the sum of:

·

85% of our real estate investment trust ordinary income for the year;

·

95% of our real estate investment trust capital gain net income for the year; and

·

any undistributed taxable income from prior periods.

This distribution requirement is in addition to, and different from, the distribution requirements discussed below in the section entitled “Annual Distribution Requirements.”

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We may elect to retain and pay income tax on our net long-term capital gain. In that case, if we so elect, a U.S. stockholder would be taxed on its proportionate share of our undistributed long-term capital gain (to the extent that we make a timely designation of such gain to the stockholder) and would receive a credit or refund of its proportionate share of the tax we paid. The basis of the stockholder’s shares is increased by the amount of the undistributed long-term capital gain (less the amount of capital gains tax paid by the REIT) includable by the stockholder.

If we own a residual interest in a real estate mortgage investment conduit, or REMIC, we will be taxable at the highest corporate rate on the portion of any excess inclusion income that we derive from the REMIC residual interests equal to the percentage of our stock that is held by “disqualified” organizations. Although the law is unclear, similar rules may apply if we own an equity interest in a taxable mortgage pool. To the extent that we own a REMIC residual interest or an interest in a taxable mortgage pool through a taxable REIT subsidiary, we will not be subject to this tax, although our taxable REIT subsidiary will be subject to corporate income tax on all of its income, including any income derived from the interest in a REMIC or taxable mortgage pool. A “disqualified organization” includes:

·

the United States of America;

·

any state or political subdivision of the United States of America;

·

any foreign government;

·

any international organization;

·

any agency or instrumentality of any of the foregoing;

·

any other tax-exempt organization other than a farmers’ cooperative described in Section 521 of the Code that is exempt both from income taxation and from taxation under the unrelated business taxable income provisions of the Code; and

·

any rural electrical or telephone cooperative.

If we acquire any asset from a corporation which is or has been taxed as a C corporation under the Code in a transaction in which the basis of the asset in our hands is determined by reference to the basis of the asset in the hands of the C corporation and we subsequently recognize gain on the disposition of the asset during the five-year period beginning on the date on which we acquired the asset, then we will be required to pay tax at the highest regular corporate tax rate on this gain to the extent of the excess of:

·

the fair market value of the asset, over

·

our adjusted basis in the asset,

·

in each case determined as of the date on which we acquired the asset.

We may be subject to a 100% excise tax on certain transactions with any taxable REIT subsidiaries (defined below) to the extent that such transactions are not conducted on a basis that is consistent with arm’s length terms.

In addition, notwithstanding our REIT status, we may also have to pay certain state and local income taxes, because not all states and localities treat REITs in the same manner as they are treated for federal income tax purposes.

Requirements for Qualification as a REIT

The Code defines a REIT as a corporation, trust or association:

1.

that is managed by one or more trustees or directors;

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2.

that issues transferable shares or transferable certificates to evidence beneficial ownership;

3.

that would be taxable as a domestic corporation but for Code Sections 856 through 859;

4.

that is not a financial institution or an insurance company within the meaning of the Code;

5.

that is beneficially owned by 100 or more persons;

6.

not more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock of which is owned, actually or constructively, by five or fewer individuals, including specified entities, at all times during the last half of each taxable year;

7.

that meets other tests, described below, regarding the nature of its income and assets and the amount of its distributions; and

8.

that elects to be a REIT or has made such election for a previous taxable year and satisfies all relevant filing and other administrative requirements established by the Internal Revenue Service, or the IRS, that must be met in order to elect and retain REIT status.

The Code provides that all of the first four conditions stated above must be met during the entire taxable year and that the fifth condition must be met during at least 335 days of a taxable year of twelve months, or during a proportionate part of a taxable year of less than twelve months. The fifth and sixth conditions do not apply until after the first taxable year for which an election is made to be taxed as a REIT.

For purposes of the sixth condition, certain specified types of trusts and tax-exempt entities are treated as individuals, except that a “look-through” exception generally applies with respect to pension funds.

Stock Ownership Tests

As noted above, our stock must be beneficially held by at least 100 persons, or the “100 Stockholder Rule,” and no more than 50% of the value of our stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of the taxable year, or the “5/50 Rule.” We are required to solicit information from certain of our record stockholders to verify actual stock ownership levels and our charter provides for restrictions regarding the transfer of our stock in order to aid in meeting the stock ownership requirements. If we were to fail either of the stock ownership tests, we would generally be disqualified from our REIT status. However, if we comply with regulatory rules pursuant to which we are required to send annual letters to holders of our stock requesting information regarding the actual ownership of our stock, and we do not know, or exercising reasonable diligence would not have known, whether we failed to meet the 5/50 Rule, then we will be treated as having met the 5/50 Rule.

Income Tests

We must satisfy two gross income requirements annually to maintain our qualification as a REIT:

·

We must derive, directly or indirectly, at least 75% of our gross income, excluding gross income from prohibited transactions, from specified real estate sources, including rental income, interest on obligations (including certain MBS) that are secured by mortgages on real property or on interests in real property, gain from the disposition of “qualified real estate assets” (i.e., interests in real property, mortgages secured by real property or interests in real property, and certain other assets), income from certain types of temporary investments, amounts, such as commitment fees, received in consideration for entering into an agreement to make a loan secured by real property, and income derived from a REMIC in proportion to the real estate assets held by the REMIC, unless at least 95% of the REMIC’s assets are real estate assets (in which case, all of the income derived from the REMIC), or the “75% gross income test;” and

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·

We must derive at least 95% of our gross income, excluding gross income from prohibited transactions, from (a) the sources of income that satisfy the 75% gross income test, (b) dividends, interest and gain from the sale or disposition of stock or securities, or (c) any combination of the foregoing, or the “95% gross income test.”

Gross income from servicing loans for third parties is not qualifying income for purposes of either gross income test. Any gross income from our sale of property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business is excluded from both the numerator and the denominator in both income tests (but is subject to a 100% tax as a prohibited transaction unless certain safe harbor provisions are satisfied). Income and gain from certain transactions that we enter into to hedge indebtedness incurred or to be incurred to acquire or carry real estate assets, and that are clearly and timely identified as such, are excluded from both the numerator and denominator for purposes of both gross income tests.

For purposes of the 75% and 95% gross income tests, a REIT is deemed to have earned a proportionate share of the income earned by any partnership, or any limited liability company treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, in which it owns an interest, which share is determined by reference to the REIT’s capital interest in such entity, and is deemed to have earned all of the income earned by any qualified REIT subsidiary (in general, a 100%-owned corporate subsidiary of a REIT) or any other entity that is disregarded as separated from the parent REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Interest earned by a REIT ordinarily does not qualify as income meeting the 75% or 95% gross income tests if the determination of all or some of the amount of interest depends on the income or profits of any person. Interest will not be disqualified from meeting such tests, however, solely by reason of being based on a fixed percentage or percentages of receipts or sales.

The following paragraphs discuss in more detail the specific application of the gross income tests to us:

Interest. The term “interest,” as defined for purposes of both gross income tests, generally excludes any amount that is based in whole or in part on the income or profits of any person. However, interest generally includes the following:

·

an amount that is based on a fixed percentage or percentages of receipts or sales; and

·

an amount that is based on the income or profits of a debtor as long as the debtor derives substantially all of its income from the real property securing the debt from leasing substantially all of its interest in the property and only to the extent that the amounts received by the debtor would be qualifying “rents from real property” if received directly by a REIT.

If a loan contains a provision that entitles a REIT to a percentage of the borrower’s gain upon the sale of the real property securing the loan or a percentage of the appreciation in the property’s value as of a specific date, income attributable to that loan provision will generally be treated as gain from the sale of the property securing the loan, which normally constitutes qualifying income for purposes of both gross income tests.

Interest on debt secured by a mortgage on real property or on interests in real property, including, for this purpose, discount points, prepayment penalties, loan assumption fees and late payment charges that are not compensation for services, generally is qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. However, if the highest principal amount of a loan outstanding during a taxable year exceeds the fair market value of the real property securing the loan as of the date the REIT agreed to originate or acquire the loan, a portion of the interest income from such loan will not be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test but will be qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test. The portion of the interest income that will not be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test will be equal to the portion of the principal amount of the loan that is not secured by real property—that is, the amount by which the loan exceeds the value of the real estate that is security for the loan. For purposes of these rules, ancillary personal property that secures a mortgage loan and has a value not in excess of 15% of the total value of the collateral (i.e., of the real property together with the personal property) is treated as real property.

The interest, original issue discount and market discount income that we receive from our mortgage loans and certain MBS (including Agency MBS and interests in REMICs) generally will be qualifying income for purposes of both

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gross income tests. However, as discussed above, if the fair market value of the real estate securing any of our loans is less than the principal amount of the loan, a portion of the income from that loan will be qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test but not the 75% gross income test.

Fee Income. We may receive various fees in connection with originating mortgage loans. The fees will be qualifying income for purposes of both the 75% and 95% income tests if they are received in consideration for entering into an agreement to make a loan secured by real property and the fees are not determined based on the borrower’s income or profits. Therefore, commitment fees will generally be qualifying income for purposes of the income tests. Other fees, such as fees received for servicing loans for third parties, are not qualifying income for purposes of either income test.

Dividends. Our share of any dividends received from any corporation (including any of our taxable REIT subsidiaries, but excluding any REIT) in which we own an equity interest will qualify for purposes of the 95% gross income test but not for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Our share of any dividends received from any other REIT in which we own an equity interest will be qualifying income for purposes of both gross income tests.

Rents from Real Property. Rents that we receive with respect to real property will qualify as “rents from real property” in satisfying the gross income requirements for a REIT described above provided that the following conditions are met:

·

First, the amount of rent must not be based, in whole or in part, on the income or profits of any person. However, an amount received or accrued generally will not be excluded from rents from real property solely by reason of being based on fixed percentages of receipts or sales;

·

Second, rents we receive from a “related party tenant” will not qualify as rents from real property in satisfying the gross income tests unless the tenant is a taxable REIT subsidiary, at least 90% of the property is leased to unrelated tenants and the rent paid by the taxable REIT subsidiary is substantially comparable to the rent paid by the unrelated tenants for comparable space. A tenant is a related party tenant if the REIT, or an actual or constructive owner of 10% or more of the REIT, actually or constructively owns 10% or more of the tenant;

·

Third, if rent attributable to personal property leased in connection with a lease of real property is greater than 15% of the total rent received under the lease, then the portion of rent attributable to the personal property will not qualify as rents from real property; and

·

Fourth, we generally must not operate or manage our real property or furnish or render services to our tenants, other than through an “independent contractor” who is adequately compensated and from whom we do not derive revenue. However, we may provide services directly to tenants if the services are “usually or customarily rendered” in connection with the rental of space for occupancy only and are not considered to be provided for the tenants’ convenience. In addition, we may provide a minimal amount of “non-customary” services to the tenants of a property, other than through an independent contractor, as long as our income from the services does not exceed 1% of our income from the related property. Furthermore, we may own up to 100% of the stock of a taxable REIT subsidiary, which may provide customary and non-customary services to tenants without tainting our rental income from the related properties.

Hedging Transactions. From time to time, we may enter into hedging transactions with respect to one or more of our assets or liabilities. Our hedging activities may include entering into interest rate swap agreements, caps and floors, options to purchase these items and futures and forward contracts. Income and gain from certain “hedging transactions” will be excluded from gross income for purposes of both the 95% gross income test and the 75% gross income test. A “hedging transaction” includes any transaction entered into in the normal course of our trade or business primarily to manage the risk of interest rate, changes or currency fluctuations with respect to borrowings made or to be made, or ordinary obligations incurred or to be incurred, to acquire or carry real estate assets. We will be required to clearly identify any such hedging transaction before the close of the day on which it was acquired, originated or entered into, and to meet certain other requirements. To the extent that any of our hedging transactions do not meet these

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requirements, or if we hedge for other purposes, or to the extent that a portion of our mortgage loans is not secured by “real estate assets” (as described below under “Asset Tests”), or in other situations, the income from those transactions could be treated as income that does not qualify for purposes of one or both of the gross income tests. We intend to structure any hedging transactions in a manner that does not jeopardize our status as a REIT.

Prohibited Transactions. As discussed above, a REIT will incur a 100% tax on the net income derived from any sale or other disposition of property other than foreclosure property that the REIT holds primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business. We believe that our assets generally will not be held primarily for sale to customers and that sales of our assets will not be considered to be in the ordinary course of our business. Whether a REIT holds an asset “primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business” depends, however, on the facts and circumstances in effect from time to time, including those related to a particular asset. When practicable, we will attempt to comply with the terms of safe-harbor provisions in the Code prescribing when an asset sale will not be characterized as a prohibited transaction or otherwise structure our sale transactions so as to minimize this risk.

Foreclosure Property. We will be subject to tax at the maximum corporate rate on any income from foreclosure property other than income that otherwise would be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, less expenses directly connected with the production of that income. However, gross income from foreclosure property will qualify under the 75% and 95% gross income tests. Foreclosure property is any real property, including interests in real property, and any personal property incident to such real property:

·

that is acquired by a REIT as the result of the REIT having bid on such property at foreclosure, or having otherwise reduced such property to ownership or possession by agreement or process of law, after there was a default or default was imminent on a lease of such property or on indebtedness that such property secured;

·

for which the related loan or lease was acquired by the REIT at a time when the default was not imminent or anticipated; and

·

for which the REIT makes a proper election to treat the property as foreclosure property.

Permitted foreclosure property income also includes foreign currency gain that is attributable to otherwise permitted income from foreclosure property. Such foreign currency gain also is included as foreclosure property income for purposes of any tax on such income.

However, a REIT will not be considered to have foreclosed on a property where the REIT takes control of the property as a mortgagee-in-possession and cannot receive any profit or sustain any loss except as a creditor of the mortgagor. Property generally ceases to be foreclosure property at the end of the third taxable year following the taxable year in which the REIT acquired the property or longer if an extension is granted by the Secretary of the Treasury. This grace period terminates and foreclosure property ceases to be foreclosure property on the first day:

·

on which a lease is entered into for the property that, by its terms, will give rise to income that does not qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test or any amount is received or accrued, directly or indirectly, pursuant to a lease entered into on or after such day that will give rise to income that does not qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test;

·

on which any construction takes place on the property, other than completion of a building or any other improvement, where more than 10% of the construction was completed before default became imminent; or

·

which is more than 90 days after the day on which the REIT acquired the property and the property is used in a trade or business which is conducted by the REIT other than through an independent contractor from whom the REIT itself does not derive or receive any income.

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Failure to Satisfy Gross Income Tests. If we fail to satisfy one or both of the gross income tests for any taxable year, we nevertheless may qualify as a REIT for that year if we qualify for relief under certain provisions of the federal income tax laws. Those relief provisions will be available if:

·

our failure to meet those tests is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, and

·

following such failure for any taxable year, a schedule of the sources of our income is filed in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury.

We cannot predict, however, whether in all circumstances we would qualify for the relief provisions. In addition, as discussed above, even if the relief provisions apply, we would incur a tax equal to the amount that our gross income fails to satisfy the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test, as applicable, multiplied by a fraction intended to reflect our profitability.

Foreign Investment and Exchange Gains

A REIT must be a U.S. domestic entity, but it is permitted to hold foreign real estate or other foreign-based assets, provided that the 75% and 95% income tests and other requirements for REIT qualification are met. A REIT that holds foreign real estate or other foreign-based assets may have foreign currency exchange gain under the foreign currency transaction tax rules. Foreign currency exchange gain originally was not explicitly included in the statutory definitions of qualifying income for purposes of the 75% and 95% income tests until a statutory change, although the IRS issued guidance that allowed foreign currency gain to be treated as qualified income in certain circumstances. The statutory change excludes certain foreign currency gain from the computation of qualifying income for purposes of the 75% income test or the 95% income test, respectively. The exclusion is solely for purposes of the computations under these tests.

The statutory change defines two new categories of income for purposes of the exclusion rules: “real estate foreign exchange gain” and “passive foreign exchange gain.” Real estate foreign exchange gain is excluded from gross income for purposes of both the 75% and the 95% income tests. Passive foreign exchange gain is excluded for purposes of the 95% income test but is included in gross income and treated as non-qualifying income, to the extent that it is not real estate foreign exchange gain, for purposes of the 75% income test.

Real estate foreign exchange gain is foreign currency gain which is attributable to: (i) any item of income qualifying for the numerator for the 75% income test; (ii) the acquisition or ownership of obligations secured by mortgages on real property or interests in real property; or (iii) becoming or being the obligor under obligations secured by mortgages on real property or interests in real property. Real estate foreign exchange gain also includes certain foreign currency gains attributable to certain “qualified business units” of the REIT.

Passive foreign exchange gain includes all real estate foreign exchange and, in addition, includes foreign currency gain which is attributable to: (i) any item of income or gain included in the numerator for the 95% income test, (ii) acquisition or ownership of obligations other than described in the preceding paragraph; (iii) becoming the obligor under obligations other than described in the preceding paragraph; and (iv) any other foreign currency gain to be determined by the IRS.

Notwithstanding the foregoing rules, except in the case of certain income excluded under the hedging rules, foreign currency exchange gain derived from engaging in dealing, or substantial and regular trading, in certain securities constitutes gross income that does not qualify under either the 75% or 95% income test.

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Asset Tests

To qualify as a REIT, we also must satisfy the following asset tests at the end of each quarter of each taxable year:

First, at least 75% of the value of our total assets must consist of:

·

cash or cash items, including certain receivables;

·

government securities;

·

interests in real property, including leaseholds and options to acquire real property and leaseholds;

·

interests in mortgage loans secured by real property (together with ancillary personal property that does not exceed 15% of the total collateral value), including, in general, our Agency MBS;

·

stock in other REITs;

·

debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs;

·

investments in stock or debt instruments during the one-year period following our receipt of new capital that we raise through equity offerings or public offerings of debt with at least a five-year term; and

·

regular or residual interests in a REMIC. However, if less than 95% of the assets of a REMIC consist of assets that are qualifying real estate-related assets under the federal income tax laws, determined as if we held such assets, we will be treated as holding directly our proportionate share of the assets of such REMIC.

The term “cash” for purposes of the REIT asset qualification rules is defined to include foreign currency if the REIT or its “qualified business unit” uses such foreign currency as its functional currency, but only to the extent such foreign currency is held for use in the normal course of the activities of the REIT or the “qualified business unit” giving rise to income in the numerator for the 75% or 95% income tests, or directly related to acquiring or holding assets qualifying for the numerator in the 75% assets test, and is not held in connection with a trade or business of trading or dealing in certain securities.

Second, not more than 25% of the value of our total assets may be represented by securities (other than those included in the preceding category).

Third, not more than 25% of the value of our total assets (20% commencing in 2018) may be represented by securities of one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries.

Fourth, except with respect to a taxable REIT subsidiary and securities that qualify for purposes of the 75% test described above, (a) not more than 5% of the value of our total assets may be represented by securities of any one issuer, (b) we may not hold securities possessing more than 10% of the total voting power of the outstanding securities of any one issuer and (c) we may not hold securities having a value of more than 10% of the total value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer.

For purposes of the second and third asset tests, the term “securities” does not include stock in another REIT, equity or debt securities of a qualified REIT subsidiary or taxable REIT subsidiary, mortgage loans that constitute real estate assets, or equity interests in a partnership.

For purposes of the 10% value test, the term “securities” does not include:

·

“Straight debt” securities, which is defined as a written unconditional promise to pay on demand or on a specified date a sum certain in money if (i) the debt is not convertible, directly or indirectly, into stock, and

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(ii) the interest rate and interest payment dates are not contingent on profits, the borrower’s discretion, or similar factors. “Straight debt” securities do not include any securities issued by a partnership or a corporation in which we or any controlled taxable REIT subsidiary (i.e., a taxable REIT subsidiary in which we own directly or indirectly more than 50% of the voting power or value of the stock) hold non-“straight debt” securities that have aggregate value of more than 1% of the issuer’s outstanding securities. However, “straight debt” securities include debt subject to the following contingencies:

·

a contingency relating to the time of payment of interest or principal, as long as either (i) there is no change to the effective yield of the debt obligation other than a change to the annual yield that does not exceed the greater of 0.25% or 5% of the annual yield, or (ii) neither the aggregate issue price nor the aggregate face amount of the issuer’s debt obligations held by us exceeds $1 million and no more than 12 months of unaccrued interest on the debt obligations can be required to be prepaid; and

·

a contingency relating to the time or amount of payment upon a default or prepayment of a debt obligation, as long as the contingency is consistent with customary commercial practice.

·

Any loan to an individual or an estate;

·

Any “section 467 rental agreement” other than an agreement with a related party tenant;

·

Any obligation to pay “rents from real property”;

·

Certain securities issued by governmental entities;

·

Any security issued by a REIT;

·

Any debt instrument of an entity treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes to the extent of our interest as a partner in the partnership; and

·

Any debt instrument of an entity treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes not described in the preceding bullet points if at least 75% of the partnership’s gross income, excluding income from prohibited transaction, is qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test described above in “Income Tests.”

The asset tests described above are based on our gross assets. For federal income tax purposes, we will be treated as owning both the loans we hold directly and, in general, any loans that we would securitize through non-REMIC debt securitizations. Although we will have a partially offsetting obligation with respect to the securities issued pursuant to securitizations, these offsetting obligations will generally not reduce the gross assets we are considered to own for purposes of the asset tests.

Although we believe that we have complied with and intend to continue to comply with the foregoing gross asset requirements applicable to REITs, we have held certain non-qualifying assets from time to time. At December 31, 2017, we owned approximately $47.7 million of investments in non-REMIC debt securitizations as well as certain other assets that did not qualify for purposes of the 75% asset test.

For purposes of these rules, if the outstanding principal balance of a mortgage loan exceeds the fair market value of the real property securing the loan (together with that of any ancillary personal property which serves as collateral), a portion of such loan likely will not be a qualifying real estate asset under the federal income tax laws.

Revenue Procedures 2011‑16 and 2014‑51 discuss the modification of a mortgage loan (or an interest therein) that is held by a REIT in which the modification was occasioned by either a default on the loan or a modification that satisfies both of the following conditions: (a) based on all the facts and circumstances, the REIT or servicer of the loan (the “pre-modified loan”) reasonably believes that there is a significant risk of default of the pre-modified loan upon maturity of the loan or at an earlier date, and (b) based on all the facts and circumstances, the REIT or servicer

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reasonably believes that the modified loan presents a substantially reduced risk of default, as compared with the pre-modified loan. Revenue Procedures 2011‑16 and 2014‑51 provide that a REIT may treat a modification of a mortgage loan described therein as not being a new commitment to make or purchase a loan for purposes of apportioning interest on that loan between interest with respect to real property or other interest. The modification will also not be treated as a prohibited transaction. Further, with respect to the REIT asset test, the IRS will not challenge the REIT’s treatment of a loan as being in part a “real estate asset” if the REIT treats the loan as being a real estate asset in an amount equal to the lesser of (a) the value of the loan as determined under Treasury Regulations Section 1.856‑3(a), or (b) the loan value of the real property securing the loan as determined under Treasury Regulations Section 1.856‑5(c) and Revenue Procedures 2011‑16 and 2014‑51.

We will monitor the status of our assets for purposes of the various asset tests and will seek to manage our investment portfolio to comply at all times with such tests. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be successful in this effort. In this regard, to determine our compliance with these requirements, we will need to estimate the value of the real estate securing our mortgage loans at various times. Although we will seek to be prudent in making these estimates, there can be no assurances that the IRS might not disagree with these determinations and assert that a lower value is applicable. If we fail to satisfy the asset tests at the end of a calendar quarter, we will not lose our REIT status if:

·

we satisfied the asset tests at the end of the preceding calendar quarter; and

·

the discrepancy between the value of our assets and the asset test requirements arose from changes in the market values of our assets and was not wholly or partly caused by the acquisition of one or more non-qualifying assets, or solely by a change in the foreign currency exchange rate used to value a foreign asset.

If we did not satisfy the condition described in the second item, above, we still could avoid disqualification by eliminating any discrepancy within 30 days after the close of the calendar quarter in which it arose.

In the event that, at the end of any calendar quarter, we violate the asset tests described above, we will not lose our REIT status if (i) the failure is de minimis (up to the lesser of 1% of our assets or $10 million) and (ii) we dispose of assets or otherwise comply with the asset tests within six months after the last day of the quarter in which we identify such failure. In the event of a more than de minimis failure of any of the asset tests, as long as the failure was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, we will not lose our REIT status if (i) we dispose of assets or otherwise comply with the asset tests within six months after the last day of the quarter in which we identify such failure and (ii) pay a tax equal to the greater of $50 thousand or 35% of the net income from the non-qualifying assets during the period in which we failed to satisfy the asset tests.

We currently believe that the securities and other assets that we expect to hold will satisfy the foregoing asset test requirements. However, no independent appraisals will be obtained to support our conclusions as to the value of our assets and securities, or in many cases, the real estate collateral for the mortgage loans that we hold. Moreover, the values of some assets may not be susceptible to a precise determination. As a result, there can be no assurance that the IRS will not contend that our ownership of securities and other assets violates one or more of the asset tests applicable to REITs.

Annual Distribution Requirements

Each taxable year, we must distribute dividends, other than capital gain dividends and deemed distributions of retained capital gain, to our stockholders in an aggregate amount at least equal to:

·

the sum of:

·

90% of our “REIT taxable income,” computed without regard to the dividends paid deduction and our net capital gain or loss, and

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·

90% of our after-tax net income, if any, from foreclosure property, minus

·

the sum of certain items of excess non-cash income.

We must pay such distributions in the taxable year to which they relate or in the following taxable year if we declare the distribution before we timely file our federal income tax return for the year and pay the distribution on or before the first regular dividend payment date after such declaration. In addition, dividends declared in October, November or December payable to stockholders of record in such month are deemed received by stockholders on December 31 and to have been paid on December 31 if actually paid in January of the following year. See below under “Distributions Generally.”

We will pay the federal income tax on taxable income, including net capital gain, that we do not distribute to stockholders. Furthermore, if we fail to distribute during a calendar year, or by the end of January following the calendar year in the case of distributions with declaration and record dates falling in the last three months of the calendar year, at least the sum of:

·

85% of our REIT ordinary income for such year,

·

95% of our REIT capital gain income for such year, and

·

any undistributed taxable income from prior periods,

we will incur a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the excess of such required distribution over the amounts we actually distribute. We may elect to retain and pay income tax on the net long-term capital gain we receive in a taxable year. See “Taxation of Taxable U.S. Stockholders.” If we so elect, we will be treated as having distributed any such retained amount for purposes of the 4% nondeductible excise tax described above. We intend to make timely distributions sufficient to satisfy the annual distribution requirements and to not incur corporate income tax and the 4% nondeductible excise tax.

It is possible that, from time to time, we may experience timing differences between the actual receipt of income and actual payment of deductible expenses and the inclusion of that income and deduction of such expenses in arriving at our REIT taxable income. Possible examples of those timing differences include the following:

·

Because we may deduct capital losses only to the extent of our capital gains, we may have taxable income that exceeds our economic income.

·

We will recognize taxable income in advance of the related cash flow if any of our mortgage loans or MBS are deemed to have original issue discount. We generally must accrue original issue discount based on a constant yield method that takes into account projected prepayments but that defers taking into account credit losses until they are actually incurred.

·

We may recognize taxable market discount income when we receive the proceeds from the disposition of, or principal payments on, loans that have a stated redemption price at maturity that is greater than our tax basis in those loans, although such proceeds often will be used to make non-deductible principal payments on related borrowings.

·

We may recognize taxable income without receiving a corresponding cash distribution if we foreclose on or make a significant modification to a loan to the extent that the fair market value of the underlying property or the principal amount of the modified loan, as applicable, exceeds our basis in the original loan.

·

We may recognize phantom taxable income from any residual interests in REMICs or from retained ownership interests in mortgage loans that are used in certain securitization structures.

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Although several types of non-cash income are excluded in determining the annual distribution requirement, we will incur corporate income tax and the 4% nondeductible excise tax with respect to those non-cash income items if we do not distribute those items on a current basis. As a result of the foregoing, we may have less cash than is necessary to distribute all of our taxable income and thereby avoid corporate income tax and the excise tax imposed on certain undistributed income. In such a situation, we may need to borrow funds or issue additional common stock or preferred stock.

Under certain circumstances, we may be able to correct a failure to meet the distribution requirement for a year by paying “deficiency dividends” to our stockholders in a later year. We may include such deficiency dividends in our deduction for dividends paid for the earlier year. Although we may be able to avoid income tax on amounts distributed as deficiency dividends, we will be required to pay interest to the IRS based upon the amount of any deduction we take for deficiency dividends.

Recordkeeping Requirements

We must maintain certain records in order to qualify as a REIT. In addition, to avoid a monetary penalty, we must request, on an annual basis, information from our stockholders designed to disclose the actual ownership of our outstanding stock. We intend to comply with these requirements.

Failure to Qualify

If we fail to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification, other than the gross income tests and the asset tests, we could avoid disqualification if our failure is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect and we pay a penalty of $50 thousand for each such failure. In addition, there are relief provisions for a failure of the gross income tests and asset tests as described in “Income Tests” and “Asset Tests.”

If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year and no relief provision applies, we would be subject to federal income tax and any applicable alternative minimum tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates. In calculating our taxable income in a year in which we fail to qualify as a REIT, we would not be able to deduct amounts distributed to our stockholders. In fact, we would not be required to distribute any amounts to stockholders in that year. In such event, to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits, all distributions to stockholders would be taxable as ordinary income. Subject to certain limitations of the federal income tax laws, corporate stockholders might be eligible for the dividends received deduction and domestic non-corporate stockholders may be eligible for the reduced federal income tax rate of 20% on qualified dividends. Unless we qualified for relief under specific statutory provisions, we also would be disqualified from taxation as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which we ceased to qualify as a REIT. We cannot predict whether, in all circumstances, we would qualify for such statutory relief.

Qualified REIT Subsidiaries

A Qualified REIT Subsidiary, or QRS, is any corporation in which we own 100% of the outstanding stock and for which no election has been made to classify it as a taxable REIT subsidiary. The separate existence of a QRS is disregarded for federal income tax purposes. As such, assets, liabilities and income of a QRS would generally be treated as our assets, liabilities and income for purposes of each of the above REIT qualification tests. In February 2014, we incorporated our wholly-owned QRS, Anworth Properties, Inc., which commenced operations in March 2014. In August 2017, we incorporated another wholly-owned subsidiary, Anworth Mortgage Loans, Inc., which has not yet commenced operations. Our subsidiaries may own, from time to time, REIT-qualifying assets, such as certain types of mortgage assets and rental real estate assets.

Taxable REIT Subsidiaries

A Taxable REIT Subsidiary, or TRS, is any corporation in which we own stock (directly or indirectly) and that we and such corporation jointly elect to classify as a TRS. A TRS is not subject to the REIT asset, income and distribution requirements, nor is its assets, liabilities or income treated as our assets, liabilities or income for purposes of each of the above REIT qualification tests. We have incorporated Anworth Property Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary

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which we intend will be treated as a TRS, although it has not yet commenced operations. Our TRS will provide an entity through which we may participate in various activities that might otherwise have adverse tax consequences if conducted directly by a REIT or through a QRS. Unlike a REIT, a TRS pays standard corporate taxes on its income. Examples of activities in which a TRS might engage include: sales of assets in the ordinary course of business that would be a prohibited transaction if sold by the parent REIT; certain securitization activities; and certain service activities (including management of properties owned by third parties and non-customary services to real estate tenants). We generally intend to make a taxable REIT subsidiary election with respect to any other corporation in which we acquire securities constituting more than 10% by vote or value of such corporation and that is not a qualified REIT subsidiary. However, the aggregate value of all of our taxable REIT subsidiaries must be limited to 25% of the total value of our assets (20% commencing in 2018).

We may be subject to a 100% penalty tax on certain transactions with a taxable REIT subsidiary that are not on an arm’s length basis. We intend for the terms of any transactions with a taxable REIT subsidiary to be consistent with arm’s length terms.

We generally expect to derive any income from any taxable REIT subsidiaries in the form of dividends. Such dividends are not real estate source income for purposes of the 75% income test, although they will qualify for purposes of the 95% test. Therefore, when aggregated with our non-real estate source income, such dividends must not exceed 25% of our gross income in any year. We intend to monitor the value of our investment in, and the distributions from, our taxable REIT subsidiaries to ensure compliance with all applicable REIT income and asset tests in the event that we establish any taxable REIT subsidiaries.

Taxable REIT subsidiaries are generally subject to corporate level tax on their net income and will generally be able to distribute only net after-tax earnings to their stockholders, including us, as dividend distributions. Any dividends that we pay which are attributable to dividends received by us from taxable REIT subsidiaries can qualify for the 20% tax rate on qualified dividends in the hands of our stockholders that are not corporations.

Taxation of Taxable U.S. Stockholders

For purposes of the discussion in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K, the term “U.S. stockholder” means a holder of our stock that is, for U.S. federal income tax purposes:

·

a citizen or resident of the U.S.;

·

a corporation (including an entity treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes), partnership or other entity created or organized in or under the laws of the U.S. or of any state thereof or in the District of Columbia, unless Treasury regulations provide otherwise;

·

an estate the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source; or

·

a trust (i) whose administration is subject to the primary supervision of a U.S. court and which has one or more U.S. persons who have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust or (ii) that has a valid election in place to be treated as a U.S. person.

Distributions Generally

Distributions out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits, other than capital gain dividends, will generally be taxable to U.S. stockholders as ordinary income; provided, however, that all such distributions, other than distributions which are taxable as capital gain dividends or traceable to distributions from a TRS, as are received by a pass-through entity or an individual, will be eligible for a 20% deduction from gross income starting in 2018 under the new tax laws. This eligibility for a 20% deduction will expire in 2025. Provided that we continue to qualify as a REIT, dividends paid by us will not be eligible for the dividends received deduction generally available to U.S. stockholders that are corporations. To the extent that we make distributions in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits, the distributions will be treated as a tax-free return of capital to each U.S. stockholder and will reduce the adjusted tax

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basis which each U.S. stockholder has in our stock by the amount of the distribution, but not below zero. Distributions in excess of a U.S. stockholder’s adjusted tax basis in its stock will be taxable as capital gain and will be taxable as long-term capital gain if the stock has been held for more than one year. If we declare a dividend in October, November, or December of any calendar year which is payable to stockholders of record on a specified date in such a month and actually pay the dividend during January of the following calendar year, the dividend is deemed to be paid by us and received by the stockholder on December 31st of the previous year, but only to the extent we have any remaining undistributed earnings and profits (as computed under the Code) as of December 31st. Any portion of this distribution in excess of our previously undistributed earnings and profits as of December 31st should be treated as a distribution to our stockholders in the following calendar year for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Stockholders may not include in their own income tax returns any of our net operating losses or capital losses. Ordinary dividends to a U.S. stockholder generally will not be eligible for the favorable tax rates (currently 20% maximum rate) for “qualified dividend income.” However, the 20% tax rate for “qualified dividend income” will apply to our ordinary REIT dividends that are attributable to (i) dividends received by us from non-REIT corporations such as a taxable REIT subsidiary, and (ii) any income on which we have paid a corporate income tax.

Cost Basis Reporting

New federal income tax information reporting rules may apply to certain transactions in our shares, including the acquisition of shares pursuant to the Dividend Reinvestment and Stock Purchase Plan. Where such rules apply, the “cost basis” calculated for the shares involved will be reported to the IRS and to you. For “cost basis” reporting purposes, you may identify by lot the shares that you transfer or that are redeemed, but if you do not timely notify us of your election, we will identify the shares that are transferred or redeemed on a “first in/first out” basis. The shares in the Dividend Reinvestment and Stock Purchase Plan are also eligible for the “average cost” basis method, should you so elect.

Brokers that are required to report the gross proceeds from a sale of shares on Form 1099‑B are generally required to report the customer’s adjusted basis in the shares and whether any gain or loss with respect to the shares is long-term or short-term. In some cases, there may be alternative methods of determining the basis in shares that are disposed of, in which case a broker will apply a default method of its choosing if the investor does not indicate which method it chooses to have applied.

Capital Gain Distributions

Distributions designated by us as capital gain dividends will be taxable to U.S. stockholders as capital gain income. We can designate distributions as capital gain dividends to the extent of our net capital gain for the taxable year of the distribution. This capital gain income will generally be taxable to non-corporate U.S. stockholders at a 20% or 25% rate based on the characteristics of the asset we sold that produced the gain. U.S. stockholders that are corporations may be required to treat up to 20% of certain capital gain dividends as ordinary income.

Retention of Net Capital Gains

We may elect to retain, rather than distribute as a capital gain dividend, our net capital gains. If we were to make this election, we would pay tax on such retained capital gains. In such a case, if we so elect, our stockholders would:

·

include their proportionate share of our undistributed net capital gains in their taxable income;

·

receive a credit for their proportionate share of the tax paid by us in respect of such net capital gain; and

·

increase the adjusted basis of their stock by the difference between the amount of their share of our undistributed net capital gain and their share of the tax paid by us.

Passive Activity Losses, Investment Interest Limitations and Other Considerations of Holding Our Stock

Distributions that we make and gains arising from the sale or exchange of our stock by a U.S. stockholder will not be treated as passive activity income. As a result, U.S. stockholders will not be able to apply any “passive losses” against

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income or gains relating to our stock. Distributions by us, to the extent they do not constitute a return of capital, generally will be treated as investment income for purposes of computing the limitations under the Code on the deductibility of investment interest expense. Further, if we, or a portion of our assets, were to be treated as a taxable mortgage pool, or if we hold a residual interest in a REMIC, any resultant excess inclusion income that we derive which is allocated to you could not be offset by any losses or other deductions you may have.

Dispositions of Stock and Warrants

A U.S. stockholder or U.S. warrant holder that sells or disposes of our stock or warrants will recognize gain or loss for federal income tax purposes in an amount equal to the difference between the amount of cash or the fair market value of any property the stockholder or warrant holder receives on the sale or other disposition and the stockholder’s or warrant holder’s adjusted tax basis in the stock or warrants, as applicable. This gain or loss will be capital gain or loss and will be long-term capital gain or loss if the stockholder or warrant holder has held the stock or warrants for more than one year. In general, any loss recognized by a U.S. stockholder or warrant holder upon the sale or other disposition of our stock or warrants that the stockholder or warrant holder has held for six months or less will be treated as long-term capital loss to the extent the stockholder or warrant holder received distributions from us which were required to be treated as long-term capital gains. All or a portion of any loss that a U.S. stockholder or warrant holder realizes upon a taxable disposition of our stock or warrants may be disallowed if the stockholder purchases other stock within 30 days before or after the disposition.

Information Reporting and Backup Withholding

We report to our U.S. stockholders and the IRS the amount of dividends paid during each calendar year and the amount of any tax withheld. Under the backup withholding rules, a stockholder may be subject to backup withholding with respect to dividends paid and redemption proceeds unless the holder is a corporation or comes within other exempt categories and, when required, demonstrates this fact or provides a taxpayer identification number or social security number certifying as to no loss of exemption from backup withholding and otherwise complies with applicable requirements of the backup withholding rules. A U.S. stockholder that does not provide us with its correct taxpayer identification number or social security number may also be subject to penalties imposed by the IRS. A U.S. stockholder can meet this requirement by providing us with a correct, properly completed and executed copy of IRS Form W‑9 or a substantially similar form. Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amount paid as backup withholding will be creditable against the stockholder’s income tax liability, if any, and otherwise be refundable. In addition, we may be required to withhold a portion of capital gain distributions made to any stockholders who fail to certify their non-foreign status.

Medicare Tax

Certain U.S. stockholders who are individuals, estates or trusts and whose income exceeds certain thresholds will be required to pay a 3.8% Medicare tax on dividends, interest and certain other investment income, including capital gains from the sale or disposition of our stock.

Taxation of Tax-Exempt Stockholders

The IRS has ruled that amounts distributed as a dividend by a REIT will be excluded from the calculation of unrelated business taxable income, or UBTI, when received by a tax-exempt entity. Based on that ruling, provided that a tax-exempt stockholder has not held our stock as “debt financed property” within the meaning of the Code, i.e., property, the acquisition, or holding of which is financed through a borrowing by the tax-exempt U.S. stockholder, the stock is not otherwise used in an unrelated trade or business, and we do not hold a residual interest in a REMIC that gives rise to “excess inclusion” income, as defined in Section 860E of the Code, dividend income on our stock and income from the sale of our stock should not be unrelated business taxable income to a tax-exempt stockholder. However, if we or a pool of our assets were to be treated as a “taxable mortgage pool,” a portion of the dividends paid to a tax-exempt stockholder may be subject to tax as unrelated business taxable income. Although we do not believe that we, or any portion of our assets, will be treated as a taxable mortgage pool, no assurance can be given that the IRS might not successfully maintain that such a taxable mortgage pool exists.

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For tax-exempt stockholders that are social clubs, voluntary employee benefit associations, supplemental unemployment benefit trusts, and qualified group legal services plans exempt from federal income taxation under Sections 501(c)(7), (c)(9), (c)(17) and (c)(20) of the Code, respectively, income from an investment in our stock will constitute unrelated business taxable income unless the organization is able to properly claim a deduction for amounts set aside or placed in reserve for certain purposes so as to offset the income generated by its investment in our stock. Any prospective and current investors should consult their tax advisors concerning these “set aside” and reserve requirements.

Notwithstanding the above, however, a substantial portion of the dividends that a tax-exempt stockholder receives may constitute UBTI if we are treated as a “pension-held REIT” and the stockholder is a pension trust which:

·

is described in Section 401(a) of the Code; and

·

holds more than 10%, by value, of the interests in the REIT.

Tax-exempt pension funds that are described in Section 401(a) of the Code and exempt from tax under Section 501(a) of the Code are referred to below as “qualified trusts.”

A REIT is a “pension-held REIT” if:

·

it would not have qualified as a REIT but for the fact that Section 856(h)(3) of the Code provides that stock owned by a qualified trust shall be treated, for purposes of the 5/50 Rule, described above, as owned by the beneficiaries of the trust, rather than by the trust itself; and

·

either at least one qualified trust holds more than 25%, by value, of the interests in the REIT, or one or more qualified trusts, each of which owns more than 10%, by value, of the interests in the REIT, holds in the aggregate more than 50%, by value, of the interests in the REIT.

The percentage of any REIT dividend treated as unrelated business taxable income is equal to the ratio of:

·

the unrelated business taxable income earned by the REIT, less directly related expenses, treating the REIT as if it were a qualified trust (and therefore subject to the rules regarding unrelated business taxable income), to

·

the total gross income, less directly related expenses, of the REIT.

A de minimis exception applies where the percentage is less than 5% for any year. As a result of the limitations on the transfer and ownership of stock contained in our charter, we do not expect to be classified as a “pension-held REIT.”

Taxation of Non-U.S. Stockholders

The rules governing federal income taxation of “non-U.S. stockholders” are complex and no attempt will be made herein to provide more than a summary of these rules. “Non-U.S. stockholders” means beneficial owners of shares of our stock that are not U.S. stockholders (as such term is defined in the discussion above under the heading entitled “Taxation of Taxable U.S. Stockholders”).

Distributions to non-U.S. stockholders that are not attributable to gain from our sale or exchange of U.S. real property interests, and that are not designated by us as capital gain dividends or retained capital gains, will be treated as dividends of ordinary income to the extent that they are made out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits. These distributions will generally be subject to a withholding tax equal to 30% of the distribution unless an applicable tax treaty reduces or eliminates that tax. However, if income from an investment in our stock is treated as effectively connected with the non-U.S. stockholder’s conduct of a U.S. trade or business, the non-U.S. stockholder generally will be subject to federal income tax at graduated rates on a net basis in the same manner as U.S. stockholders are taxed with

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respect to those distributions and also may be subject to the 30% branch profits tax in the case of a non-U.S. stockholder that is a corporation. We expect to withhold tax at the rate of 30% on the gross amount of any distributions made to a non-U.S. stockholder unless:

·

a lower treaty rate applies and any required form, for example IRS Form W‑8BEN, evidencing eligibility for that reduced rate is filed by the non-U.S. stockholder with us; or

·

the non-U.S. stockholder files an IRS Form W‑8ECI with us claiming that the distribution is effectively connected income.

Any portion of the dividends paid to non-U.S. stockholders that is treated as excess inclusion income will not be eligible for exemption from the 30% withholding tax or a reduced treaty rate.

Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits will not be taxable to non-U.S. stockholders to the extent that these distributions do not exceed the adjusted basis of the stockholder’s stock, but rather will reduce the adjusted basis of that stock. To the extent that distributions in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits exceed the adjusted basis of a non-U.S. stockholder’s stock, these distributions will give rise to tax liability if the non-U.S. stockholder would otherwise be subject to tax on any gain from the sale or disposition of its stock, as described below. Because it generally cannot be determined at the time a distribution is made whether or not such distribution may be in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits, the entire amount of any distribution normally will be subject to withholding at the same rate as a dividend. However, amounts so withheld are creditable against U.S. tax liability, if any, or refundable by the IRS to the extent that the distribution is subsequently determined to be in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits. We are also required to withhold 15% of any distribution in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits if our stock is a U.S. real property interest and if we are not a domestically controlled REIT, as discussed below. Consequently, although we intend to generally withhold at a rate of 30% on the entire amount of any distribution to a non-U.S. stockholder, to the extent that we do not do so, any portion of a distribution not subject to withholding at a rate of 30% may be subject to withholding at a rate of 15%.

Distributions attributable to our capital gains which are not attributable to gain from the sale or exchange of a U.S. real property interest generally will not be subject to income taxation unless (1) investment in our stock is effectively connected with the non-U.S. stockholder’s U.S. trade or business (or, if an income tax treaty applies, is attributable to a U.S. permanent establishment of the non-U.S. stockholder), in which case the non-U.S. stockholder will be subject to the same treatment as U.S. stockholders with respect to such gain (except that a corporate non-U.S. stockholder may also be subject to the 30% branch profits tax), or (2) the non-U.S. stockholder is a non-resident alien individual who is present in the U.S. for 183 days or more during the taxable year and certain other conditions are satisfied, in which case the non-resident alien individual will be subject to a 30% tax on the individual’s capital gains.

For any year in which we qualify as a REIT, distributions that are attributable to gain from the sale or exchange of a U.S. real property interest, which includes some interests in real property, but generally does not include an interest solely as a creditor in mortgage loans or MBS, will be taxed to a non-U.S. stockholder under the provisions of the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980, or FIRPTA. Under FIRPTA, distributions attributable to gain from sales of U.S. real property interests are taxed to a non-U.S. stockholder as if that gain were effectively connected with the stockholder’s conduct of a U.S. trade or business (effectively connected income). Non-U.S. stockholders thus would be taxed on such income at the normal capital gain rates applicable to U.S. stockholders, subject to applicable alternative minimum tax and a special alternative minimum tax in the case of nonresident alien individuals. Distributions that are subject to FIRPTA also may be subject to the 30% branch profits tax in the hands of a non-U.S. corporate stockholder. We are required to withhold 35% of any distribution that we designate (or, if greater, the amount that we could designate) as a capital gains dividend. The amount withheld is creditable against the non-U.S. stockholder’s FIRPTA tax liability.

A capital gain distribution from a REIT to a foreign investor will not be treated by a non-U.S. stockholder as effectively connected income, provided that (i) the distribution is received with respect to a class of stock that is regularly traded on an established securities market located in the U.S. (our stock currently is so traded) and (ii) the

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foreign investor does not own more than 10% of the class of stock at any time during the taxable year within which the distribution is received. In that case, the foreign investor is not required to file a U.S. federal income tax return by reason of receiving such a distribution. Such a distribution is treated as an ordinary dividend that is subject to withholding and taxation as described above and is not treated as a capital gain. Also, the branch profits tax does not apply to such a distribution.

Gain recognized upon the sale of our stock by a non-U.S. stockholder could be treated as effectively connected income under FIRPTA if we are considered to be a United States Real Property Holding Corporation, or USRPHC. In general, a corporation is considered to be a USRPHC if more than 50% of its business assets at any time during a prescribed testing period (which is typically five years) consist of U.S. real property interests. Interests solely as a creditor, including most mortgage loans and MBS, are not considered to be U.S. real property interests. Although we hold certain U.S. real property interests, we do not believe that we are or have been a USRPHC, in which case FIRPTA would not apply to gain recognized upon a sale of our stock.

Even if we become a USRPHC in the future, gains recognized by a non-U.S. stockholder upon a sale of our stock generally will not be taxed under FIRPTA if we are a domestically-controlled REIT, which is a REIT in which at all times during a specified testing period less than 50% in value of the stock was held directly or indirectly by non-U.S. stockholders. Because our stock is publicly traded, we cannot assure our investors that we are or will remain a domestically-controlled REIT. Even if we are not a domestically-controlled REIT, however, a non-U.S. stockholder that owns, actually or constructively, 10% or less of our stock throughout a specified testing period will not recognize taxable gain on the sale of our stock under FIRPTA if the shares are traded on an established securities market.

If gain from the sale of the stock were subject to taxation under FIRPTA, the non-U.S. stockholder would be subject to the same treatment as U.S. stockholders with respect to that gain, subject to applicable alternative minimum tax and a special alternative minimum tax in the case of nonresident alien individuals. The 30% branch profits tax to which non-U.S. corporations are subject would not apply to such gain. In addition, the purchaser of the stock could be required to withhold 15% of the purchase price and remit such amount to the IRS.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, or the PATH Act, creates new exemptions from FIRPTA for foreign pension funds that meet certain requirements and for “qualified shareholders.” Qualified shareholders are certain foreign entities that are publicly traded “qualified collective investment vehicles” which are subject to exchange of information provisions pursuant to a tax treaty between the United States and their home country, maintain records identifying large shareholders and meet certain other requirements. To the extent that a non-U.S. stockholder is subject to either of these exemptions, FIRPTA will not apply either to gain recognized by the non-U.S. stockholder upon a sale of our stock or to capital gain dividend that is attributable to a sale by us of a U.S. real property interest.

Gain upon the sale of our stock by a non-U.S. stockholder that is not subject to FIRPTA will be taxable to a non-U.S. stockholder if:

·

the non-U.S. stockholder’s investment in the stock is effectively connected with a trade or business in the U.S., in which case the non-U.S. stockholder will be subject to the same treatment as U.S. stockholders with respect to that gain; or

·

the non-U.S. stockholder is a nonresident alien individual who was present in the U.S. for 183 days or more during the taxable year and other conditions are met, in which case the nonresident alien individual will be subject to a 30% tax on the individual’s capital gains.

Information Reporting and Backup Withholding

If the proceeds of a disposition of our stock are paid by or through a U.S. office of a broker-dealer, the payment is generally subject to information reporting and to backup withholding (currently at a rate of 28%) unless the disposing non-U.S. stockholder certifies as to his name, address and non-U.S. status or otherwise establishes an exemption. Generally, U.S. information reporting and backup withholding will not apply to a payment of disposition proceeds if the payment is made outside the U.S. through a foreign office of a foreign broker-dealer. If the proceeds from a disposition

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of our stock are paid to or through a foreign office of a U.S. broker-dealer or a non-U.S. office of a foreign broker-dealer that is (i) a “controlled foreign corporation” for federal income tax purposes, (ii) a foreign person 50% or more of whose gross income from all sources for a three-year period was effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business, (iii) a foreign partnership with one or more partners who are U.S. persons and who in the aggregate hold more than 50% of the income or capital interest in the partnership, or (iv) a foreign partnership engaged in the conduct of a trade or business in the U.S., then (a) backup withholding will not apply unless the broker-dealer has actual knowledge that the owner is not a foreign stockholder, and (b) information reporting will not apply if the non-U.S. stockholder satisfies certification requirements regarding its status as a foreign stockholder.

Foreign Accounts

Shareholders that acquire our stock through an account maintained at a non-U.S. financial institution should be aware that the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, provides that a 30% withholding tax will be imposed on certain payments made to a foreign entity (such as dividends that we pay and proceeds from the sale of our stock) if such entity fails to satisfy certain new disclosure and reporting rules. FATCA generally requires that (i) in the case of shareholder that is foreign financial institution (defined broadly to include a hedge fund, a private equity fund, a mutual fund, a securitization vehicle or other investment vehicle), the entity identify and provide information with respect to financial accounts with such entity held (directly or indirectly) by U.S. persons and U.S.-owned foreign entities and (ii) in the case of a shareholder that is a non-financial foreign entity, the entity identify and provide information with respect to substantial U.S. owners of such entity.

The IRS has released guidance providing that FATCA withholding with respect to gross proceeds from the disposition of stock will not be imposed on payments made prior to January 1, 2019. The U.S. Treasury has signed certain Intergovernmental Agreements with other countries to implement the exchange of information required under FATCA. Shareholders that invest in the Company through an account maintained at a non-U.S. financial institution are strongly encouraged to consult with their own tax advisors regarding the potential application and impact of FATCA and any Intergovernmental Agreement between the United States and their home jurisdiction in connection with FATCA compliance.

State, Local and Foreign Taxation

We may be required to pay state, local and foreign taxes in various state, local and foreign jurisdictions, including those in which we transact business or make investments, and our stockholders may be required to pay state, local and foreign taxes in various state, local and foreign jurisdictions, including those in which they reside. Our state, local and foreign tax treatment may not conform to the federal income tax consequences summarized above. In addition, a stockholder’s state, local and foreign tax treatment may not conform to the federal income tax consequences summarized above. Consequently, prospective investors should consult their tax advisors regarding the effect of state, local and foreign tax laws on an investment in our stock.

Possible Legislative or Other Actions Affecting Tax Considerations

Prospective investors and stockholders should recognize that the present U.S. federal income tax treatment of an investment in our stock may be modified by legislative, judicial or administrative action at any time and that any such action may affect investments and commitments previously made. The rules dealing with U.S. federal income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department, resulting in revisions of regulations and revised interpretations of established concepts as well as statutory changes. Revisions in U.S. federal tax laws and interpretations thereof could adversely affect the tax consequences of an investment in our stock.

The recently enacted PATH Act contains changes to certain aspects of the U.S. federal income tax rules applicable to REITs. The Act modifies various rules that apply to a REIT’s ownership of and business relationship with its taxable REIT subsidiaries and reduces (beginning in 2018) the value of a REIT’s assets that may be in TRSs from 25% to 20%. The PATH Act makes permanent the reduction of the period (from ten years to five years) during which a REIT is subject to corporate-level tax on the recognition of built-in gains in assets of an acquired corporation.

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The PATH Act also makes multiple changes related to FIRPTA, expands prohibited transaction safe harbors and qualifying hedges, and repeals for publicly offered REITs the rules that previously could apply to limit the deductibility of certain distributions if they were considered to be preferential dividends. Lastly, the PATH Act adjusts the way a REIT calculates earnings and profits in certain circumstances to avoid double taxation at the shareholder level, and expands the types of assets and income treated as qualifying for purposes of the REIT requirements. Investors are urged to consult their tax advisors with respect to these changes and the potential impact on an investment in our stock.

Item 1A.     RISK FACTORS

Our business routinely encounters and attempts to address risks, some of which will cause our future results to differ, sometimes materially, from those originally anticipated. Below, we have described our present view of the most significant risks facing the Company. The risk factors set forth below are not the only risks that we may face or that could adversely affect us. If any of the circumstances described in the risk factors discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K actually occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. If this were to occur, the trading price of our securities could decline significantly and stockholders may lose all or part of their investment.

The following discussion of risk factors contains “forward-looking statements,” which may be important to understanding any statement in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K or in our other filings and public disclosures. In particular, the following information should be read in conjunction with Item 7 – Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and Item 8 – Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.

Risks Related to Our Business

Adverse developments in the residential mortgage market, the real estate market, and the broader financial and capital markets, as well as in the U.S. economy and the broader global economy, may adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

Our results of operations are materially affected by conditions in the markets for mortgages and mortgage-related assets, including MBS, as well as the broader financial markets and the economy generally. Significant adverse changes in financial market conditions leading to the forced sale of large quantities of mortgage-related and other financial assets would result in significant volatility in the market for mortgages and mortgage-related assets and potentially significant losses for us and certain other market participants. In addition, concerns over actual or anticipated low economic growth rates, higher levels of unemployment, or uncertainty regarding future U.S. monetary policy (particularly in light of the new presidential administration and related uncertainties) may contribute to increased interest rate volatility. In response to difficult economic conditions, there has been an increased focus by U.S. regulators, international regulators, and banking groups (such as from the Dodd-Frank legislation and Basel III accord) on increasing capital requirements for financial institutions and on greater restrictions on lending. This may have an adverse impact on the supply or value of MBS and could also make it more difficult for us as well as others in the marketplace to obtain financing on favorable terms or at all.

Congress and President Trump’s administration may make substantial changes to fiscal, tax, and other federal policies that may adversely affect our business.

Changes by the U.S. government on U.S. fiscal and tax policies, trade, healthcare, immigration, foreign policies, and governmental regulations may impact the residential mortgage and real estate markets, the U.S. economy, and the broader global economy. Although we cannot predict the impact, if any, of any changes in federal policies may have on our business, they could adversely affect our business. Until we know what policy changes are made and how these changes impact our business and the business of others that compete in our markets, over the long-term, we cannot predict whether we will benefit from such changes or be negatively affected by them.

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Failure to procure funding on favorable terms, or at all, would adversely affect our results and may, in turn, negatively affect the market price of shares of our common stock, Series A Preferred Stock, Series B Preferred Stock or Series C Preferred Stock.

Adverse developments in the mortgage market could cause one or more of our lenders to be unwilling or unable to provide us with financing. This could potentially increase our financing costs and reduce liquidity. Furthermore, if many of our lenders are unwilling or unable to provide us with additional financing, we could be forced to sell our assets at an inopportune time when prices are depressed. If one or more major market participants fail, it could negatively impact the marketability of all fixed income securities, including MBS, and this could negatively impact the value of the securities in our portfolio, thus reducing our net book value.

If we are unable to negotiate favorable terms and conditions on future borrowing arrangements with one or more of our lenders, our financial condition and earnings could be negatively impacted.

The terms and conditions of each borrowing arrangement with our lenders are negotiated on a transaction-by-transaction basis. Our access to financing depends upon many factors over which we have little or no control including, but not limited to: general market conditions; each lender’s view of the quality and value of our assets and our liquidity; regulatory requirements; our current and future earnings potential; and the market price of our stock. Key terms and conditions of each transaction include interest rates, maturity dates, asset pricing procedures and margin requirements. We cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to negotiate favorable terms and conditions on our future borrowing arrangements.

Also, during periods of market illiquidity or due to perceived credit quality deterioration of the collateral pledged, a lender may require that less favorable asset pricing procedures be employed or the margin requirements be increased. Possible market developments, including a sharp rise in interest rates, a change in prepayment rates, or increasing market concern about the value or liquidity of MBS, may reduce the market value of our portfolio, which may cause our lenders to require additional collateral. Under these conditions, we may determine it is prudent to sell assets to improve our ability to pledge sufficient collateral to support our remaining borrowings. Such sales may be at disadvantageous times, which may harm our operating results and net profitability.

Adverse developments in the residential mortgage market may adversely affect the value of the MBS in which we invest.

During the past several years, the residential mortgage market in the U.S. has experienced a variety of difficulties and changing economic conditions including defaults, credit losses and liquidity concerns. News of actual and potential security liquidations has increased the volatility of many financial assets including MBS. Further increased volatility and deterioration in the broader residential mortgage and MBS markets may adversely affect the performance and market value of the MBS in which we invest.

Our investments serve as collateral for our financings. Any decline in their value, or perceived market uncertainty about their value, would likely make it difficult for us to obtain financing on favorable terms or at all, or maintain our compliance with terms of any financing arrangements already in place. If market conditions result in a decline in the value of our MBS, our financial position and results of operations could be adversely affected.

New laws may be passed affecting the relationship between Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, on the one hand, and the federal government, on the other, which could adversely affect the price of Agency MBS.

The interest and principal payments we expect to receive on the Agency MBS in which we invest will be guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Principal and interest on securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not guaranteed by the U.S. government. All the Agency MBS in which we invest depend on a steady stream of payments on the mortgages underlying the securities.

Since September 2008, there have been increased market concerns about Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s ability to withstand future credit losses associated with securities held in their investment portfolios, and on which they provide

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guarantees, without the direct support of the federal government. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed into the conservatorship of the FHFA, their federal regulator, pursuant to its powers under The Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008, a part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

In addition to the FHFA becoming the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has taken various actions intended to provide Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with additional liquidity and ensure their financial stability. The U.S. Treasury can hold its portfolio of Agency MBS to maturity and, based on mortgage market conditions, may make adjustments to the portfolio. This flexibility may adversely affect the pricing and availability for our target investments. It is also possible that if and when the U.S. Treasury commits to purchase Agency MBS in the future, it could create additional demand that would increase the pricing of Agency MBS that we seek to acquire.

Shortly after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed in federal conservatorship, the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury suggested that the guarantee payment structure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be re-examined. The future roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be significantly reduced and the nature of their guarantees could be eliminated or considerably limited relative to historical measurements. The U.S. Treasury could also stop providing credit support to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the future. Any changes to the nature of the guarantees provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could redefine what constitutes an Agency MBS and could have broad adverse market implications. In addition, if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac was eliminated, or their structures were to change radically, we would not be able to acquire Agency MBS from these companies, which would eliminate a major component of our business model.

Our income could be negatively affected in a number of ways depending on the manner in which related events unfold. For example, the current credit support provided by the U.S. Treasury to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and any additional credit support it may provide in the future, could have the effect of lowering the interest rate we expect to receive from Agency MBS that we seek to acquire, thereby tightening the spread between the interest we earn on our portfolio of targeted assets and our cost of financing that portfolio. A reduction in the supply of Agency MBS could also negatively affect the pricing of Agency MBS we seek to acquire by reducing the spread between the interest we earn on our portfolio of targeted assets and our cost of financing that portfolio.

Any law affecting these government-sponsored enterprises may create market uncertainty and have the effect of reducing the actual or perceived credit quality of securities issued or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. As a result, such laws could increase the risk of loss on investments in Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac Agency MBS. It also is possible that such laws could adversely impact the market for such securities and spreads at which they trade. All of the foregoing could materially adversely affect our business, operations and financial condition.

Separate legislation has been introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress, which would, among other things, wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and we could be materially adversely affected if these proposed laws were enacted.

Payments on the Agency MBS in which we invest are guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since 2008, these agencies have been under the conservatorship of the U.S. government. Over the past several years, separate legislation has been introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress to wind-down both of these agencies. None of these bills have garnered enough support for a vote. It is currently unknown if, and when, any of these bills would become law and, if they did, what impact that would have on housing finance in general and what the impact would be on the existing securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the impact on the pricing, supply, liquidity and value of the MBS in which we invest.

Certain actions taken, or that may be taken in the future, by the U.S. government regarding monetary policy could negatively affect the availability of financing, the quantity and quality of available products, or cause changes in interest rates and the yield curve, any and each of which could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

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At its January 2018 meeting, the Fed Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve, or the FOMC, left the Fed Funds rate unchanged from its target range of 1.25% to 1.50%. They indicated that a gradual tightening of monetary policy would be coming sometime in 2018, as they still expected to see inflation hit the 2% target. We cannot predict whether or when such other actions may occur or what impact, if any, such actions could have on our business, results of operations and financial condition. These actions could negatively affect the availability of financing and the quantity and quality of available products and/or cause changes in interest rates and the yield curve, any and each of which could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition, as well as those of the entire mortgage sector in general.

A failure by the U.S. government to meet the conditions of the Budget Control Act of 2011, or to reduce its budget deficit, or a further downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt and government-sponsored agency debt, could have a material adverse impact on our borrowings and the valuations of our securities and may have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

There continues to be concerns over the ability of the U.S. government to reduce its budget deficit and resolve its debt crisis. The U.S. sovereign debt and government-sponsored agency debt credit ratings continue to be monitored to account for the risk that U.S. lawmakers fail to meet the conditions of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and/or reduce its overall debt. Such failures could have a material adverse effect both on the U.S. economy and on the global economy. In particular, this could cause disruption in the capital markets and impact the stability of future U.S. treasury auctions and the trading market for U.S. government securities, resulting in increased interest rates and impaired access to credit. These factors could negatively impact our borrowing costs, our liquidity and the valuation of the securities we currently own in our portfolio, which could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and our results of operations.

The failure or delay by the U.S. government to resolve future debt ceiling or government funding crises could materially adversely affect our stock price, our business, results of operations and financial condition.

During the past several years, Congress passed several interim measures to provide temporary funding to the U.S. government and temporarily increase the debt ceiling. On February 9, 2018, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law a bill that would keep the U.S. government funded through March 23, 2018, includes approximately $400 billion in spending over the next two years, and also suspends the debt limit by one year. A failure by the U.S. government to reach agreement on future budgets and debt ceilings, reduce its budget deficit or a future downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt and government-sponsored agencies debt could have a material adverse effect on the U.S. economy and the global economy. These events could have a material adverse effect on our borrowing costs, the availability of financing and the liquidity and valuation of securities in general and of the securities in our portfolio.

Mortgage loan modification programs and future legislative action may adversely affect the value of, and the returns on, the MBS and other mortgage assets in which we invest.

The U.S. government, through the Federal Housing Authority and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, has implemented programs designed to provide homeowners with assistance in avoiding residential mortgage loan foreclosures. The programs may involve, among other things, the modification of mortgage loans to reduce the principal amount of the loans or the rate of interest payable on the loans, or extending the payment terms of the loans. In addition, members of the U.S. Congress have indicated support for additional legislative relief for homeowners. These loan modification programs, as well as future legislative or regulatory actions that result in the modification of outstanding mortgage loans, may adversely affect the value of, and the returns on, the MBS in which we invest.

We are subject to the risk that domestic and international crises, despite efforts by global governments to address such crises, may affect interest rates and the availability of financing in general, which could adversely affect our financing and our operating results.

In the years following the financial and credit crisis of 2007-2008, several large European banks experienced financial difficulty and were either rescued by government assistance or by other large European banks. Several European governments have coordinated plans to attempt to shore up their financial sectors through loans, credit

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guarantees, capital infusions, promises of continued liquidity funding and interest rate cuts. Additionally, other governments of the world’s largest economic countries also implemented interest rate cuts. There is no assurance that these and other plans and programs will be successful in addressing global credit crises or in preventing other banks from failing. If unsuccessful, this could adversely affect our financing and operations as well as those of the entire mortgage sector in general.

As the European credit crisis continues, there is a continuing risk to the financial condition and stability of major European banks. Many of the European banks have U.S. banking subsidiaries, which have provided financing to us, particularly repurchase agreement financing for the acquisition of various investments, including MBS investments. If the European credit crisis continues to impact major European banks, there is the possibility that it will also impact the operations of their U.S. banking subsidiaries. This could adversely affect our financing and operations as well as those of the entire mortgage sector in general.

Our leveraging strategy increases the risks of our operations.

During the past several years, we have generally borrowed on Agency MBS in a range of five to nine times the amount of our equity, although there may be times when our borrowings are above or below this range. Our leverage on Non-Agency MBS is currently approximately two times on a debt-to-allocated equity basis. We incur this leverage by borrowing against a substantial portion of the market value of our mortgage-related assets. Use of leverage can enhance our investment returns (and at times when we reduce our leverage, our profitability may be reduced as a result). Leverage, however, also increases risks. In the following ways, the use of leverage increases our risk of loss and may reduce our net income by increasing the risks associated with other risk factors including a decline in the market value of our MBS or a default of a mortgage-related asset:

·

The use of leverage increases our risk of loss resulting from various factors including rising interest rates, increased interest rate volatility, downturns in the economy and reductions in the availability of financing or deterioration in the conditions of any of our mortgage-related assets.

·

Substantially all of our borrowings are secured by our MBS, generally under repurchase agreements. A decline in the market value of the MBS used to secure these debt obligations could limit our ability to borrow or result in lenders requiring us to pledge additional collateral to secure our borrowings. In that situation, we could be required to sell MBS under adverse market conditions in order to obtain the additional collateral required by the lender. If these sales are made at prices lower than the carrying value of the MBS, we would experience losses.

·

A default of a mortgage-related asset that constitutes collateral for a repurchase agreement could also result in an involuntary liquidation of the mortgage-related asset. This would result in a loss to us of the difference between the value of the mortgage-related asset upon liquidation and the amount borrowed against the mortgage-related asset.

·

To the extent we are compelled to liquidate qualified REIT assets to repay debts, our compliance with the REIT rules regarding our assets and our sources of income could be affected, which could jeopardize our status as a REIT. Losing our REIT status would cause us to lose tax advantages applicable to REITs and may decrease our overall profitability and distributions to our stockholders.

We may incur increased borrowing costs related to repurchase agreements and that would adversely affect our profitability.

Substantially all of our borrowings are collateralized borrowings in the form of repurchase agreements. If the interest rates on these agreements increase, that would harm our profitability.

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Our borrowing costs under repurchase agreements generally correspond to short-term interest rates such as LIBOR or a short-term Treasury index, plus or minus a margin. The margins on these borrowings over or under short-term interest rates may vary depending upon:

·

the movement of interest rates;

·

the availability of financing in the market; and

·

the value and liquidity of our mortgage-related assets.

An increase in interest rates may harm our book value, which could adversely affect the cash available for distribution to you and could cause the price of our securities to decline.

Increases in interest rates may harm the market value of our mortgage-related assets. Our hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage-related assets (during the fixed-rate component of the mortgages underlying such assets) and our fixed-rate securities are generally more harmed by these increases. In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles utilized in the United States of America, or GAAP, we reduce our book value by the amount of any decrease in the market value of our mortgage-related assets. Losses on securities classified as available-for-sale, which are determined by management to be other-than-temporary in nature, are reclassified from “accumulated other comprehensive income,” or AOCI, to current operations.

An increase in interest rates may cause a decrease in the volume of newly issued, or investor demand for, MBS and other mortgage-related assets, which could adversely affect our ability to acquire MBS and other mortgage-related assets that satisfy our investment objectives and to generate income and pay dividends.

Rising interest rates generally reduce the demand for consumer credit, including mortgage loans, due to the higher cost of borrowing. A reduction in the volume of mortgage loans originated may affect the volume of MBS and other mortgage-related assets available to us, which could affect our ability to acquire MBS and other mortgage-related assets that satisfy our investment objectives. Rising interest rates may also cause MBS and other mortgage-related assets that were issued prior to an interest rate increase to provide yields that exceed prevailing market interest rates. If rising interest rates cause us to be unable to acquire a sufficient volume of MBS or mortgage-related assets with a yield that exceeds the borrowing cost we will incur to purchase MBS or mortgage-related assets, our ability to satisfy our investment objectives and to generate income and pay dividends in the amount expected, or at all, may be materially and adversely affected.

A change in the LIBOR setting process could affect the interest rates that borrowing agreement counterparties charge on borrowings in general. Any such change could affect our borrowing agreements and could have an adverse impact on our net interest income.

Over the past several years, U.S. and British banking authorities assessed fines on several major financial institutions for LIBOR manipulation. LIBOR is an unregulated rate based on estimates that lenders submitted to the British Bankers’ Association, a trade group that compiled the information and published daily the LIBOR rate. On February 1, 2014, the administration of LIBOR was transferred from the British Bankers’ Association to the Intercontinental Exchange Benchmark Administration, or the IBA, following authorization by the Financial Conduct Authority (the United Kingdom regulators). In July 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority announced that by the end of 2021, LIBOR would be replaced with a more reliable alternative. At this time, we do not know what changes will be made by the Financial Conduct Authority. The calculation of LIBOR under the IBA is the average of the interest rates that some of the world’s leading banks charge each other for short-term loans. It is unclear at this time how the change to another alternative to LIBOR will affect the interest rates that repurchase agreement counterparties and lenders charge on borrowings in general and how they could specifically affect our borrowing agreements.

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A flat or inverted yield curve may negatively affect our operations, book value and profitability due to its potential impact on investment yields and the supply of adjustable-rate mortgage products.

A flat yield curve occurs when there is little difference between short-term and long-term interest rates. An inverted yield curve occurs when short-term interest rates are higher than long-term interest rates. A flat or inverted yield curve may be an adverse environment for ARM product volume, as there may be little incentive for borrowers to choose an ARM product over a longer-term fixed-rate loan. If the supply of ARM product decreases, yields may decline due to market forces.

Our borrowing costs under repurchase agreements generally correspond to short-term interest rates such as LIBOR. A flat or inverted yield curve will likely result in lower profits.

Additionally, a flat or inverted yield curve may negatively impact the pricing of our securities. According to GAAP, if the values of our securities decrease, we reduce our book value by the amount of any decrease in the market value of our mortgage-related assets.

We depend on short-term borrowings to purchase mortgage-related assets and reach our desired amount of leverage. If we fail to obtain or renew sufficient funding on favorable terms, we will be limited in our ability to acquire mortgage-related assets and our earnings and profitability would decline.

We depend on short-term borrowings to fund acquisitions of mortgage-related assets and reach our desired amount of leverage. Accordingly, our ability to achieve our investment and leverage objectives depends on our ability to borrow money in sufficient amounts and on favorable terms. In addition, we must be able to renew or replace our maturing short-term borrowings on a continuous basis. Moreover, we depend on a limited number of lenders to provide the primary credit facilities for our purchases of mortgage-related assets.

If we cannot renew or replace maturing borrowings, we may have to sell our mortgage-related assets under adverse market conditions and may incur permanent capital losses as a result. Any number of these factors in combination may cause difficulties for us, including a possible liquidation of a major portion of our portfolio at disadvantageous prices with consequent losses, which may render us insolvent.

Any borrowing arrangements that we use to finance our assets may require us to provide additional collateral or pay down debt, and if these requirements are not met, our financial condition and prospects could deteriorate rapidly.

Our repurchase agreements and other borrowing agreements involve the risk that the market value of the securities pledged or sold by us to the borrowing agreement counterparty may decline in value, in which case the counterparty may require us to provide additional collateral or to repay all or a portion of the funds advanced. We may not have additional collateral or the funds available to repay our debt at that time, which would likely result in defaults unless we are able to raise the funds from alternative sources, which we may not be able to achieve on favorable terms or at all. Posting additional collateral would reduce our liquidity and limit our ability to leverage our assets. If we cannot meet these requirements, the counterparty could accelerate our indebtedness, increase the interest rate on advanced funds and terminate our ability to borrow funds from them, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and ability to implement our investment strategy. In addition, in the event that the counterparty files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, our securities may become subject to bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings, thus depriving us of the benefit of these assets. In the event that we are unable to meet these collateral obligations, our financial condition and prospects could deteriorate rapidly.

Our use of repurchase agreements to borrow funds may give our lenders greater rights in the event that either we or a lender files for bankruptcy.

Our borrowings under repurchase agreements may qualify for special treatment under the bankruptcy code, giving our lenders the ability to avoid the automatic stay provisions of the bankruptcy code and to take possession of and liquidate our collateral under the repurchase agreements without delay in the event that we file for bankruptcy. Furthermore, the special treatment of repurchase agreements under the bankruptcy code may make it difficult for us to

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recover our pledged assets in the event that a lender files for bankruptcy. Thus, the use of repurchase agreements exposes our pledged assets to risk in the event of a bankruptcy filing by either a lender or us.

Because assets we acquire may experience periods of illiquidity, we may lose profits or be prevented from earning gains if we cannot sell mortgage-related assets at an opportune time.

We bear the risk of being unable to dispose of our mortgage-related assets at advantageous times or in a timely manner because mortgage-related assets generally experience periods of illiquidity. The lack of liquidity may result from the absence of a willing buyer or an established market for these assets, as well as legal or contractual restrictions on resale. As a result, the illiquidity of mortgage-related assets may cause us to lose profits and lose the ability to earn gains.

A decrease or lack of liquidity in our investments may adversely affect our business, including our ability to value and sell our assets.

We invest in certain MBS or other investment securities that are not publicly traded in liquid markets. Moreover, turbulent market conditions could significantly and negatively impact the liquidity of our assets. In some cases, it may be difficult to obtain third-party pricing on certain of our investment securities. Illiquid investments typically experience greater price volatility, as a ready market does not exist, and can be more difficult to value. In addition, third-party pricing for illiquid investments may be more subjective than for more liquid investments. The illiquidity of certain investment securities may make it difficult for us to sell such investments if the need or desire arises. In addition, if we are required to liquidate all or a portion of our portfolio quickly, we may realize significantly less than the value at which we have previously recorded certain of our investment securities. As a result, our ability to vary our portfolio in response to changes in economic and other conditions may be relatively limited, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We may not have the benefit of repurchase rights or indemnification upon the breach of broad representations and warranties for all of the assets we acquire, which could increase the risk that we suffer losses on such assets.

We may acquire assets from counterparties that are not able or willing to provide broad representations and warranties on such assets. Even if such counterparties provide representations and warranties on the assets, they may not be contractually required to repurchase the assets or indemnify us if there are defaults with respect to the representations and warranties on the assets. To the extent that our counterparties are not contractually obligated to repurchase the assets or are unable to fulfill their indemnification obligations, we will bear the same risks with respect to such assets as if such representations and warranties were not made. If we do not have the benefit of repurchase rights or indemnification upon the breach of broad representations and warranties on our assets, we may lose money on our investments in such assets that we otherwise would not lose had such repurchase rights or indemnification been available.

Our hedging strategies may not be successful in mitigating our risks associated with interest rates.

We engage in hedging activity from time to time. As such, we use various derivative financial instruments to provide a level of protection against interest rate risks, but no hedging strategy can protect us completely. When interest rates change, we expect to record a gain or loss on derivatives, which would be offset by an inverse change in the value of loans. Additionally, from time to time, we may enter into hedging transactions in connection with our holdings of MBS and government securities with respect to one or more of our assets or liabilities. Our hedging activities may include entering into interest rate swaps, caps and floors, options to purchase these items and futures and forward contracts. Our actual hedging decisions will be determined in light of the facts and circumstances existing at the time and may differ from our currently anticipated hedging strategy. We cannot assure you that our use of derivatives will offset the risks related to changes in interest rates. It is likely that there will be periods in the future during which we will incur losses after accounting for our derivative financial instruments. The derivative financial instruments we select may not have the effect of reducing our interest rate risk. In addition, the nature and timing of hedging transactions may influence the effectiveness of these strategies. Poorly designed strategies or improperly executed transactions could actually increase our risk and losses. In addition, hedging strategies involve transaction and other costs. We cannot assure you

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that our hedging strategy and the derivatives that we use will adequately offset the risk of interest rate volatility or that our hedging transactions will not result in losses.

The characteristics of hedging instruments present various concerns, including illiquidity, enforceability, and counterparty risks, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

From time to time, we enter into interest rate swap agreements to hedge risks associated with movements in interest rates. Entities entering into interest rate swap agreements are exposed to credit losses in the event of non-performance by counterparties to these transactions. Effective October 12, 2012, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, or the CFTC, issued new rules regarding interest rate swaps under the authority granted to it pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or the Dodd-Frank Act. Although these rules do not directly affect the negotiations and terms of individual swap transactions between counterparties, they do require that after September 9, 2013, the clearing of all swap transactions occur through registered derivatives clearing organizations, or swap execution facilities, through standardized documents under which each swap counterparty transfers its position to another entity whereby the centralized clearinghouse effectively becomes the counterparty to each side of the swap. It is the intent of the Dodd-Frank Act that the clearing of interest rate swaps in this manner is designed to avoid concentration of swap risk in any single entity by spreading and centralizing the risk in the clearinghouse and its members. In addition to greater initial and periodic margin (collateral) requirements and additional transaction fees both by the swap execution facility and the clearinghouse, the swap transactions are now subjected to greater regulation by both the CFTC and the SEC. These additional fees, costs, margin requirements, documentation, and regulation could adversely affect our business and results of operations. Additionally, for all interest rate swaps that we entered into prior to September 9, 2013, we are not required to clear them through the central clearinghouse and these interest rate swaps are still subject to the risks of nonperformance by any of the individual counterparties with whom we entered into these transactions. If the swap counterparty cannot perform under the terms of an interest rate swap, we would not receive payments due under that agreement, we may lose any unrealized gain associated with the interest rate swap, and the hedged liability would cease to be hedged by the interest rate swap. We may also be at risk for any collateral we have pledged to secure our obligation under the interest rate swap if the counterparty becomes insolvent or files for bankruptcy. Default by a party with whom we enter into a hedging transaction may result in a loss and force us to cover our commitments, if any, at the then-current market price. Although generally we will seek to reserve the right to terminate our hedging positions, it may not always be possible to dispose of or close out a hedging position without the consent of the hedging counterparty and we may not be able to enter into an offsetting contract in order to cover our risk. There may not always be a liquid secondary market that will exist for hedging instruments purchased or sold and we may be required to maintain a position until exercise or expiration, which could result in losses.

Competition may prevent us from acquiring mortgage-related assets at favorable yields, and that would negatively impact our profitability.

Our net income largely depends on our ability to acquire mortgage-related assets at favorable spreads over our borrowing costs. In acquiring mortgage-related assets, we compete with other REITs, investment banking firms, savings and loan associations, banks, insurance companies, mutual funds, other lenders and other entities that purchase mortgage-related assets, many of which have greater financial resources than us, and many of which are not subject to the operating constraints associated with REIT tax compliance or maintenance of an exemption from the Investment Company Act. As a result, we may not in the future be able to acquire sufficient mortgage-related assets at favorable spreads over our borrowing costs. If that occurs, our profitability will be harmed.

Interest rate mismatches between our adjustable-rate MBS and our borrowings used to fund our purchases of these assets may reduce our income during periods of changing interest rates.

We fund most of our acquisitions of adjustable-rate MBS (including hybrid adjustable-rate MBS) with borrowings that have interest rates based on indices and repricing terms similar to, but of shorter maturities than, the interest rate indices and repricing terms of our MBS. Accordingly, if short-term interest rates increase, this may harm our profitability.

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A significant portion of the Agency MBS that we acquire are adjustable-rate securities. This means that their interest rates may vary over time based upon changes in a short-term interest rate index. Therefore, in most cases, the interest rate indices and repricing terms of the MBS that we acquire and their funding sources will not be identical, thereby creating an interest rate mismatch between our assets and liabilities. While the historical spread between relevant short-term interest rate indices has been relatively stable, there have been periods when the spread between these indices was volatile. During periods of changing interest rates, these mismatches could reduce our net income, dividend yield and the market price of our stock.

The interest rates on our borrowings generally adjust more frequently than the interest rates on our adjustable-rate MBS. For example, at December 31, 2017, our Agency MBS had a weighted average term to next rate adjustment of approximately 27 months, while our borrowings had a weighted average term to next rate adjustment of 31 days. After adjusting for interest rate swap transactions, the weighted average term to next rate adjustment was 674 days. Accordingly, in a period of rising interest rates, we could experience a decrease in net income or a net loss because the interest rates on our borrowings adjust faster than the interest rates on our adjustable-rate MBS.

Increased levels of prepayments from Agency MBS may decrease our net interest income.

Pools of mortgage loans underlie the MBS that we acquire. We generally receive payments from principal payments that are made on these underlying mortgage loans. When borrowers prepay their mortgage loans faster than expected, this results in prepayments that are faster than expected on the MBS. Faster than expected prepayments could harm our profitability as follows:

·

We primarily purchase Agency MBS that have a higher interest rate than the market interest rate at the time. In exchange for this higher interest rate, we pay a premium over the par value to acquire the security. In accordance with accounting rules, we amortize this premium over the term of the mortgage-backed security. If the mortgage-backed security is prepaid in whole or in part prior to its maturity date, however, we expense the premium that was prepaid at the time of the prepayment. At December 31, 2017, substantially all of our Agency MBS had been acquired at a premium.

·

We anticipate that a substantial portion of our adjustable-rate Agency MBS may bear interest rates that are lower than their fully indexed rates, which are equivalent to the applicable index rate plus a margin. If an adjustable-rate mortgage-backed security is prepaid prior to or soon after the time of adjustment to a fully indexed rate, we will have held that mortgage-backed security while it was less profitable and lost the opportunity to receive interest at the fully indexed rate over the remainder of its expected life.

·

If we are unable to acquire new Agency MBS similar to the prepaid MBS, our financial condition, results of operation and cash flow would suffer.

Prepayment rates generally increase when interest rates fall and decrease when interest rates rise, but changes in prepayment rates are difficult to predict. Prepayment rates also may be affected by conditions in the housing and financial markets, general economic conditions, actions by the federal government and the relative interest rates on fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage loans.

While we seek to minimize prepayment risk to the extent practical, in selecting investments, we must balance prepayment risk against other risks and the potential returns of each investment. No strategy can completely insulate us from prepayment risk.

The timing and amount of prepayments could adversely affect our liquidity and our profitability.

Prepayments may be difficult to predict and can vary significantly over time. As a holder of MBS, on a monthly basis, we receive a payment equal to a portion of our investment principal as the underlying mortgages are prepaid. With respect to our Agency MBS, we typically receive notice of monthly principal prepayments on the fifth business day of each month (more commonly referred to as “factor day”) and receive the related scheduled payment on a specified later date, which for (a) Agency MBS guaranteed by Fannie Mae is the 25th day of that month (or the next business day

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thereafter); and (b) Agency MBS guaranteed by Freddie Mac is the 15th day of the following month (or the next business day thereafter). This delay between factor day and receipt of payment creates a short-term receivable for us in the amount of any such principal prepayments. In general, on the date each month that the principal prepayments are announced (factor day), the value of our MBS pledged as collateral is reduced by the amount of the prepaid principal and, as a result, our repurchase agreement counterparties will typically initiate a margin call requiring the pledge of additional collateral or cash, in an amount equal to such prepaid principal, in order to re-establish the required ratio of borrowing to collateral value under such repurchase agreements. As the posting of such additional collateral or payment of cash to our counterparties is on or about factor day and is prior to the receipt of the payment to us by the agencies, this would reduce and, depending on the magnitude of such principal prepayments, could be material to, our liquidity. As a result, in order to meet such margin calls, we could be forced to sell assets or take other actions in order to maintain liquidity. If we were required to sell Agency MBS under adverse market conditions, we may receive sale prices lower than we might have received if we sold those securities under normal market conditions and, if these prices were lower than the amortized cost of the Agency MBS, we would incur losses. An increase in prepayment rates could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may experience reduced net interest income from holding fixed-rate investments during periods of rising interest rates.

We generally fund our acquisition of fixed-rate MBS with short-term borrowings. During periods of rising interest rates, our costs associated with borrowings used to fund acquisition of fixed-rate assets are subject to increases while the income we earn from these assets remains substantially fixed. This reduces or could eliminate the net interest spread between the fixed-rate MBS that we purchase and our borrowings used to purchase them, which could lower our net interest income or cause us to suffer a loss. At December 31, 2017, 25% of our MBS were 15‑year fixed-rate Agency MBS, 18% of our MBS were 20-year and 30-year fixed-rate Agency MBS, and approximately 14% of our MBS were fixed-rate Non-Agency MBS.

Interest rate caps on our adjustable-rate MBS may reduce our income or cause us to suffer a loss during periods of rising interest rates.

Our adjustable-rate MBS (including hybrid adjustable-rate MBS) are subject to periodic and lifetime interest rate caps. Periodic interest rate caps limit the amount an interest rate can increase during any given period. Lifetime interest rate caps limit the amount an interest rate can increase through maturity of a mortgage-backed security. Our borrowings are not subject to similar restrictions. Accordingly, in a period of rapidly increasing interest rates, the interest rates paid on our borrowings could increase without limitation while interest rate caps would limit the interest rates on our adjustable-rate MBS. This problem is magnified for our adjustable-rate MBS that are not fully indexed. Further, some adjustable-rate MBS may be subject to periodic payment caps that result in a portion of the interest being deferred and added to the principal outstanding. As a result, we could receive less cash income on adjustable-rate MBS than we need to pay interest on our related borrowings. These factors could lower our net interest income or cause us to suffer a loss during periods of rising interest rates. At December 31, 2017, approximately 43% of our MBS were adjustable-rate securities.

A decline in the fair market value of our Non-Agency MBS could result in us recording impairments on these investments, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

A majority of our Non-Agency MBS are accounted for under ASC 310‑30, Loans and Debt Securities Acquired with Credit Deterioration (ASC 310‑30). A debt security accounted for under ASC 310‑30 is initially recorded at its purchase price (fair value). The amount of expected cash flows that exceed the initial investment represents accretable yield, which is recognized as interest income on a level yield basis over the life of the security. The excess of total contractual cash flows over the cash flows expected at its origination is considered to be non-accretable yield. The Company must periodically reassess the expected cash flows of loans accounted for under ASC 310‑30 along with the cash flows received. A significant increase in expected cash flows must be accounted for as an increase in the rate of accretion over the remaining life of the security. Conversely, if expected cash flows decrease, an other-than-temporary impairment must be recognized as a charge to earnings. Adjustments to the fair value of Non-Agency MBS, accounted for as available-for-sale securities, are recorded in AOCI. The determination as to whether impairment and accretable

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yield exists is based on cash flow projections related to the securities. As a result, the timing and amount of impairment and accretable yield constitutes a material estimate that is susceptible to significant change.

Our investments in Non-Agency MBS and residential mortgage loans held-for-investment involve credit risk, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations.

Investments in MBS carry a risk that the borrower on the underlying mortgage may default on their obligations to make full and timely payments of principal and interest. Pursuant to our investment policy, we have the ability to acquire Non-Agency MBS and other investment assets of lower credit quality (less than investment grade). In general, Non-Agency MBS and residential mortgage loans held-for-investment carry greater investment risk than Agency MBS because they are not guaranteed as to principal and/or interest by the U.S. Government, any federal agency or any federally chartered corporation. Unexpectedly high rates of default (i.e., in excess of the default rates forecasted) and/or higher than expected loss severities on the mortgages collateralizing our Non-Agency MBS and residential mortgage loans held-for-investment may adversely affect the values of such assets. Accordingly, Non-Agency MBS and other investment assets of less-than-high credit quality could cause us to incur losses of income from, and/or losses in market value relating to, these assets if there are defaults of principal and/or interest on these assets.

We may have significant credit risk, especially on Non-Agency MBS and residential mortgage loans held-for-investment, in certain geographic areas and may be disproportionately affected by economic or housing downturns, natural disasters, terrorist events, adverse climate changes or other adverse events specific to those markets.

A significant number of the mortgages collateralizing our mortgage assets may be concentrated in certain geographic areas. Any event that adversely affects the economy or real estate market in these areas could have a disproportionately adverse effect on our mortgage assets. In general, any material decline in the economy or significant difficulties in the real estate markets would be likely to cause a decline in the value of residential properties securing the mortgages in the relevant geographic area. This, in turn, would increase the risk of delinquency, default and foreclosure on real estate collateralizing our mortgage assets in this area. This may then materially adversely affect our credit loss experience on our mortgage assets in such area if unexpectedly high rates of default (i.e., in excess of the default rates forecasted) and/or higher than expected loss severities on the mortgages collateralizing such securities were to occur.

The occurrence of a natural disaster (such as an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, wildfires, or a flood), economic or housing downturns, terrorist events, significant adverse climate change, or any other adverse event may cause a sudden decrease in the value of real estate and would likely reduce the value of the properties securing the mortgages collateralizing or mortgage assets. Since certain natural disasters may not typically be covered by the standard hazard insurance policies maintained by borrowers, the borrowers may not be able to repair the properties or may stop paying their mortgages if the property is damaged. This would likely cause defaults and credit loss severities to increase on the pool of mortgages securing our mortgage assets which may materially adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We invest in Non-Agency MBS that are collateralized by loans of lower credit quality, such as Alt-A loans or securitized non-performing loans, which, due to lower underwriting standards, are subject to increased risk of losses.

We invest in Non-Agency MBS backed by collateral pools containing mortgage loans that have been originated using underwriting standards that are less strict than those used in underwriting “prime mortgage loans” (mortgage loans that generally conform to the underwriting standards of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac). These loans may experience delinquency, foreclosure, bankruptcy and loss rates that are higher than “prime mortgage loans,” which could cause the performance of Non-Agency MBS backed by such lower credit quality loans to be adversely affected, which could materially adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition.

We may generate taxable income that differs from our GAAP income on Non-Agency MBS purchased at a discount to par value, which may result in significant timing differences in the recognition of income and losses.

We acquire Non-Agency MBS at prices that reflect significant market discounts on their unpaid principal balances. For financial statement reporting purposes, we would generally establish, on such securities, a portion of the

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discount as a non-accretable discount. This non-accretable discount is generally not accreted into income for financial statement purposes. For tax purposes, however, we would not be permitted to establish a reserve for credit losses prior to their actual occurrence. Such differences between tax accounting and GAAP accounting can lead to significant timing differences in the recognition of income and losses. Taxable income on Non-Agency MBS purchased at a discount to par value may be higher than GAAP income in early periods (before losses are actually incurred) and lower than GAAP income in subsequent periods when the realized credit losses are incurred. As a REIT must distribute at least 90% of its annual taxable income (subject to certain adjustments) to our stockholders, such timing differences could affect the amount of the dividend distribution. However, dividends are declared and paid at the discretion of our Board and depend not only on REIT taxable income but also on our financial results, our overall financial condition, maintenance of our REIT qualification and such other factors as our board may deem relevant from time to time.

Generally, Non-Agency MBS have greater price sensitivity than Agency MBS, which could cause fluctuations in our book value. Such price fluctuations could cause repurchase agreement lenders to require greater amounts of collateral and higher margin requirements, which could affect our results of operations and could cause us to sell our Non-Agency MBS at potentially distressed prices in periods of significant price fluctuation. It could also cause repurchase agreement lenders to withdraw their financing from such investments.

Non-Agency MBS historically have been more price sensitive than Agency MBS which may limit the number of lenders willing to provide repurchase agreement financing for these securities. In periods of price volatility, we may be subject to higher margin requirements or may be required to pledge additional collateral which could affect our results of operations. Also, during periods of significant price fluctuation, lenders may cut back the amounts they are willing to finance on such investments or withdraw from lending on such securities. If we could not find replacement financing, this could cause us to sell our Non-Agency MBS at potentially distressed prices, which would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We acquire MBS and loans that are subject to defaults, foreclosure timeline extensions, fraud, residential price depreciation, and unfavorable modifications of principal amounts, interest rates and amortization of principal, which could result in losses to us.

Mortgage-backed securities are secured by mortgage loans (primarily single-family residential properties for MBS). Accordingly, the MBS we invest in are subject to all the risks of the respective underlying mortgage loans, including risks of defaults, foreclosure timeline extensions, fraud, price depreciation, and unfavorable modifications of principal amounts, interest rates and amortization of principal, accompanying the underlying mortgage loans.

The ability of a borrower to repay a mortgage loan secured by a residential property is dependent in part upon the income and assets of the borrower. A number of factors over which we have no control may impair borrowers’ ability to repay their loans.

In the event of any default under a mortgage loan held directly by us, we bear a risk of loss of principal to the extent any deficiency between the value of the collateral and the principal and accrued interest of the mortgage loan, which could have a material adverse effect on our cash flow from operations. In the event of defaults on the mortgage loans that underlie our investments and the exhaustion of any underlying or any additional credit support, we may not realize our anticipated return on our investments and we may incur a loss on these investments.

Our subordinated mortgage assets may be in the “first loss” position, subjecting us to greater risks of loss.

We invest in certain tranches of mortgage assets that are only entitled to a portion of the principal and interest payments made on mortgage loans underlying the securities issued by the securitization trust. In general, losses on a mortgage loan included in an MBS securitization trust will be borne first by the equity holder of the issuing trust, if any, and then by the “first loss” subordinated security holder and then by the “second loss” subordinate holder and so on.

We may acquire securities at every level of such a securitization trust, from the equity position to the most senior tranche. In the event of default and the exhaustion of any classes of securities junior to those which we acquire, our securities will suffer losses as well. In addition, if we overvalue the underlying mortgage portfolio, or if the values

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subsequently decline and, as a result, less collateral is available to satisfy interest and principal payments due on the related MBS, the securities which we acquire may effectively become the “first loss” position ahead of the more senior securities, which may result in significant losses. The prices of lower credit quality securities are generally less sensitive to interest rate changes than more highly-rated securities, but more sensitive to adverse economic downturns or individual issuer developments. A projection of an economic downturn could cause a decline in the value of lower credit quality securities because the ability of obligors or mortgages underlying MBS to make principal and interest payments may be impaired. In such event, existing credit support in the securitization structure may be insufficient to protect us against loss of our principal on these securities.

If our Manager underestimates the collateral loss on our investments, we may experience losses.

Our Manager values our potential investments based on loss-adjusted yields, taking into account estimated future losses on the mortgage loans that collateralize the investments, and the estimated impact of these losses on expected future cash flows. Our Manager’s loss estimates may not prove accurate, as actual results may vary from estimates. In the event that our Manager underestimates the pool level losses relative to the price we pay for a particular investment, we may experience losses with respect to such investment.

Our ownership of securitized mortgage loans subjects us to credit risk and, although we provide for an allowance for loan losses on these loans as required under GAAP, the loss reserves are based on estimates. As a result, actual losses incurred may be larger than our reserves, requiring us to provide additional reserves, which would impact our financial position and results of operations.

We are subject to credit risk as a result of our ownership of securitized mortgage loans. Credit risk is the risk of loss to us from the failure by a borrower (or the proceeds from the liquidation of the underlying collateral) to fully repay the principal balance and interest due on a mortgage loan. A borrower’s ability to repay the loan and the value of the underlying collateral could be negatively impacted by economic and market conditions. These conditions could be global, national, regional or local in nature.

We provide reserves for losses on securitized mortgage loans based on the current performance of the respective pool or on an individual loan basis. If losses are experienced more rapidly due to declining property performance, market conditions or other factors, than we have provided for in our reserves, we may be required to provide additional reserves for these loans. In addition, our allowance for loan losses is based on estimates and to the extent that proceeds from the liquidation of the underlying collateral are less than our estimates, we will record a reduction in our profitability for that period equal to the shortfall.

We may be adversely affected by risks affecting borrowers or the asset or property types in which our investments may be concentrated at any given time, as well as from unfavorable changes in the related geographic regions.

Our assets are not subject to any geographic, diversification or concentration limitations, except that we expect our assets to be concentrated in mortgage-related investments. Accordingly, our investment portfolio may be concentrated by geography, asset, property type and/or borrower, increasing the risk of loss to us if the particular concentration in our investment portfolio is subject to greater risks or undergo adverse developments. In addition, adverse conditions in the areas where the properties securing or otherwise underlying our investments are located (including business layoffs or downsizing, industry slowdowns, changing demographics and other factors) and local real estate conditions (such as oversupply or reduced demand) may have an adverse effect on the value of our investments. A material decline in the demand for real estate in these areas may materially and adversely affect us. Lack of diversification can increase the correlation of non-performance and foreclosure risks among our investments.

Our investments may include subordinated tranches of Non-Agency MBS, which are subordinate in right of payment to more senior tranches, subjecting us to greater risk of losses.

We may invest in subordinated tranches of Non-Agency MBS, which are subordinated classes of securities in a structure of securities collateralized by a pool of mortgage loans and, accordingly, are among the first to bear the losses from non-payment and default of the underlying collateral. Additionally, estimated fair values of these subordinated

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interests tend to be more sensitive to changes in economic conditions than more senior securities. A projection of an economic downturn could cause a decline in the value of lower credit quality securities because the ability of obligors or mortgages underlying non-agency MBS to make principal and interest payments may be impaired. In such event, existing credit support in the securitization structure may be insufficient to protect us against loss of our principal on these securities.

Government use of eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages could materially and adversely affect the value of, and the returns on, our Non-Agency MBS.

The mortgages securing our Non-Agency MBS are located in different geographic regions across the United States, with significantly higher exposure in California, New York and Florida. Several county and municipal governments have discussed using eminent domain to seize from mortgage holders the mortgages of borrowers who are underwater but not in default. In August 2013, the FHFA released a statement expressing serious concerns on the use of eminent domain to restructure mortgages based on a review it conducted since requesting public input on the proposal in August 2012 and indicated that it may take action in response to such use. However, if definitive action is taken by any local governments and such actions withstand Constitutional and other legal challenges resulting in mortgages securing our Non-Agency MBS being seized using eminent domain, the consideration received from the seizing authorities for such mortgages may be substantially less than the outstanding principal balance, which would result in a realized loss and a corresponding write-down of the principal balance of those mortgages. The result of these seizures would be that the amount we receive on our Non-Agency MBS would be less than we would have otherwise received if the mortgage loans had not been seized, which may result in a decline in the market value and an other-than-temporary impairment of these securities. If governments adopt such plans and mortgages securing our Non-Agency MBS are seized on a widespread scale, it could have a material adverse effect on the value of and/or returns on our Non-Agency MBS and our results of operations.

Mortgage loan modification and refinancing programs and future legislative action may materially adversely affect the value of, and the returns on, our Non-Agency MBS.

The U.S. Government, through the Federal Reserve, the FHFA and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, has implemented a number of programs designed to provide homeowners with assistance in avoiding residential mortgage loan foreclosures. These programs and other loss mitigation programs may involve, among other things, the modification or refinancing of mortgage loans to reduce the principal amount of the loans, reduction in the rate of interest payable on the loans and extend the payment terms of the loans. Loan modification may lead to fewer foreclosures and reduce the losses on non-Agency MBS arising from foreclosures. However, loan modifications and refinancing may also result in significant reductions in cash flows to the holders of these securities, which may adversely affect the value of, and the returns on, these assets.

The servicing of the mortgage loans that are the underlying collateral of our Non-Agency MBS is outside of our control, and if this servicing is not successful in limiting future delinquencies, defaults and losses, it could adversely affect our results of operations.

Third party servicers provide for the servicing of the mortgage loans that are the underlying collateral of our Non-Agency MBS. These service providers control all aspects of loan collection, loss mitigation, default management and ultimate resolution of a defaulted loan. We have no contractual rights with respect to these service providers and their efforts may not be successful in limiting future delinquencies, defaults and losses, which could adversely affect our results of operations.

The Non-Agency MBS in which we invest, and the mortgage loans underlying the Non-Agency MBS in which we invest, are subject to delinquency, foreclosure, and loss, which could result in losses to us.

Residential mortgage loans are secured by single-family residential property and are subject to risks of loss, delinquency and foreclosure. The ability of a borrower to repay a loan secured by a residential property is dependent upon the income or assets of the borrower. A number of factors, including a general economic downturn, acts of God, terrorism, social unrest and civil disturbances, may impair borrowers’ abilities to repay their loans.

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Residential MBS evidence interests in or are secured by pools of residential mortgage loans and collateralized MBS evidence interests in or are secured by a single commercial mortgage loan or a pool of commercial mortgage loans. Accordingly, the Non-Agency MBS we invest in are subject to all of the risks of the underlying mortgage loans. In the event of defaults with respect to the mortgage loans that underlie our Non-Agency MBS investments and the exhaustion of any underlying or additional credit support, we may not realize our anticipated return on these investments and we may incur a loss on these investments.

We may invest in securities in the developing Agency risk transfer sector that are subject to mortgage credit risk.

We may invest in securities in the developing Agency risk transfer sector (“CRT Sector”). The CRT Sector is comprised of the risk sharing transactions issued by Fannie Mae (“CAS”) and Freddie Mac (“STACR”) and similarly structured transactions arranged by third party market principals. The securities issued in the CRT Sector are designed to synthetically transfer mortgage credit risk from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private investors. Currently, CAS and STACR transactions are structured and unsecured and unguaranteed bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, respectively, whose principal payments are determined by the delinquency and prepayment experience of a reference pool of mortgages originated and guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, respectively, in a particular quarter. Transactions arranged by third party market participants in the CRT Sector are similarly structured to reference a specific pool of loans that have been securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and synthetically transfer mortgage credit risk related to those loans to the purchaser of the securities. The holder of the securities in the CRT Sector has the risk that the borrowers may default on their obligations to make full and timely payments of principal and interest. Investments in securities in the CRT Sector could cause us to incur losses of income from, and/or losses in market value relating to, those assets if there are defaults of principal and/or interest on the pool of mortgages referenced in the transaction.

We may invest in leveraged mortgage derivative securities that generally experience greater volatility in market prices, thus exposing us to greater risk with respect to their rate of return.

We may acquire leveraged mortgage derivative securities that may expose us to a high level of interest rate risk. The characteristics of leveraged mortgage derivative securities result in greater volatility in their market prices. Thus, acquisition of leveraged mortgage derivative securities would expose us to the risk of greater price volatility in our portfolio and that could harm our net income and overall profitability.

New assets we acquire may not generate yields as attractive or be as accretive to book value as have been experienced historically.

We may acquire new assets as we receive principal and interest payments and prepayments from our existing assets. We also sell assets from time to time as part of our portfolio and asset/liability management programs. We may invest these proceeds into new earning assets.

New assets may not generate yields as attractive as we have experienced historically. Business conditions, including credit results, prepayment patterns and interest rate trends in the future, may not be as favorable as they have been during the periods we held the replaced assets.

New assets may not be as accretive to book value as existing assets. The market value of our assets is sensitive to interest rate fluctuations. In the past as short-term interest rates increased, the market value of our existing assets has declined. As we classify most of our Agency MBS and Non-Agency MBS as available-for-sale, accounting rules require that any unrealized losses from the decline in market value that are not considered to be an other-than-temporary impairment be carried as “accumulated other comprehensive loss” in the “Stockholders’ equity” section of the consolidated balance sheets. When short-term interest rates stop increasing, or start declining, or when the interest rates on these securities reset, the market value of these assets may increase. This may be more accretive to book value than the new assets that we acquire to replace existing assets.

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If we are unable to find suitable investments, we may not be able to achieve our investment objectives or pay dividends.

The availability of mortgage-related assets meeting our criteria depends upon, among other things, the level of activity and quality of and demand for these investments in the mortgage securitization and secondary markets. The market for these investments depends upon various factors including the level of activity in the residential real estate market, the level of and difference between short-term and long-term interest rates, incentives for issuers to securitize mortgage loans and demand for these investments by institutional investors. The size and level of activity in the residential real estate lending market depends upon various factors, including the level of interest rates, regional and national economic conditions and real estate values. To the extent we are unable to acquire a sufficient volume of mortgage-related assets meeting our criteria, our results of operations would be adversely affected. Furthermore, we cannot assure you that we will be able to acquire sufficient mortgage-related assets at spreads above our costs of funds.

We are dependent upon information systems and communication systems and their failure could significantly disrupt our business.

Our business is highly dependent upon our information and communication systems. Although we have implemented various structural and security policy enhancements to our information systems in recent years, such as a cybersecurity policy manual, employee training, and enhanced firewall, antivirus/malware protection, problems with our computer systems could still occur. Any failure or interruption of our systems, or cyber-attacks, or security breaches of our networks or systems, or of those systems of our service providers, could cause delays or other problems in our securities trading activities, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, the market price of our common stock and other securities, and our ability to pay dividends to our stockholders. In addition, we also face the risk of operational failure, termination or capacity constraints of any of the third parties with which we do business or that facilitate our business activities, including clearing agents or other financial intermediaries we use to facilitate our securities transactions.

Computer malware, viruses, and computer hacking, phishing, and cyber-attacks have become more prevalent in our industry and may occur on our systems in the future. We rely heavily on financial, accounting, and other data processing systems, including those systems of our service providers. It is difficult to determine what, if any, negative impact may directly result from any specific interruption or cyber-attacks or security breaches of our networks or systems (or the networks or systems of, among other third parties, our lenders), or any failure to maintain performance, reliability, and security of our technical infrastructure. As a result, such computer malware, viruses, and computer hacking, phishing and cyber-attacks may negatively affect our operations.

Risks Related to Our Management

We have no employees and our Manager is responsible for making all of our investment decisions. The employees of our Manager are not required to devote any specific amount of time to our business.

Effective December 31, 2011, in accordance with the Management Agreement, we have no employees and all our prior employees became employees of our Manager. Our Manager is responsible for conducting our day-to-day operations and is responsible for the selection, purchase and sale of our investment portfolio; our financing and hedging activities; providing us with management services; and such other services and activities relating to our assets and operations as may be appropriate.

Messrs. Lloyd McAdams, Joseph E. McAdams, and others are officers and employees of our Manager and are also officers and employees of Pacific Income Advisers, Inc., or PIA, where they devote a portion of their time. These officers and employees are under no contractual obligations mandating minimum amounts of time to be devoted to our Company. In addition, a trust controlled in part by Mr. Lloyd McAdams is the principal stockholder of PIA.

These officers and employees are involved in investing approximately $8.1 billion (including our assets) in MBS and other fixed income assets for institutional clients and individual investors through PIA at December 31, 2017. These multiple responsibilities and ownerships may create conflicts of interest if these officers and employees of our Company

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are presented with opportunities that may benefit both us and the clients of PIA. These officers allocate investments among our portfolio and the clients of PIA by determining the entity or account for which the investment is most suitable. In making this determination, these officers consider the investment strategy and guidelines of each entity or account with respect to acquisition of assets, leverage, liquidity and other factors that our officers determine appropriate. These officers, however, have no obligation to make any specific investment opportunities available to us and the above-mentioned conflicts of interest may result in decisions or allocations of securities that are not in our best interests.

Additionally, there is nothing in the Management Agreement that prevents our Manager or any of its Affiliates, officers, directors or employees from engaging in other businesses or from rendering services of any kind to any other Person or entity, whether or not the investment objectives or policies of any such other Person or entity are similar to those of the Company or in any way binds or restricts our Manager or any of its Affiliates, officers, directors or employees from buying, selling or trading any securities or commodities for their own accounts or for the accounts of others for whom our Manager or any of its Affiliates, officers, directors or employees may be acting.

Mr. Lloyd McAdams is also an owner and Chairman of Syndicated Capital, Inc., a registered broker-dealer. Syndicated Capital, Inc. has been authorized by our Board to act as an authorized broker on any buyback of the Company’s common stock. The service to PIA and Syndicated Capital, Inc. by the officers and employees of our Manager allow them to spend only part of their time and effort managing our Company, as they are required to devote a portion of their time and effort to the management of other companies, and this may harm our overall management and operating results.

Messrs. Lloyd McAdams, Joseph E. McAdams, Charles J. Siegel, John T. Hillman, Ms. Heather U. Baines, and others are officers and employees of PIA Farmland, Inc. and its external manager, PIA, where they devote a portion of their time. PIA Farmland, Inc., a privately-held real estate investment trust investing in U.S. farmland properties leased to independent farm operators, was incorporated in February 2013. These officers and employees are under no contractual obligations to PIA Farmland, Inc., its external manager, PIA, or to Anworth or its external manager, Anworth Management, LLC, as to their time commitment. To the extent that significant time is devoted to PIA Farmland, Inc. and its external manager, this could harm our overall management and operating results. Mr. Steven Koomar, the Chief Executive Officer of PIA Farmland, Inc., has no involvement with either our Company or our Manager.

We are completely dependent upon our Manager, who provides services to us through the Management Agreement, and we may not find suitable replacements for our Manager if the Management Agreement is terminated or such key personnel are no longer available to us. The loss of any key personnel of our Manager could harm our operations.

We no longer have any employees and are completely dependent on our Manager to conduct our operations pursuant to the Management Agreement. Our Manager has its own employees, which conduct its day-to-day operations. The Management Agreement does not require our Manager to dedicate specific personnel to our operations.

If we terminate the Management Agreement without cause, we may not, without the consent of our Manager, employ any employee of our Manager or any of its Affiliates, or any Person who has been employed by our Manager or any of its Affiliates at any time within the two year period immediately preceding the date on which the Person commences employment with us for two years after such termination of the Management Agreement. We will not have retention agreements with any of our officers. We believe that the successful implementation of our investment and financing strategies will depend upon the experience of certain of our Manager’s officers and employees. None of these individuals’ continued service is guaranteed. If the Management Agreement is terminated or these individuals leave our Manager, our Manager may be unable to replace them with persons with appropriate experience, or at all, and we may not be able to execute our business plan.

We depend on the diligence, experience and skill of the officers and employees of our Manager for the selection, structuring and monitoring of our mortgage-related assets and associated borrowings. The key officers of our Manager include Mr. Lloyd McAdams, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Mr. Joseph E. McAdams, our President and Chief Investment Officer; Mr. Charles J. Siegel, our Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary; Mr. Brett Roth, Senior Vice President; and Ms. Bistra Pashamova, Senior Vice President. Our dependence on our Manager is heightened by the fact that they have a relatively small number of employees and the loss of any key person could harm our entire

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business, financial condition, cash flow and results of operations. In particular, the loss of the services of Messrs. Lloyd McAdams or Joseph E. McAdams could seriously harm our business.

The Management Agreement was not negotiated on an arm’s-length basis and the terms, including fees payable, may not be as favorable to us as if it were negotiated with an unaffiliated third party.

Effective as of December 31, 2011, we entered into the Management Agreement, which effected the externalization of our management function. The Management Agreement was negotiated between related parties, and we did not have the benefit of arm’s-length negotiations of the type normally conducted with an unaffiliated third party. The terms of the Management Agreement, including fees payable, may not reflect the terms we may have received if it was negotiated with an unrelated third party. In addition, as a result of this relationship, we may choose not to enforce, or to enforce less vigorously, our rights under the Management Agreement because of our desire to maintain our ongoing relationship with our Manager.

If we elect to not renew the Management Agreement without cause, we would be required to pay our Manager a substantial termination fee.

It will be costly for us if we elect not to renew the Management Agreement without cause.

With the consent of the majority of our independent directors, and with at least 180‑days’ prior written notice before the end of the calendar year, we may elect to not renew the Management Agreement at the end of the calendar year. If we elect not to renew the Management Agreement without cause, we will be required to pay our Manager a termination fee equal to three times the average annual management fee earned by our Manager during the 24‑month period immediately preceding the most recently completed quarter prior to the year-end termination of the Management Agreement.

After giving notice of our intent to not renew the Management Agreement without cause, we will continue to be required to pay our Manager the management fees stated in the Management Agreement until the end of the calendar year that the Management Agreement is not renewed. If such notice is given less than 180 days prior to the end of the calendar year, the management fees will be paid until termination of the Management Agreement at the end of the following calendar year.

At December 31, 2017, if this termination event had occurred, the termination fee, based on the average annual management fee earned by our Manager during the 24‑month period immediately preceding the most recently completed quarter prior to the effective date of termination, would be approximately $23 million.

If we do not renew the Management Agreement for any reason, we would continue to be obligated to pay the sublease on our office premises in California.

Our obligation to pay the sublease on our office premises does not end with termination of the Management Agreement. There can be no assurance that we can sublease our office space to another tenant at a rate which eliminates this obligation and is satisfactory to the sublessor and the building owner.

If we elect to not renew the Management Agreement without cause for two years thereafter, we may not retain any of our Manager’s employees to assist us in managing the Company on a full-time or interim basis.

The Management Agreement provides that, without the consent of our Manager, the Company may not, for two years after termination of the Management Agreement, employ any employee of our Manager, or any of its Affiliates, or any person who has been employed by our Manager or any of its Affiliates, at any time within the two-year period immediately preceding the date on which the person commences employment with the Company. This provision would make it unlikely that the Company would be able to immediately rely on the experience and knowledge of the employees of the former Manager to assist in any changes made by our Board, including assisting with the sale, or the sale or liquidation of a substantial portion of the assets, of the Company.

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Various corporate actions require the approval of the majority of all shareholders.

There are corporate actions which can be implemented only if a majority of all shareholders approves at a convened meeting of shareholders. There can be no assurance that a majority of all shareholders will vote to approve any measure that only a majority of the voting shareholders had previously approved. Examples of actions which require the approval of a majority of all shareholders to pass are: an agreement of consolidation, merger, share exchange or transfer of assets; for dissolution of the Corporation; or for a business combination between the Corporation and an interested stockholder.

In the event of a change of control, we will owe certain of the officers and employees of our Manager a payment as specified in their Change of Control and Arbitration Agreements between these officers/employees and the Company.

In the event of a change of control of the Company, we would incur the costs of paying lump sum payments and other employee benefits to certain of the officers and employees of our Manager as specified in their Change of Control and Arbitration Agreement between these officers/employees and the Company.

The management fee is payable regardless of our performance.

Our Manager is entitled to receive a management fee from us that is based on 1.20% of our Equity (as defined in our Management Agreement), regardless of the performance of our investment portfolio. For example, we would pay our Manager a management fee for a specific period even if we experienced a net loss during the same period. Our Manager’s entitlement to substantial nonperformance-based compensation may reduce its incentive to devote sufficient time and effort to seeking investments that provide attractive risk-adjusted returns for our investment portfolio. This in turn could harm our ability to make distributions to our stockholders and the market price of our common stock.

The fee structure of the Management Agreement may limit our Manager’s ability to retain access to its key personnel.

Under the terms of the Management Agreement, we are required to pay our Manager a base management fee payable monthly in arrears in an amount equal to one twelfth of 1.20% of our Equity. Our Equity is defined as our month-end stockholders’ equity, adjusted to exclude the effect of any unrealized gains or losses included in either retained earnings or other comprehensive income, each as computed in accordance with GAAP. The Management Agreement does not provide our Manager with an incentive management fee that would pay our Manager additional compensation as a result of meeting performance targets. Some of our externally-managed competitors pay their managers an incentive management fee, which enables them to provide additional compensation to their key personnel. Thus, the lack of an incentive fee in the Management Agreement may limit the ability of our Manager to provide key personnel with additional compensation for strong performance, which could adversely affect our Manager’s ability to retain these key personnel. If our Manager were not able to retain any of the key personnel providing services to our Manager, it would have to find replacement personnel to provide those services. Those replacement key personnel may not be able to produce the same operating results as the current key personnel.

Some investors may not view our external management in a positive light, which may affect the market price of our common stock, and may make it more difficult for future offerings of our stock.

Although there are currently other mortgage REITs that are externally-managed, there may be times in the future when some investors may have a preference for internally-managed companies. There may also be times, if there are low returns from our portfolio, when our external management is not viewed in a positive light. In either of these cases, there may be a negative effect on the market price of our common stock, and this may make it difficult for future offerings of our common stock.

Potential conflicts of interest could arise if our Manager were to take greater risk for the purpose of increasing our equity in order to earn a greater management fee.

The Management Agreement does not contain an incentive fee. Our Manager is paid a base management fee payable monthly in arrears in an amount equal to one twelfth of 1.20% of our Equity, as defined in the Management

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Agreement. As the Management Agreement does not contain an incentive fee, our Manager may take greater risk in our investment portfolio to increase our equity in order to earn a greater management fee.

Our Manager’s liability is limited under the Management Agreement and we have agreed to indemnify our Manager against certain liabilities.

Pursuant to the Management Agreement, our Manager does not assume any responsibility other than to render the services called for thereunder and is not responsible for any action of our Board in following or declining to follow any advice or recommendation of our Manager. Our Manager and its Affiliates, and the directors, officers, employees and stockholders of our Manager and its Affiliates, are not liable to us, any subsidiary of ours, our Board or our stockholders for any acts or omissions by our Manager, its officers, employees or its Affiliates, performed in accordance with and pursuant to the Management Agreement, except by reason of acts constituting bad faith, willful misconduct, gross negligence or reckless disregard of their respective duties under this Management Agreement. We have agreed to indemnify our Manager and its Affiliates, its directors, officers, employees and stockholders of our Manager and its Affiliates (each a “Manager Indemnified Party”) of and from any and all expenses, losses, damages, liabilities, demands, charges and claims of any nature whatsoever (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) in respect of or arising from any acts or omissions of such Manager Indemnified Party, not constituting bad faith, willful misconduct, gross negligence or reckless disregard of duties of such Manager Indemnified Party under this Management Agreement.

Our Manager has limited resources and may not be able to defend itself in litigation.

The only fee that our Manager receives from us is the base management fee, as previously described. It is anticipated that most, if not all, of this fee will be used by our Manager for compensation to its employees and to pay for its other administrative expenses. Our Manager has limited resources. If our Manager were to be involved in litigation not related to our operations, it may not be able to defend itself and it may be forced to declare bankruptcy or go out of business and we would have to find another Manager. This could have a material adverse impact on our business and our operations.

Failure of our Manager to comply with SEC rules and regulations could cause various disciplinary actions, which could cause a disruption in services provided to us, and may impact our business operations and our profitability.

Under rules promulgated under the Dodd-Frank Act, our Manager is considered an investment adviser. In reliance upon the no-action letter issued by the SEC to the American Bar Association on January 18, 2012, we consider Anworth Management, LLC to be a “relying adviser,” which means that its registration as an investment adviser is integrated into the existing registration of PIA, its “filing adviser.” Anworth Management, LLC and PIA are both subject to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and the rules and regulations of the SEC and also are subject to examination by the SEC. Any failure by Anworth Management, LLC, PIA, or any of their respective employees to comply with such rules and regulations could cause various disciplinary actions, up to and including loss of registration status as investment advisers. Such disciplinary actions could lead to disruptions in the services provided to us which may impact our business operations and our profitability.

Our Board may change our operating policies and strategies without prior notice or stockholder approval and such changes could harm our business, results of operations and stock price.

Our Board can modify or waive our current operating policies and our strategies without prior notice and without stockholder approval. We cannot predict the effect any changes to our current operating policies and strategies may have on our business, operating results and stock price, however, the effects may be adverse.

Risks Related to Our Residential Properties Business

We are in an industry that has significant competition, and we have limited operating history in this sector, which makes this business difficult to evaluate, and may affect our ability to operate this business in a profitable manner.

Historically, the single-family residential rental business consisted primarily of private individual investors in

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local markets and was managed individually or by small local property managers. Within the past several years, several institutional companies and REITs have entered this market and have attempted to acquire and operate single-family properties on a large-scale basis and to achieve attractive yields employing technology through a disciplined approach to acquisitions and leasing, marketing and management. Many of our competitors may be larger and have greater financial, technical, leasing, marketing and other resources than we do, which may affect our ability to acquire our target properties at attractive prices and attract quality tenants.

In addition, although we have several employees who have previously personally engaged in this business on a small scale, we have limited operating history as a company in this business and contract with various third-party professionals to assist us in acquiring and managing our properties and providing services to tenants. If these professionals do a poor job or don’t perform to our expectations, it could affect the prices we pay to acquire properties, our relationships with our tenants, the operation of our properties, and our reputation in this business. These factors make this business difficult to evaluate, and may affect our ability to operate this business in a profitable manner.

Many factors affect the single-family residential rental market, and the profitability of this business will be affected both by our assumptions about this market and this market’s conditions in our target areas.

The success of our business model will depend upon many factors including, but not limited to: the availability of properties that meet our investment criteria and our ability to acquire such properties at favorable prices; real estate appreciation or depreciation in our target markets; the condition of our properties; our ability to contain renovation, maintenance, marketing and other operating costs for our properties; our ability to maintain high occupancy rates and target rent levels; general economic conditions in our target markets, such as changes in employment and household earnings and expenses; the effects of rent controls, stabilization laws and other laws or regulations regarding rental rates and tenant rights; and changes in, and changes in enforcement of, laws, regulations and government policies including health, safety, environmental, property, zoning and tax laws. We will have no control over many of these factors, which could adversely affect the profitability of this business. Our success will also depend, in part, on our assumptions about our target properties, our target renters, our renovation, maintenance and other operating costs, and our rental rates and occupancy levels and, if our assumptions prove to be inaccurate, this may adversely affect the profitability of this business.

Initially, our portfolio of properties has been geographically concentrated, and any adverse developments in local economic conditions, or the demand for single-family rental homes in these markets, or the occurrence of natural disasters, may adversely affect the operating results of this business.

Initially, our target markets are in the east coast of Florida and we are exposed to any adverse developments in local economic conditions or natural disasters in that area. Due to this geographic concentration, any such developments could affect our business to a greater extent than if our properties were less geographically concentrated.

Poor resident selection and defaults by renters may adversely affect the financial performance of this business and harm our reputation.

Our success depends, in large part, upon our ability to attract and retain qualified tenants. This will depend, in turn, upon our ability to screen applicants, identify good residents, avoid tenants who may default, and the willingness of our tenants to renew their leases. When properties are vacant, we are not earning rental income and incur maintenance costs as well as turnover costs associated with re-leasing the properties, such as marketing and leasing commissions. Additionally, if we have to evict tenants, we will incur legal costs and may have renovation costs if the tenants don’t properly maintain the properties or cause damage to the properties. Our reputation in the communities where our properties are located may be harmed if our tenants are not good neighbors or do damage to our properties or to the local communities.

Declining real estate values and impairment charges could adversely affect the earnings and financial condition of this business.

Our success depends upon our ability to acquire rental properties at attractive values, such that we can earn a

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satisfactory return on our investment primarily through rental income and secondarily through increases in property values. If we overpay for properties, or if their values subsequently decline or fail to rise because of market factors, we may not achieve our financial objectives. Additionally, U.S. GAAP requires companies to take an impairment charge if there is a permanent decline in the value of a property based upon a review of various market factors. An impairment charge would reduce the net income in the period in which it was taken. Even if we concluded that an impairment charge was not needed, a decline in the value of a property may become manifest over time through reduced rental income from the property, which would affect the earnings and financial condition of this business.

Risks Related to REIT Compliance and Other Tax Matters

If we are disqualified as a REIT, we will be subject to tax as a regular corporation and face substantial tax liability.

We believe that, since our initial public offering in 1998, we have operated so as to qualify as a REIT under the Code and we intend to continue to meet the requirements for taxation as a REIT. Nevertheless, we may not remain qualified as a REIT in the future. Qualification as a REIT involves the application of highly technical and complex Code provisions for which only a limited number of judicial or administrative interpretations exist. Even a technical or inadvertent mistake could require us to pay a penalty or jeopardize our REIT status. We hold certain assets and derive certain types of income that do not qualify under various gross asset and income requirements applicable to REITs and, if the amounts of such assets or income exceed thresholds permitted under the Code, our ability to qualify as a REIT could be jeopardized. Furthermore, Congress or the IRS might change tax laws or regulations and the courts might issue new rulings, in each case potentially having retroactive effects that could make it more difficult or impossible for us to qualify as a REIT. If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any tax year, then:

·

we would be taxed as a regular domestic corporation, which, among other things, means being unable to deduct distributions to stockholders in computing taxable income and being subject to federal income tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates;

·

any resulting tax liability could be substantial and would reduce the amount of cash available for distribution to stockholders;

·

we would no longer be required to make distributions to our stockholders; and

·

unless we were entitled to relief under applicable statutory provisions, we could be disqualified from treatment as a REIT for the subsequent four taxable years following the year during which we lost our qualification and thus our cash available for distribution to stockholders would be reduced for each of the years during which we do not qualify as a REIT.

Complying with REIT requirements may cause us to forego otherwise attractive opportunities.

In order to qualify as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, we must continually satisfy tests concerning, among other things, our sources of income, the nature and diversification of our MBS and other assets, the amounts we distribute to our stockholders and the ownership of our stock. We may also be required to make distributions to stockholders at disadvantageous times or when we do not have funds readily available for distribution. Thus, compliance with REIT requirements may hinder our ability to operate solely on the basis of maximizing profits.

Complying with REIT requirements may limit our ability to hedge effectively.

Compliance with the REIT provisions of the Code may limit our ability to hedge our assets and operations. Under these provisions, any income that is generated from transactions intended to hedge our interest rate, inflation and/or currency risks will be excluded from gross income for purposes of the REIT 75% and 95% gross income tests if the instrument hedges (1) interest rate risk on liabilities incurred to carry or acquire real estate or (2) risk of currency fluctuations with respect to any item of income or gain that would be qualifying income under the REIT 75% or 95% gross income tests, and such instrument is properly identified under applicable Treasury Regulations. Income from hedging transactions that does not meet these requirements will generally constitute non-qualifying income for purposes

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of both the REIT 75% and 95% gross income tests. As a result of these rules, we may have to limit use of hedging techniques that might otherwise be advantageous, which could result in greater risks associated with interest rate or other changes than we would otherwise incur.

Complying with REIT requirements may force us to liquidate otherwise attractive investments or to make investments inconsistent with our business plan.

In order to qualify as a REIT, we must also determine that at the end of each calendar quarter at least 75% of the value of our assets consists of cash, cash items, government securities and qualified REIT real estate assets. The remainder of our investment in securities generally cannot include more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of any one issuer or more than 10% of the total value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer. In addition, in general, no more than 5% of the value of our assets can consist of the securities of any one issuer. No more than 25% (20% commencing in 2018) of the total value of our assets can be stock in taxable REIT subsidiaries. If we fail to comply with these requirements, we must dispose of a portion of our assets within 30 days after the end of the calendar quarter in order to avoid losing our REIT status and suffering adverse tax consequences. The need to comply with these gross income and asset tests may cause us to acquire other assets that are qualifying real estate assets for purposes of the REIT requirements that are not part of our overall business strategy and might not otherwise be the best investment alternative for us.

REIT distribution requirements could adversely affect our ability to execute our business plan and may require us to incur debt, sell assets, or take other actions to make such distributions.

In order to continue to qualify as a REIT, we must distribute to stockholders each calendar year at least 90% of our REIT taxable income (including certain items of non-cash income), determined without regard to the deduction of dividends paid and excluding net capital gains. To the extent that we satisfy the 90% distribution requirement but distribute less than 100% of our taxable income, we will be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax on our undistributed income. In addition, we will incur a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the amount, if any, by which our distributions in any calendar year are less than a minimum amount specified under U.S. federal income tax law.

We intend to distribute our net income to stockholders in a manner intended to satisfy the 90% distribution requirement and to avoid both corporate income tax and the 4% nondeductible excise tax. Our taxable income may substantially exceed our net income as determined by U.S. GAAP or differences in timing between the recognition of taxable income and the actual receipt of cash may occur, in which case we may have taxable income in excess of cash flow from our operating activities. In such event, we may generate less cash flow than taxable income in a particular year and find it difficult or impossible to meet the REIT distribution requirements in certain circumstances. In such circumstances, in order to satisfy the distribution requirement and to avoid U.S. federal corporate income tax and the 4% nondeductible excise tax in that year, we may be required to: (i) sell assets in adverse market conditions, (ii) borrow on unfavorable terms, (iii) distribute amounts that would otherwise be invested in future acquisitions, capital expenditures, or repayment of debt, or (iv) make a taxable distribution of our shares as part of a distribution in which stockholders may elect to receive shares or (subject to a limit measured as a percentage of the total distribution) cash, in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. Thus, compliance with the REIT distribution requirements may require us to take actions that may not otherwise be advisable given existing market conditions and hinder our ability to grow, which could adversely affect the value of our common stock.

Even though we elected to be taxed as REIT, we may be required to pay certain taxes.

Even though we have elected to be taxed as a REIT, we may be subject to certain U.S. federal, state, and local taxes on our income and assets, including taxes on any undistributed income, prohibited transactions, tax on income from some activities conducted as a result of a foreclosure, and state or local income, franchise, property, and transfer taxes, including mortgage recording taxes. In addition, in the future, we may hold some of our assets through wholly-owned TRSs. Any TRSs and any other taxable corporations in which we own an interest will be subject to U.S. federal, state, and local corporate taxes. Payment of these taxes generally would reduce our cash flow and the amount available for distribution to our stockholders.

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Our ability to invest in and dispose of TBA contracts could be limited by our REIT status and we could lose our REIT status as a result of these investments.

We regularly purchase agency securities through TBA contracts. In certain instances, rather than take delivery of the agency securities subject to a TBA contract, we will dispose of the TBA contract through a dollar roll transaction in which we agree to purchase similar securities in the future at a predetermined price or otherwise, which may result in the recognition of income or gains. We account for dollar roll transactions as purchases and sales. The law is unclear regarding whether TBA contracts will be qualifying assets for the 75% asset test and whether income and gains from dispositions of TBA contracts will be qualifying income for the 75% gross income test.

Until such time as we seek and receive a favorable private letter ruling from the IRS, or we are advised by counsel that TBA contracts should be treated as qualifying assets for purposes of the 75% asset test, we will limit our investment in TBA contracts and any non-qualifying assets to no more than 25% of our assets at the end of any calendar quarter. Further, until such time as we seek and receive a favorable private letter ruling from the IRS or we are advised by counsel that income and gains from the disposition of TBA contracts should be treated as qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, we will limit our gains from dispositions of TBA contracts and any non-qualifying income to no more than 25% of our gross income for each calendar year. Accordingly, our ability to purchase agency securities through TBA contracts and to dispose of TBA contracts, through dollar roll transactions or otherwise, could be limited.

Moreover, even if we are advised by counsel that TBA contracts should be treated as qualifying assets or that income and gains from dispositions of TBA contracts should be treated as qualifying income, it is possible that the IRS could successfully take the position that such assets are not qualifying assets and such income is not qualifying income. In that event, we could be subject to a penalty tax or we could fail to qualify as a REIT if (i) the value of our TBA contracts, together with our non-qualifying assets for the 75% asset test, exceeded 25% of our gross assets at the end of any calendar quarter or (ii) our income and gains from the disposition of TBA contracts, together with our non-qualifying income for the 75% gross income test, exceeded 25% of our gross income for any taxable year.

Complying with REIT requirements may force us to borrow to make distributions to stockholders.

As a REIT, we must distribute at least 90% of our annual taxable income (subject to certain adjustments) to our stockholders. At the time when we are required to make previously declared dividend distributions, declines in the value of our portfolio holdings and the resulting subsequent margins calls may have depleted most or all of our cash and cash equivalents. If this were to occur and if market conditions allowed us to do so, we would sell some of our portfolio holdings to generate sufficient funds to make the dividend payments. If market conditions did not allow us to sell portfolio holdings, we would be required to borrow funds on an unsecured basis to make the previously declared dividend payments.

Dividends payable by REITs do not qualify for the reduced tax rates.

Current tax law generally provides for favorable tax rates (20% maximum in the case of non-corporate stockholders) on dividends received from corporations. However, dividends paid by REITs to these stockholders are generally not eligible for these reduced rates. Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, all such dividends, other than dividends which are taxable as capital gain dividends or traceable to dividends from a TRS, as are received by a pass-through entity or an individual, will be eligible for a 20% deduction from gross income starting in 2018 under the new tax laws. This eligibility for a 20% deduction will expire in 2025. This legislation does not adversely affect the taxation of REITs or dividends paid by REITs, but the more favorable rates applicable to non-REIT corporate dividends could cause investors which are trusts and estates to perceive investments in REITs to be relatively less attractive than investments in the stocks of non-REIT corporations that pay dividends, which could adversely affect the value of the stock of REITs, including our common stock. Investors and potential investors should consult with their tax advisors regarding the implications of this new tax bill on any investment in our stock.

The tax imposed on REITs engaging in “prohibited transactions” will limit our ability to engage in transactions, including certain methods of securitizing loans, which would be treated as sales for federal income tax purposes.

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A REIT’s net income from prohibited transactions is subject to a 100% tax. In general, prohibited transactions are sales or other dispositions of property, other than foreclosure property but including any mortgage loans, held in inventory primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business. We might be subject to this tax if we were to sell a loan or securitize loans in a manner that was treated as a sale of such inventory for federal income tax purposes. Therefore, in order to avoid the prohibited transactions tax, we may choose not to engage in certain sales of loans other than through a taxable REIT subsidiary and may limit the structures we utilize for our securitization transactions even though such sales or structures might otherwise be beneficial for us. In addition, this prohibition may limit our ability to restructure our investment portfolio of mortgage loans from time to time, even if we believe that it would be in our best interest to do so.

We may incur excess inclusion income that would increase the tax liability of our stockholders.

In general, dividend income that a tax-exempt entity receives from us should not constitute unrelated business taxable income as defined in Section 512 of the Code. If we realize excess inclusion income and allocate it to stockholders, however, then this income would be fully taxable as unrelated business taxable income under Section 512 of the Code. If the stockholder is foreign, it would generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax withholding on this income without reduction pursuant to any otherwise applicable income tax treaty. U.S. stockholders would not be able to offset such income with their operating losses.

We generally structure our borrowing arrangements in a manner designed to avoid generating significant amounts of excess inclusion income. However, excess inclusion income could result if we held a residual interest in a REMIC. Excess inclusion income also may be generated if we were to issue debt obligations with two or more maturities and the terms of the payments on these obligations bore a relationship to the payments that we received on our mortgage loans or MBS securing those debt obligations. For example, we may engage in non-REMIC CMO securitizations. We also enter into various repurchase agreements that have differing maturity dates and afford the lender the right to sell any pledged mortgage securities if we default on our obligations. The IRS may determine that these transactions give rise to excess inclusion income that should be allocated among our stockholders. We may invest in equity securities of other REITs and it is possible that we might receive excess inclusion income from those investments. Some types of entities, including, without limitation, voluntarily employee benefit associations and entities that have borrowed funds to acquire their shares of our stock, may be required to treat a portion of or all of the dividends they receive from us as unrelated business taxable income.

Misplaced reliance on legal opinions or statements by issuers of mortgage-related assets could result in a failure to comply with REIT gross income or asset tests.

When purchasing MBS, government securities and interests in loans held in securitization trusts, we may rely on opinions of counsel for the issuer or sponsor of such securities, or statements made in related offering documents or opinions of tax accountants, for purposes of determining whether and to what extent those securities constitute “real estate assets” for purposes of the REIT asset tests and produce income that qualifies under the REIT income tests. The inaccuracy of any such opinions or statements may harm our REIT qualification and result in significant corporate level tax.

Additional Risk Factors

Failure to maintain an exemption from the Investment Company Act would materially harm our results of operations.

We believe that we conduct our business in a manner that results in our not being regulated as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, or the Investment Company Act. If we fail to continue to qualify for an exemption from registration as an investment company, our ability to use leverage would be substantially reduced and we would be unable to conduct our business as we presently do.

Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the Investment Company Act defines an investment company as any issuer that is engaged or proposes to engage in the business of investing, reinvesting, owning, holding or trading in securities and owns or

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proposes to acquire investment securities having a value exceeding 40% of the value of the issuer’s total assets (exclusive of U.S. government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis, which we refer to as the 40% test. Excluded from the term “investment securities” are, among other things, U.S government securities and securities issued by majority-owned subsidiaries that are not themselves investment companies and are not relying on the exception from the definition of investment company in Section 3(c)(1) or Section 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act.

The Investment Company Act has an exemption for entities that are primarily engaged in the business of purchasing or otherwise acquiring “mortgages and other liens on and interests in real estate.” Under the SEC’s current interpretation, we qualify for this exemption if we maintain at least 55% of our assets directly in qualifying assets and at least 80% of our assets must be in both the qualifying assets and other real estate related interests(and no more than 20% comprised of other miscellaneous assets). In meeting the 55% requirement under the Investment Company Act, the SEC has generally viewed the following asset types as qualifying interests: (1) assets that represent an actual interest in real estate; (2) loans or liens that are fully secured by real estate; (3) assets that can be viewed as the functional equivalent of, and provide the same economic experiencer as, an actual interest in real estate or a loan or lien fully secured by real estate, such as whole pool agency MBS. In meeting the 55% test, we treat MBS issued with respect to an underlying pool for which we hold all issued certificates as qualifying interests and partial pool agency MBS in other real estate related interests in complying with the 80% test. If the SEC or its staff adopts a contrary interpretation, we could be required to sell a substantial amount of our MBS under potentially adverse market conditions. Further, in order to maintain our exemption from registration as an investment company by acquiring “mortgages and other liens on and interests in real estate”, we may be precluded from acquiring MBS whose yield is somewhat higher than the yield on “mortgages and other liens on and interests in real estate” that could be purchased in a manner consistent with the exemption.

On August 31, 2011, the SEC issued a release soliciting comments on the mortgage REIT exemption under the Investment Company Act. The SEC indicated in its release that it is concerned that some mortgage companies may be subject to the kinds of abuses that the Investment Company Act was intended to address, such as misvaluations of a company’s investment portfolio and excessive leveraging. The release asked for comments on or before November 7, 2011 on whether the exclusion should be narrowed or changed in such a way that these potential abuses can be curtailed. The SEC also asked whether there are existing safeguards in the structure and operations of REITs and other mortgage companies that would address these or similar concerns. Although we believe that we have conducted our operations in a manner that would not be of the types of concerns addressed in the SEC’s release, we could be subject to any rules or regulations that the SEC could propose in changing or narrowing the current exclusion that mortgage REITs rely on to maintain an exemption from the Investment Company Act. If the SEC or its staff changes or narrows this exemption, we could be required to sell a substantial amount of our MBS under potentially adverse market conditions. Although, at the present time, it is unknown whether the SEC or its staff will make any changes to this exclusion or the nature of any such changes, it is possible that any such changes could impact our Asset Acquisition Policy, our leverage, our liquidity, the size of our investment portfolio, our ability to use interest rate swap agreements, our ability to borrow, and could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

We presently are not, nor do we intend to be, regulated as an investment company. Fluctuations in our net income and in our book value will likely be greater than those of investment companies. This may affect investors or potential investors as to the appropriateness of our stock as compared to that of an investment company.

While presently our assets are similar to those owned by some investment companies, we are not regulated as an investment company. Regulation as an investment company entails that all investment companies maintain significantly lower levels of financial leverage than we have employed since our organization began operations in 1998. Because of the differences in our leverage from that of investment companies, this results in the fluctuation in net income and in book value by us to likely be greater than that experienced by investment companies. Therefore, investors and potential investors in our company should, on an ongoing basis, carefully determine if this greater level of income fluctuation and book value fluctuation is appropriate for them as compared to whether the less volatile results of investment companies are more appropriate for them.

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The market price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly.

The market price and marketability of shares of our securities may, from time to time, be significantly affected by numerous factors, including many over which we have no control and that may not be directly related to us. These factors including the following:

·

price and volume fluctuations in the stock market from time to time, which are often unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies;

·

significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of securities of REITs or other companies in our sector, which is not necessarily related to the operating performance of these securities;

·

changes in regulatory policies, tax guidelines and financial accounting and reporting standards, particularly with respect to REITs;

·

changes in interest rates;

·

changes in business conditions and the general economy, including the consequences of actions by the U.S. government and other foreign governments to address the various economic conditions including, but not limited to, Brexit, trade imbalances, credit crisis, currency fluctuations, and the impact of other events, such as threats or actions by other nations such as North Korea and Iran, and global terrorism;

·

changes in our dividend policy and earnings or variations in operating results;

·

any shortfall in revenue or net income or any increase in losses from levels expected by securities analysts;

·

general economic trends and other external factors;

·

changes in financial estimates by analysts or publication of research reports about us or the real estate or specialty finance industry; and

·

loss of major repurchase agreement and other credit providers.

Fluctuations in the trading price of our common stock may adversely affect the liquidity of the trading market for our common stock and, in the event that we seek to raise capital through future equity financings, our ability to raise such equity capital.

We may not be able to use the money we raise from time to time to acquire investments at favorable prices.

We intend to seek to raise additional capital from time to time if we determine that it is in our best interests and the best interests of our stockholders, including through public offerings of our stock. The net proceeds of any offering could represent a significant increase in our equity. Depending on the amount of leverage that we use, the full investment of the net proceeds of any offering might result in a substantial increase in our total assets. There can be no assurance that we will be able to invest all of such additional funds in mortgage-related assets at favorable prices. We may not be able to acquire enough mortgage-related assets to become fully invested after an offering, or we may have to pay more for MBS than we have historically. In either case, the return that we earn on stockholders’ equity may be reduced.

We have not established a minimum dividend payment level for our common stockholders and there are no assurances of our ability to pay dividends to them in the future.

We intend to pay quarterly dividends and to make distributions to our common stockholders in amounts such that all or substantially all of our taxable income in each year, subject to certain adjustments, is distributed. This, along with other factors, should enable us to qualify for the tax benefits accorded to a REIT under the Code. We have not

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established a minimum dividend payment level for our common stockholders and our ability to pay dividends may be harmed by the risk factors described in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K. All distributions to our common stockholders will be made at the discretion of our Board and will depend on our earnings, our financial condition, maintenance of our REIT status and such other factors as our Board may deem relevant from time to time. There are no assurances of our ability to pay dividends in the future.

If we raise additional capital, our earnings per share and dividends per share may decline since we may not be able to invest all of the new capital during the quarter in which additional shares are sold and possibly the entire following calendar quarter.

Our charter does not permit ownership of over 9.8% of our common or preferred stock and attempts to acquire our common or preferred stock in excess of the 9.8% limit are void without prior approval from our Board.

For the purpose of preserving our REIT qualification and for other reasons, our charter prohibits direct or constructive ownership by any person of more than 9.8% of the lesser of the total number or value of the outstanding shares of our common stock or more than 9.8% of the outstanding shares of our preferred stock. Our charter’s constructive ownership rules are complex and may cause the outstanding stock owned by a group of related individuals or entities to be deemed to be constructively owned by one individual or entity. As a result, the acquisition of less than 9.8% of the outstanding stock by an individual or entity could cause that individual or entity to own constructively in excess of 9.8% of the outstanding stock and thus be subject to our charter’s ownership limit. Any attempt to own or transfer shares of our common or preferred stock in excess of the ownership limit without the consent of the Board shall be void and will result in the shares being transferred by operation of law to a charitable trust.

Because provisions contained in Maryland law, our charter and our bylaws may have an anti-takeover effect, investors may be prevented from receiving a “control premium” for their shares.

Provisions contained in our charter and bylaws, as well as Maryland corporate law, may have anti-takeover effects that delay, defer or prevent a takeover attempt, which may prevent stockholders from receiving a “control premium” for their shares. For example, these provisions may defer or prevent tender offers for our common stock or purchases of large blocks of our common stock, thereby limiting the opportunities for our stockholders to receive a premium for their common stock over then-prevailing market prices. These provisions include the following:

·

Ownership limit. The ownership limit in our charter limits related investors including, among other things, any voting group, from acquiring over 9.8% of our common stock or more than 9.8% of our preferred stock without our permission.

·

Preferred Stock. Our charter authorizes our Board to issue preferred stock in one or more classes and to establish the preferences and rights of any class of preferred stock issued. These actions can be taken without soliciting stockholder approval.

·

Maryland business combination statute. Maryland law restricts the ability of holders of more than 10% of the voting power of a corporation’s shares to engage in a business combination with the corporation.

·

Maryland control share acquisition statute. Maryland law limits the voting rights of “control shares” of a corporation in the event of a “control share acquisition.”

Future offerings of debt securities, which would be senior to our common stock, Series A Preferred Stock, Series B Preferred Stock and Series C Preferred Stock upon liquidation, or other equity securities, which would dilute our existing stockholders and may be senior to our common stock, Series A Preferred Stock, Series B Preferred Stock and Series C Preferred Stock for the purposes of dividend distributions, may harm the market price of our common stock, Series A Preferred Stock, Series B Preferred Stock and Series C Preferred Stock.

In the future, we may attempt to increase our capital resources by making additional offerings of debt or equity securities, including commercial paper, medium-term notes, senior or subordinated notes and classes of preferred stock

61


 

or common stock. Upon liquidation, holders of our debt securities and shares of preferred stock and lenders with respect to other borrowings will receive a distribution of our available assets prior to the holders of our common stock. Our preferred stock may have a preference on dividend payments that could limit our ability to make a dividend distribution to the holders of our common stock. Because our decision to issue securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. Thus, our common stockholders bear the risk of our future offerings reducing the market price of our common stock.

Our charter provides that we may issue up to 20 million shares of preferred stock in one or more series. The issuance of additional preferred stock on parity with or senior to the Series A Preferred Stock, Series B Preferred Stock or Series C Preferred Stock could have the effect of diluting the amounts we may have available for distribution to holders of the Series A Preferred Stock, Series B Preferred Stock or Series C Preferred Stock. The Series A Preferred Stock, Series B Preferred Stock and Series C Preferred Stock will be subordinated to all our existing and future debt. Thus, our Series A Preferred Stockholders, our Series B Preferred Stockholders and our Series C Preferred Stockholders bear the risk of our future offerings reducing the market price of our Series A Preferred Stock, Series B Preferred Stock or Series C Preferred Stock.

We may issue additional shares of common stock or shares of preferred stock that are convertible into common stock. If we issue a significant number of shares of common stock or convertible preferred stock in a short period of time, there could be a dilution of the existing common stock and a decrease in the market price of the common stock.

Item 1B.  UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

Item 2.     PROPERTIES

In February 2012, we signed a new sublease agreement with PIA that expires on June 30, 2022 for approximately 7,300 square feet of office space at our existing location in Santa Monica, California. We believe this facility is adequate for our intended level of operations.

Item 3.     LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

We are not a party to any material pending legal proceedings.

Item 4.     MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

62


 

PART II

Item 5.    MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Market Information

Our common stock began trading under the symbol ANH on the New York Stock Exchange on May 9, 2003. Our common stock previously traded under the symbol ANH on the American Stock Exchange. Prior to March 17, 1998, there had been no public market for our common stock. The high and low sale prices of our common stock, as reported by the New York Stock Exchange, for the periods indicated are as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

    

High

    

Low

    

High

    

Low

First Quarter

 

$

5.55

 

$

5.13

 

$

4.82

 

$

3.89

Second Quarter

 

$

6.32

 

$

5.49

 

$

4.78

 

$

4.59

Third Quarter

 

$

6.20

 

$

5.92

 

$

5.16

 

$

4.61

Fourth Quarter

 

$

6.08

 

$

5.40

 

$

5.38

 

$

4.72

 

Holders

As of February 23, 2018, there were approximately 738 record holders of our common stock. On February 23, 2018, the last reported sale price of our common stock on the New York Stock Exchange was $4.84 per share.

Dividends

We pay cash dividends on a quarterly basis. The following table lists the cash dividends declared on each share of our common stock for our most recent two fiscal years. The dividends listed below were based primarily on our Board’s evaluation of earnings and consideration of actions necessary to maintain our REIT status for each listed quarter and were declared on the date indicated:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Cash

    

 

 

 

Dividends

 

 

 

 

Per

 

Date

 

 

Common

 

Dividends

 

    

Share

    

Declared

2017

 

 

  

 

  

First quarter ended March 31, 2017

 

$

0.15

 

March 15, 2017

Second quarter ended June 30, 2017

 

$

0.15

 

June 15, 2017

Third quarter ended September 30, 2017

 

$

0.15

 

September 15, 2017

Fourth quarter ended December 31, 2017

 

$

0.15

 

December 15, 2017

2016

 

 

  

 

  

First quarter ended March 31, 2016

 

$

0.15

 

March 17, 2016

Second quarter ended June 30, 2016

 

$

0.15

 

June 16, 2016

Third quarter ended September 30, 2016

 

$

0.15

 

September 15, 2016

Fourth quarter ended December 31, 2016

 

$

0.15

 

December 16, 2016

 

63


 

Issuer Purchase of Equity Securities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

    

 

 

    

 

    

Maximum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Number

 

Number of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

of Shares

 

Shares That

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purchased as

 

May Yet Be

 

 

 

Total Number

 

 

 

 

Part of Publicly

 

Purchased

 

 

 

of Shares

 

Average

 

Announced

 

Under the

 

 

 

Purchased or

 

Price Paid

 

Plans or

 

Plans or

 

Period

    

Issued

    

per Share

    

Programs

    

Programs(1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shares purchased previously under this program:

 

  

 

 

  

 

52,969,000

 

3,011,281

 

Month #1 (October 1-31)

 

 —

 

$

 —

 

52,969,000

 

3,011,281

 

Month #2 (November 1-30)

 

 —

 

$

 —

 

52,969,000

 

3,011,281

 

Month #3 (December 1-31)

 

 —

 

$

 —

 

52,969,000

 

3,011,281

 

Total shares purchased this quarter

 

 —

 

 

  

 

  

 

3,011,281

 

Total shares issued under the 2015 DRP Plan available for repurchase

 

65,353

 

 

  

 

  

 

 —

 

Total shares available for repurchase at December 31, 2017

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

3,076,634

 


(1)

On October 3, 2011, we announced that our Board had authorized a share repurchase program which permitted us to acquire up to 2,000,000 shares of our common stock. The shares are expected to be acquired at prevailing prices through open market transactions. Our Board also authorized the Company to purchase an amount of our common stock up to the amount of common stock sold through our 2015 Dividend Reinvestment and Stock Purchase Plan. Subsequently, our Board authorized the Company to acquire an aggregate of an additional 45,000,000 shares (pursuant to six separate authorizations) between December 13, 2013 and January 22, 2016.

During the year ended December 31, 2017, we did not repurchase any shares of our common stock under our share repurchase program.

64


 

Total Return Comparison

The following graph presents a cumulative total stockholder return comparison of our common stock with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Inc. Mortgage REIT Index:

Picture 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Period Ending

Index

    

12/31/12

    

12/31/13

    

12/31/14

    

12/31/15

    

12/31/16

    

12/31/17

Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation

 

100.00

 

80.27

 

111.63

 

104.47

 

140.24

 

159.49

S&P 500 Index

 

100.00

 

132.39

 

150.51

 

152.59

 

170.84

 

208.14

NAREIT Mortgage REIT Index

 

100.00

 

98.04

 

115.57

 

105.31

 

129.38

 

154.98

 

The cumulative total stockholder return reflects stock price appreciation, if any, and the value of dividends for our common stock and for each of the comparative indices. The graph assumes that $100 was invested on December 31, 2012 in our common stock, that $100 was invested in each of the indices on December 31, 2012 and that all dividends were reinvested into additional shares of common stock at the frequency with which dividends are paid on the common stock during the applicable fiscal year. The total return performance shown in this graph is not necessarily indicative of and is not intended to suggest future total return performance. Measurement points are at the last trading day of the fiscal years represented above.

 

65


 

Item 6.     SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The selected financial data as of December 31, 2017 and 2016 and for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K. The selected financial data as of December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013 and for the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2013 are derived from audited consolidated financial statements not included in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K. You should read these selected financial data together with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto that are included in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K beginning on page F‑1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Years Ended December 31, 

 

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

    

2014

    

2013

 

 

(amounts in thousands, except per share data and days)

Statements of Operations Data

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

Days in period

 

 

365

 

 

366

 

 

365

 

 

365

 

 

365

Interest income net of amortization of premium and discount

 

$

142,748

 

$

140,452

 

$

145,498

 

$

156,567

 

$

174,784

Interest expense

 

 

(82,519)

 

 

(70,420)

 

 

(43,621)

 

 

(79,907)

 

 

(92,970)

Provision for loan losses

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

(203)

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Net interest income

 

$

60,229

 

$

70,032

 

$

101,674

 

$

76,660

 

$

81,814

Expenses

 

 

(13,305)

 

 

(14,219)

 

 

(13,980)

 

 

(17,754)

 

 

(15,728)

Other income (loss)

 

 

7,448

 

 

(33,320)

 

 

(72,990)

 

 

(30,287)

 

 

9,634

Net income

 

$

54,372

 

$

22,493

 

$

14,704

 

$

28,619

 

$

75,720

Dividends on preferred stock

 

 

(8,173)

 

 

(6,583)

 

 

(6,437)

 

 

(5,716)

 

 

(5,736)

Net income available to common stockholders

 

$

46,199

 

$

15,910

 

$

8,267

 

$

22,903

 

$

69,984

Basic earnings per common share

 

$

0.48

 

$

0.17

 

$

0.08

 

$

0.18

 

$

0.49

Diluted earnings per common share

 

$

0.47

 

$

0.17

 

$

0.08

 

$

0.18

 

$

0.49

Average number of shares outstanding

 

 

96,764

 

 

96,408

 

 

103,412

 

 

123,949

 

 

142,455

Average number of diluted shares outstanding

 

 

100,479

 

 

101,068

 

 

107,751

 

 

128,057

 

 

146,400

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of December 31, 

 

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

    

2014

    

2013

 

 

(amounts in thousands, except per share data)

Balance Sheets Data

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

  

Agency MBS

 

$

4,278,797

 

$

3,925,193

 

$

4,892,782

 

$

7,023,063

 

$

8,556,367

Non-Agency MBS

 

$

760,825

 

$

641,246

 

$

682,061

 

$

199,710

 

$

79

Residential mortgage loans held-for-investment

 

$

639,351

 

$

744,462

 

$

969,172

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

Total assets

 

$

5,765,541

 

$

5,395,776

 

$

6,636,340

 

$

7,298,335

 

$

8,619,491

Repurchase agreements

 

$

4,365,695

 

$

3,911,015

 

$

4,915,528

 

$

6,370,740

 

$

7,580,000

Asset-backed securities issued by securitization trusts

 

$

629,984

 

$

728,683

 

$

915,486

 

$

 —

 

$

 —

Junior subordinated notes

 

$

37,380

 

$

37,380

 

$

37,380

 

$

37,380

 

$

37,380

Total liabilities

 

$

5,068,119

 

$

4,740,754

 

$

5,934,189

 

$

6,516,894

 

$

7,717,305

Series B Preferred Stock

 

$

19,455

 

$

23,924

 

$

23,924

 

$

23,924

 

$

23,924

Stockholders’ equity (common, Series A, and Series C Preferred)

 

$

677,967

 

$

631,098

 

$

678,227

 

$

757,517

 

$

878,262

Number of common shares outstanding

 

 

98,137

 

 

95,718

 

 

98,944

 

 

109,234

 

 

138,717

Book value per common share

 

$

5.91

 

$