Collaterized Mortgage Obligations (CMOs)
Sept. 2, 2011
Collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs), a type of mortgage-backed security, are bonds that represent claims to specific cash flows from large pools of home mortgages. The streams of principal and interest payments on the mortgages are distributed to the different classes of CMO interests, known as tranches, according to a complicated deal structure. Each tranche may have different principal balances, coupon rates, prepayment risks, and maturity dates (ranging from a few months to twenty years).
CMOs are often highly sensitive to changes in interest rates and any resulting change in the rate at which homeowners sell their properties, refinance, or otherwise pre-pay their loans. Investors in these securities may not only be subjected to this prepayment risk, but also exposed to significant market and liquidity risks.
You can learn more about CMOs by visiting the website of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.