Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Basis of Presentation and Significant Accounting Policies

Basis of Presentation and Significant Accounting Policies
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2020
Basis of Presentation and Significant Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Basis of Presentation and Significant Accounting Policies Basis of Presentation and Significant Accounting Policies
Consolidation and Basis of Presentation
The interim unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements of the Company have been prepared in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC. Certain information and note disclosures normally included in financial statements prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or U.S. GAAP, have been condensed or omitted according to such SEC rules and regulations. However, management believes that the disclosures included in these interim condensed consolidated financial statements are adequate to make the information presented not misleading.
The condensed consolidated financial statements of the Company include the accounts of all subsidiaries; inter-company accounts and transactions have been eliminated. All trust entities in which the Company holds investments that are considered variable interest entities, or VIEs, for financial reporting purposes were reviewed for consolidation under the applicable consolidation guidance. Whenever the Company has both the power to direct the activities of a trust that most significantly impact the entities’ performance, and the obligation to absorb losses or the right to receive benefits of the entities that could be significant, the Company consolidates the trust. Certain prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current period presentation. The accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and notes thereto included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019. In the opinion of management, all normal and recurring adjustments necessary to present fairly the financial condition of the Company at September 30, 2020 and results of operations for all periods presented have been made. The results of operations for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020 should not be construed as indicative of the results to be expected for future periods or the full year.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make a number of significant estimates. These include estimates of fair value of certain assets and liabilities, amount and timing of credit losses, prepayment rates, the period of time during which the Company anticipates an increase in the fair values of real estate securities sufficient to recover unrealized losses in those securities, and other estimates that affect the reported amounts of certain assets and liabilities as of the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of certain revenues and expenses during the reported period. It is likely that changes in these estimates (e.g., valuation changes due to supply and demand in the market, credit performance, prepayments, interest rates, or other reasons) will occur in the near term. The Company’s estimates are inherently subjective in nature and actual results could differ from its estimates and the differences may be material.
Significant Accounting Policies
Included in Note 2 to the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Company’s 2019 Annual Report on Form 10-K is a summary of the Company’s significant accounting policies. Provided below is a summary of additional accounting policies that are significant to the Company’s consolidated financial condition and results of operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2020.
Recently Issued and/or Adopted Accounting Standards
Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments
On January 1, 2020, the Company adopted Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments-Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, which changed the impairment model for most financial assets and certain other instruments. Allowances for credit losses on available-for-sale, or AFS, debt securities are recognized, rather than direct reductions in the amortized cost of the investments, regardless of whether the impairment is considered to be other-than-temporary. The new model also requires the estimation of lifetime expected credit losses and corresponding recognition of allowance for losses on trade and other receivables, held-to-maturity debt securities, loans, and other instruments held at amortized cost. The ASU requires certain recurring disclosures.
The Company uses a discounted cash flow method to estimate and recognize an allowance for credit losses on AFS securities. The estimated allowance for credit losses is equal to the difference between the prepayment adjusted contractual cash flows with no credit losses and the prepayment adjusted expected cash flows with credit losses, discounted at the effective interest rate on the AFS security that was in effect upon adoption of the standard. The contractual cash flows and expected cash flows are based on management’s best estimate and take into consideration current prepayment assumptions, lifetime expected losses based on past loss experience, current market conditions, and reasonable and supportable forecasts of future conditions. The allowance for credit losses causes an increase in the AFS security amortized cost and recognizes an allowance for credit losses in the same amount. The allowance for credit losses recognized in connection with adopting the guidance in Topic 326 on January 1, 2020 was equal to the present value of the credit reserve in place on December 31, 2019. As a result, no cumulative effect adjustment to opening cumulative earnings was required.
The adoption of this ASU impacts the Company’s accounting for the purchase of certain beneficial interests with purchased credit deterioration or when there is a “significant” difference between contractual cash flows and expected cash flows. For these securities, the Company records an allowance for credit losses with an increase in amortized cost above the purchase price of the same amount. Subsequent adverse or favorable changes in expected cash flows are recognized immediately in earnings as a provision for or reduction in credit losses, respectively. Adverse changes are reflected as an increase to the allowance for credit losses and favorable changes are reflected as a decrease to the allowance for credit losses. The allowance for credit losses is limited to the difference between the beneficial interest’s fair value and its amortized cost, and any remaining adverse changes in these circumstances are reflected as a prospective adjustment to accretable yield. If the allowance for credit losses has been reduced to zero, the remaining favorable changes are reflected as a prospective adjustment to accretable yield. The Company does not adjust the effective interest rate in subsequent periods for prepayment assumption changes or variable-rate changes. Any changes in the allowance for credit losses due to the time-value-of-money are accounted for in the condensed consolidated statements of comprehensive income (loss) as provision for credit losses rather than a reduction to interest income.
The standard applies to Agency and non-Agency securities that are accounted for as beneficial interests under Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 325-40, Investments-Other: Beneficial Interests in Securitized Financial Assets, and ASC 310-30, Receivables: Loans and Debt Securities Acquired with Deteriorated Credit Quality, or ASC 310-30. Only beneficial interests that were previously accounted for as purchased credit impaired under ASC 310-30 were accounted for as purchased credit deteriorated under Topic 326 on the transition date.
Upon adoption of this ASU, the Company established an allowance for credit losses on AFS securities accounted for as purchased credit-impaired assets under ASC 310-30 in an unrealized loss position and with no other-than-temporary impairments, or OTTI, recognized in periods prior to transition. The effective interest rates on these debt securities remained unchanged. On January 1, 2020, the $30.7 billion net amortized cost basis of AFS securities was inclusive of a $244.9 million allowance for credit loss. 
The Company used a prospective transition approach for debt securities for which OTTI had been recognized prior to January 1, 2020. As a result, the amortized cost basis remained the same before and after the effective date. The effective interest rate on these debt securities also remained unchanged. Amounts previously recognized in accumulated other comprehensive income as of January 1, 2020 relating to improvements in cash flows expected to be collected are accreted into income over the remaining life of the asset. Recoveries of amounts previously written off relating to improvements in cash flows after January 1, 2020 are recorded in earnings when received.
Issuer’s Accounting for Debt and Equity Instruments
In August 2020, the FASB issued ASU No. 2020-06 to simplify an issuer’s accounting for convertible instruments and its application of the derivatives scope exception for contracts in its own equity. Under the new guidance, only conversion features associated with a convertible debt instrument issued at a substantial premium and those that are considered embedded derivatives in accordance with derivatives guidance will be accounted for separate from the convertible instrument. Additionally, for contracts in an entity’s own equity, the new guidance eliminates some of the requirements for equity classification. The guidance also addresses how convertible instruments are accounted for in the diluted earnings per share calculation and requires enhanced disclosures about the terms of convertible instruments and contracts in an entity’s own equity. The ASU is effective for annual periods, and interim periods within those annual periods, beginning on or after December 15, 2021, with early adoption permitted. The Company has determined this ASU will not have an impact on the Company’s financial condition, results of operations or financial statement disclosures.