from one dealer or pricing service to another. Therefore, our results of operations for a given period could be adversely affected if our determinations regarding the fair market value of these investments are materially different than the values that we ultimately realize upon their disposal.
Declines in value of the assets in which we invest will adversely affect our financial position and results of operations, and make it more costly to finance these assets.
We use our investments 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. Our investments in mortgage-related securities are recorded at fair value with changes in fair value reported in other comprehensive income (a component of equity). As a result, a decline in fair values of our mortgage-related securities could reduce both our comprehensive income and stockholders' equity. If market conditions result in a decline in the fair value of our assets, our financial position and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Failure to procure adequate repurchase agreement financing or to renew or replace existing repurchase agreement financing as it matures (to which risk we are specifically exposed due to the short-term nature of the repurchase agreement financing we employ) would adversely affect our results of operations.
We use debt financing as a strategy to increase our return on equity. However, we may not be able to achieve our desired leverage ratio for a number of reasons, including the following:
our lenders do not make repurchase or other financing agreements available to us at acceptable rates;
lenders with whom we enter into repurchase or other financing agreements subsequently exit the market for such financing;
our lenders require that we pledge additional collateral to cover our borrowings, which we may be unable to do; or
we determine that the leverage would expose us to excessive risk.
We cannot assure you that any, or sufficient, financing will be available to us in the future on terms that are acceptable to us. Since 2008, there have been several mergers, acquisitions or bankruptcies of investment banks and commercial banks that have historically acted as financing counterparties. This has resulted in fewer potential counterparties operating in the market. In addition, since 2008 many commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies have announced extensive losses from exposure to the residential mortgage market. These losses reduced financial industry capital, leading to reduced liquidity for some institutions. Institutions from which we seek to obtain financing may have owned or financed mortgage-backed securities that have declined in value and caused them to suffer losses as a result of the recent downturn in the residential mortgage market. If these conditions persist, these institutions may be forced to curtail their lending activities, become insolvent or further tighten their lending standards or increase the amount of equity capital or haircut required to obtain financing, and in such event, could make it more difficult for us to obtain financing on favorable terms or at all. In the event that we cannot obtain sufficient funding on acceptable terms, there may be a negative impact on the value of our common stock and our ability to make distributions, and you may lose part or all of your investment.
Furthermore, because we rely primarily on short-term borrowings, our ability to achieve our investment objectives depends not only on our ability to borrow money in sufficient amounts and on favorable terms, but also on our ability to renew or replace on a continuous basis our maturing short-term borrowings. If we are not able to renew or replace maturing borrowings, we may have to sell some or all of our assets, possibly under adverse market conditions. In addition, if the regulatory capital requirements imposed on our lenders change, they may be required to significantly increase the cost of the financing that they provide to us. Our lenders also may revise their eligibility requirements for the types of assets they are willing to finance or the terms of such financings, based on, among other factors, the regulatory environment and their management of perceived risk, particularly with respect to assignee liability.
Pursuant to the terms of borrowings under master repurchase agreements, we are subject to margin calls that could result in defaults or force us to sell assets under adverse market conditions or through foreclosure.
We enter into master repurchase agreements with a number of financial institutions. We borrow under certain of these master repurchase agreements to finance the assets for our investment portfolio. Pursuant to the terms of borrowings under our master repurchase agreements, a decline in the value of the collateral may result in our lenders initiating margin calls. A margin call means that the lender requires us to pledge additional collateral to re-establish the ratio of the value of the collateral to the amount of the borrowing. The specific collateral value to borrowing ratio that would trigger a margin call is not set in the master repurchase agreements and is not determined until we engage in a repurchase transaction under these agreements. Our fixed-rate collateral generally may be more susceptible to margin calls as increases in interest rates tend to affect more negatively the market value of fixed-rate securities. In addition, some collateral may be more illiquid than other instruments in which we invest, which