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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 year ended December 31, 2019
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission file number 001-34057
https://cdn.kscope.io/8c055245ca09b8f295a478a3d0f231b9-agnclogowhitespacinginv1a01.jpg
AGNC INVESTMENT CORP.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
__________________________________________________
Delaware
 
26-1701984
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
2 Bethesda Metro Center, 12th Floor
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
(Address of principal executive offices)
(301) 968-9315
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
 __________________________________________________
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes ý No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.    Yes   ¨   No   ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  x    No  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).   Yes  x    No  ☐
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 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 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 Exchange Act).    Yes      No  x
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
 
Trading Symbol(s)
 
Name of Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share
 
AGNC
 
The Nasdaq Global Select Market
Depositary shares of 7.000% Series C Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock
 
AGNCN
 
The Nasdaq Global Select Market
Depositary shares of 6.875% Series D Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock
 
AGNCM
 
The Nasdaq Global Select Market
Depositary shares of 6.50% Series E Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock
 
AGNCO
 
The Nasdaq Global Select Market
Depositary shares of 6.125% Series F Fixed-to-Floating Rate Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock
 
AGNCP
 
The Nasdaq Global Select Market
Securities registered persuant to section 12(g) of the Act: None
As of June 30, 2019, the aggregate market value of the Registrant's common stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant was approximately $7.4 billion based upon the closing price of the Registrant's common stock of $16.82 per share as reported on The Nasdaq Global Select Market on that date. (For this computation, the Registrant has excluded the market value of all shares of its common stock reported as beneficially owned by executive officers and directors of the Registrant and certain other stockholders; such an exclusion shall not be deemed to constitute an admission that any such person is an "affiliate" of the Registrant.)
The number of shares of the issuer's common stock, $0.01 par value, outstanding as of January 31, 2020 was 540,943,011.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE. The Registrant's definitive proxy statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders is incorporated by reference into certain sections of Part III herein.  
Certain exhibits previously filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission are incorporated by reference into Part IV of this report.
 




AGNC INVESTMENT CORP.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


1



PART I.
Item 1. Business
AGNC Investment Corp. ("AGNC," the "Company," "we," "us" and "our") was organized on January 7, 2008 and commenced operations on May 20, 2008 following the completion of our initial public offering. Our common stock is traded on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "AGNC."  
We are internally managed, and our principal objective is to provide our stockholders with attractive risk-adjusted returns through a combination of monthly dividends and tangible net book value accretion. We generate income from the interest earned on our investments, net of associated borrowing and hedging costs, and net realized gains and losses on our investment and hedging activities. We fund our investments primarily through borrowings structured as repurchase agreements.
We operate to qualify to be taxed as a real estate investment trust ("REIT") under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Internal Revenue Code"). As a REIT, we are required to distribute annually 90% of our taxable income. As a REIT, we will generally not be subject to U.S. federal or state corporate taxes on our taxable income to the extent that we distribute all our annual taxable income to our stockholders on a timely basis. It is our intention to distribute 100% of our taxable income within the time limits prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code, which may extend into the subsequent taxable year.
We invest primarily in Agency residential mortgage-backed securities ("Agency RMBS") on a leveraged basis. These investments consist of residential mortgage pass-through securities and collateralized mortgage obligations for which the principal and interest payments are guaranteed by a U.S. Government-sponsored enterprise, such as the Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae") and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("Freddie Mac," and together with Fannie Mae, the "GSEs"), or by a U.S. Government agency, such as the Government National Mortgage Association ("Ginnie Mae"). We may also invest in other types of mortgage and mortgage-related residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities where repayment of principal and interest is not guaranteed by a GSE or U.S. Government agency or in other investments in, or related to, the housing, mortgage or real estate markets.
Investment Strategy
Our investment strategy is intended to:
generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for our stockholders through monthly dividend distributions and tangible net book value accretion;
manage an investment portfolio consisting primarily of Agency securities;
invest a subset of the portfolio in credit risk-oriented mortgage assets;
capitalize on discrepancies in the relative valuations in the Agency and non-Agency securities market;
manage financing, interest rate, prepayment, extension and credit risks;
continue to qualify as a REIT; and
remain exempt from the requirements of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the "Investment Company Act").
 Targeted Investments
Agency Securities
Agency Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities. Our primary investments consist of Agency pass-through certificates representing interests in "pools" of mortgage loans secured by residential real property. Monthly payments of principal and interest made by the individual borrowers on the mortgage loans underlying the pools are in effect "passed through" to the security holders, after deducting GSE or U.S. Government agency guarantee and servicer fees. In general, mortgage pass-through certificates distribute cash flows from the underlying collateral on a pro rata basis among the security holders. Security holders also receive guarantor advances of principal and interest for delinquent loans in the mortgage pools. We also invest in Agency collateralized mortgage obligations ("CMOs"), which are structured instruments representing interests in Agency residential pass-through certificates, and interest-only, inverse interest-only and principal-only securities, which represent the right to receive a specified proportion of the contractual interest or principal flows of specific Agency CMO securities.
To-Be-Announced Forward Contracts ("TBAs"). TBAs are forward contracts to purchase or sell Agency RMBS. TBA contracts specify the coupon rate, issuer, term and face value of the bonds to be delivered, with the actual bonds to be delivered only identified shortly before the TBA settlement date.

2



Non-Agency Securities
Credit Risk Transfer ("CRT") Securities. CRT securities are risk sharing instruments that transfer a portion of the risk associated with credit losses within pools of conventional residential mortgage loans from the GSEs and/or third- parties to private investors. Unlike Agency RMBS, full repayment of the original principal balance of CRT securities is not guaranteed by a GSE or other third-party; rather, "credit risk transfer" is achieved by writing down the outstanding principal balance of the CRT security if credit losses on the related pool of loans exceed certain thresholds. The reduced amount that issuers are obligated to repay to the security holders offsets the issuer's credit losses on the related pool of loans.
Non-Agency Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities ("Non-Agency RMBS"). Non-Agency RMBS are securities backed by pools of residential mortgages, for which payment of principal and interest is not guaranteed by a GSE or U.S. Government agency. Instead, a private institution such as a commercial bank will package residential mortgage loans and securitize them through the issuance of RMBS. Non-Agency RMBS may benefit from credit enhancement derived from structural elements, such as subordination, overcollateralization or insurance. We may purchase investment grade instruments that benefit from credit enhancement and non-investment grade instruments that are structured to absorb more credit risk. We focus primarily on non-Agency securities where the underlying mortgages are secured by residential properties within the United States. Residential non-Agency securities are backed by residential mortgages that can be comprised of prime mortgage or nonprime mortgage loans. We may also purchase Agency and non-Agency multifamily securities where the collateral backing the securitization consists of loans for multi-unit housing properties.
Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities ("CMBS"). CMBS are securities backed by pools of commercial mortgage loans. CMBS can be structured as pass-through securities, where the cash flows generated by the collateral pool are passed on a pro rata basis to investors after netting servicer or other fees, or where cash flows are distributed to numerous classes of securities following a predetermined waterfall, which may give priority to selected classes while subordinating other classes. We may invest across the capital structure of these securities, and we intend to focus on CMBS where the underlying collateral is secured by commercial properties located within the United States.
 Active Portfolio Management Strategy
We employ an active management strategy designed to achieve our principal objectives of generating attractive risk-adjusted returns and managing our tangible net book value within reasonable bands.  As part of our investment strategy, we use leverage on our investment portfolio to increase potential returns to our stockholders. We invest in securities based on our assessment of the relative risk-return profile of the securities and our ability to effectively hedge a portion of the securities' exposure to market risks. The composition of our portfolio and strategies that we use will vary based on our view of prevailing market conditions and the availability of suitable investment, hedging and funding opportunities. We may experience investment gains or losses when we sell securities that we believe no longer provide attractive risk-adjusted returns or when we believe more attractive alternatives exist elsewhere in the mortgage or mortgage-related securities market. We may also experience gains or losses from our hedging strategies and losses on our non-Agency securities due to credit impairments.
 Financing Strategy
The primary source of financing for our investments is repurchase agreement transactions. A repurchase (or "repo") agreement transaction acts as a financing arrangement under which we effectively pledge our investment securities as collateral to secure a loan. Our borrowings through repurchase transactions are generally short-term and have maturities ranging from one day to one year but may have maturities up to five or more years. Our financing rates are typically impacted by the U.S. federal funds rate and other short-term benchmark rates and liquidity in the Agency repo and other short-term funding markets.
Our leverage depends on market conditions, our assessment of risk and returns and our ability to borrow sufficient funds to acquire mortgage securities. We generally expect our leverage to be within six to twelve times the amount of our tangible stockholders' equity. However, under certain market conditions, we may operate at leverage levels outside of this range for extended periods of time.
We diversify our funding exposure by entering into repurchase agreements with multiple counterparties. We had master repurchase agreements with 46 financial institutions as of December 31, 2019. The terms of our master repurchase agreements generally conform to the terms in the standard master repurchase agreement as published by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association ("SIFMA") as to repayment, margin requirements and the segregation of all securities sold under the repurchase transaction. In addition, each lender may require that we include supplemental terms and conditions to the standard master repurchase agreement to address such matters as additional margin maintenance requirements, cross default and other provisions. The specific provisions may differ for each lender and certain terms may not be determined until we engage in individual repurchase transactions.

3



We finance a portion of our investments through our wholly-owned captive broker-dealer subsidiary, Bethesda Securities, LLC ("BES"). BES is a member of the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation ("FICC") and has direct access to bilateral and triparty repo funding as a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") member broker-dealer. As an eligible institution, BES also raises repo funding through the General Collateral Finance ("GCF") Repo service offered by the FICC, with the FICC acting as the central counterparty, which provides us greater depth and diversity of repurchase agreement funding while also lowering our funding cost, reducing our collateral requirements and limiting our counterparty exposure.
We also effectively finance the acquisition of Agency RMBS by entering into TBA dollar roll transactions through which we sell a TBA contract for current month settlement and simultaneously purchase a similar TBA contract for a forward settlement date. Prior to the forward settlement date, we may choose to roll the position to a later date by entering into an offsetting TBA position, net settling the paired off positions for cash, and simultaneously entering into a similar TBA contract for a forward settlement date. The TBA contract purchased for the forward settlement date is priced at a discount to the TBA contract sold for settlement/pair off in the current month. The difference (or discount) is referred to as the "price drop" and is the economic equivalent of net interest carry income (interest income less implied financing cost) on the underlying Agency RMBS over the roll period, which is commonly referred to as "dollar roll income." We recognize TBA contracts as derivative instruments on our consolidated financial statements at their net carrying value, which is their fair value less the purchase price to be paid or received under the TBA contract. Consequently, dollar roll transactions represent a form of off-balance sheet financing. In evaluating our overall leverage, we consider both our on-balance sheet and off-balance sheet financing.
Risk Management Strategy
We are exposed to a variety of market risks, including interest rate, prepayment, extension and credit risks. Our investment strategies are based on our assessment of these risks, our ability to hedge a portion of these risks and our intention to qualify as a REIT. Our hedging strategies are generally not designed to protect our net book value from "spread risk," which as a levered investor in mortgage-backed securities is the inherent risk we take that the spread between the market yield on our investments and the benchmark interest rates linked to our interest rate hedges fluctuates. In addition, although we attempt to protect our net book value against moves in interest rates, we may not fully hedge against interest rate, prepayment and extension risks if we believe that bearing such risks enhances our return profile, or if the hedging transaction would negatively impact our REIT status.
Interest Rate Risk. We hedge a portion of our interest rate risk with respect to both the fixed income nature of our long-term assets and the short-term, variable rate nature of our financing. A majority of our funding is in the form of repurchase agreements, and, as a result, our financing costs fluctuate based on short-term interest rate indices, such as the U.S. federal funds rate and LIBOR. Our investments are assets that primarily have fixed rates of interest with maturities up to 30 years, and the interest we earn on those assets generally does not move in tandem with the interest that we pay on our repurchase agreements. As such, we may experience reduced income or losses due to adverse interest rate movements. To mitigate a portion of such risk, we utilize hedging techniques to attempt to lock in a portion of the net interest spread between the interest we earn on our assets and the interest we pay on our borrowings.
Fluctuations in the shape of the yield curve or changes in the market's expectation about future interest rate volatility can also adversely affect the value of our assets. Furthermore, because prepayments on residential mortgages generally accelerate when interest rates decrease and slow when interest rates rise, mortgage securities may increase in value more slowly than similar duration bonds, or even fall in value, as interest rates decline. Mortgage securities could also decrease in value more quickly than similar duration bonds as interest rates rise. This is referred to as "negative convexity." We attempt to manage this risk through asset selection and the use of a variety of hedging techniques. We monitor the "duration gap" of our portfolio, or differences in the interest rate sensitivity of our assets relative to our liabilities, inclusive of interest rate hedges, and how our convexity and duration gap could change if interest rates and prepayment expectations were to increase or decrease under a variety of scenarios.
Prepayment Risk. Because residential borrowers have the option to prepay their mortgage loans at par at any time, we face the risk that we will experience a return of principal on our investments faster than anticipated. Prepayment risk generally increases when interest rates decline, and our financial results could be adversely affected as we may have to reinvest principal repayments at lower yields.
Extension Risk. Because residential borrowers have the option to make only scheduled payments on their mortgage loans, we face the risk that a return of capital on our investment will occur slower than anticipated. Extension risk generally increases when interest rates rise, and our financial results could be adversely affected as we may have to finance our investments at potentially higher costs without the ability to simultaneously reinvest principal repayments into higher yielding securities due to a lack of or slower than anticipated borrower prepayments.
Spread Risk. Because the market spread between the yield on our investments and the yield on benchmark interest rates, such as U.S. Treasury rates and interest rate swap rates, may vary, we are exposed to spread risk. When spreads widen,

4



we will typically experience a loss in our tangible net book value, conversely, when spreads tighten, we will typically experience a gain in our tangible net book value. Spread movements can occur independent of interest rates and may relate to other factors impacting the mortgage and fixed income markets, such as actual or anticipated monetary policy actions by the U.S. Federal Reserve (the "Fed"), liquidity, or changes in required rates of return on different assets. Spread risk is an inherent risk we take as a levered investor in mortgage-backed securities and, as such, our strategies are generally not designed to protect our tangible net book value from adverse spread movements.
Credit Risk. We accept mortgage credit exposure related to our CRT and other non-Agency securities at levels we deem to be appropriate within the context of our overall investment strategy. We attempt to manage this risk through prudent asset selection, pre-acquisition due diligence, post-acquisition performance monitoring, and sale of assets where we identify negative credit trends. We may also manage credit risk with credit default swaps or other financial derivatives that we believe are appropriate. Additionally, we may attempt to adjust our credit exposure and/or to improve the return profile of our investment portfolio by varying the mix of our Agency and non-Agency mortgage investments and adjusting our duration gap when we believe credit performance is inversely correlated with changes in interest rates.
The risk management actions we take may lower our earnings and dividends in the short-term to further our objective of preserving our net book value and maintaining attractive levels of earnings and dividends over the long term. In addition, some of our hedges are intended to provide protection against larger rate moves and as a result may be relatively ineffective for smaller interest rate changes. Our projections of exposures to interest rate, prepayment, extension and other risks are also based on models that are dependent on a number of assumptions and inputs, and actual results could differ materially from our projections.
Employees
As of December 31, 2019, we had 51 full-time employees.
Exemption from Regulation under the Investment Company Act
We conduct our business so as not to become regulated as an investment company under the Investment Company Act, in reliance on the exemption provided by Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the Act. So long as we qualify for this exemption, we will not be subject to leverage and other restrictions imposed on regulated investment companies, which would significantly reduce our ability to use leverage. Section 3(c)(5)(C), as interpreted by the staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), requires us to invest at least 55% of our assets in "mortgages and other liens on and interest in real estate" or "qualifying real estate interests" ("55% asset test") and at least 80% of our assets in qualifying real estate interests and "real estate-related assets." In satisfying this 55% requirement, based on pronouncements of the SEC staff and in certain instances our own judgment, we treat Agency RMBS issued with respect to an underlying pool of mortgage loans in which we hold all the certificates issued by the pool ("whole pool" securities) as qualifying real estate interests. We typically treat "partial pool" and other mortgage securities where we hold less than all the certificates issued by the pool as real estate-related assets.
Real Estate Investment Trust Requirements
We have elected to be taxed as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code. As a REIT, we generally will not be subject to U.S. federal or state corporate income tax on our taxable income to the extent that we distribute annually all our taxable income to stockholders within the time limits prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code. Qualification and taxation as a REIT depend on our ability to continually meet requirements imposed upon REITs by the Internal Revenue Code, including satisfying certain organizational requirements, an annual distribution requirement and quarterly asset and annual income tests. The REIT asset and income tests are significant to our operations as they restrict the extent to which we can invest in certain types of securities and conduct certain hedging activities within the REIT. Consequently, we may be required to limit these activities or conduct them through a taxable REIT subsidiary ("TRS"). We believe that we have been organized and operate in such a manner as to qualify for taxation as a REIT.
Income Tests
To continue to qualify as a REIT, we must satisfy two gross income requirements on an annual basis.
1.
At least 75% of our gross income for each taxable year generally must be derived from investments in real property or mortgages on real property.
2.
At least 95% of our gross income in each taxable year generally must be derived from some combination of income that qualifies under the 75% gross income test described above, as well as other dividends, interest, and gains from the sale or disposition of stock or securities, which need not have any relation to real property.

5



Interest income from obligations secured by mortgages on real property (such as Agency and non-Agency MBS) generally constitutes qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test described above. There is no direct authority with respect to the qualification of income or gains from TBAs for the 75% gross income test; however, we treat these as qualifying income for this purpose based on an opinion of legal counsel. The treatment of interest income from other real estate securities depends on their specific tax structure. Income and gains from instruments that we use to hedge the interest rate risk associated with our borrowings incurred, or to be incurred, to acquire real estate assets will generally be excluded from both gross income tests, provided that specified requirements are met.
Asset Tests
At the close of each calendar quarter, we must satisfy five tests relating to the nature of our assets.
1.
At least 75% of the value of our total assets must be represented by some combination of "real estate assets," cash, cash items, U.S. Government securities, and, under some circumstances, temporary investments in stock or debt instruments purchased with new capital. For this purpose, mortgage-backed securities and mortgage loans are generally treated as "real estate assets." Assets that do not qualify for purposes of the 75% asset test are subject to the additional asset tests described below.
2.
The value of any one issuer's securities that we own may not exceed 5% of the value of our total assets.
3.
We may not own more than 10% of any one issuer's outstanding securities, as measured by either voting power or value. The 5% and 10% asset tests do not apply to securities of TRSs and qualified REIT subsidiaries and the 10% asset test does not apply to "straight debt" having specified characteristics and to certain other securities.
4.
The aggregate value of all securities of all TRSs that we hold may not exceed 20% of the value of our total assets.
5.
No more than 25% of the total value of our assets may be represented by certain non-mortgage debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs (even though such debt instruments qualify under the 75% asset test).
A failure to satisfy the income or asset tests would not immediately cause us to lose our REIT qualification; rather, we could retain our REIT qualification if we were able to satisfy certain relief provisions and pay any applicable penalty taxes and other fines, or, in the case of a failure to satisfy the asset test, eliminate the discrepancy within a 30-day cure period. Please also refer to the "Risks Related to Our Taxation as a REIT" in "Item 1A. Risk Factors" of this Form 10-K for further discussion of REIT qualification requirements and related items.
Corporate Information
Our executive offices are located at Two Bethesda Metro Center, 12th Floor, Bethesda, MD 20814 and our telephone number is (301) 968-9315.
We make available our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to such reports as well as our Code of Ethics and Conduct on our internet website at www.AGNC.com as soon as reasonably practical after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. These reports are also available on the SEC internet website at www.sec.gov.
Competition
Our success depends, in large part, on our ability to acquire assets at favorable spreads over our borrowing costs. In acquiring mortgage assets, we compete with mortgage REITs, mortgage finance and specialty finance companies, savings and loan associations, banks, mortgage bankers, insurance companies, mutual funds, institutional investors, investment banking firms, other lenders, governmental bodies and other entities. These entities and others that may be organized in the future may have similar asset acquisition objectives and increase competition for the available supply of mortgage assets suitable for purchase. Additionally, our investment strategy is dependent on the amount of financing available to us through repurchase agreements and would be adversely impacted if we are not able to secure financing on favorable terms, if at all.

Item 1A. Risk Factors
 You should carefully consider the risks described below and all other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including our annual consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto before deciding to purchase our securities. If any of the following risks were to occur, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected. If that happens, the trading price of our securities could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment. The

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risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones facing us. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us, or not presently deemed material by us, may also impair our operations and performance.
Risks Related to Our Investing, Portfolio Management and Financing Activities
We may change our targeted investments, investment guidelines and other operational policies without stockholder consent.
We may change our targeted investments and investment guidelines at any time without the consent of our stockholders, which could result in our making investments that are different from, and possibly riskier than, the investments described herein. Our Board of Directors also determines our other operational policies, including our policies with respect to our REIT qualification, acquisitions, dispositions, operations, indebtedness and distributions. Our Board of Directors may amend or revise such policies or authorize transactions that deviate from them, without a vote of, or notice to, our stockholders. A change in our targeted investments, investment guidelines or other operational policies may increase our exposure to interest rate, spread, credit, prepayment, extension, liquidity and other risks, all of which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition and, in turn, our ability to make distributions to our common and preferred stockholders.
Our active portfolio management strategy may expose us to greater losses and lower returns than compared to passive strategies.
We employ an active management strategy to achieve our principal objective of preserving our net book value while generating attractive risk-adjusted returns. The composition of our investment portfolio will vary as we believe changes to market conditions, risks and valuations warrant. Consequently, we may experience significant investment gains or losses when we sell investments that we no longer believe provide attractive risk-adjusted returns or when we believe more attractive alternatives are available. We may be incorrect in our assessment and select an investment portfolio that could generate lower returns than a more static management strategy. Also, investors may be less able to assess the changes in our valuation and performance by observing changes in the mortgage market since we may have changed our strategy and portfolio from the last publicly available data. Our leverage and hedging levels may also fluctuate as we pursue our active management strategy.
Our hedging strategies are not designed to mitigate spread risk.
When the spread between the market yield on our mortgage assets and benchmark interest rates widens, our net book value could decline. We refer to this as "spread risk" or "basis risk." As a levered investor in mortgage-backed securities, spread risk is an inherent component of our investment strategy. Consequently, although we use hedging instruments to attempt to protect against moves in interest rates, our hedges will typically not to protect us against spread risk. Spreads may widen due to a variety of factors and can occur independent of moves in interest rates and may relate to other factors impacting the mortgage and fixed income markets, such as actual or anticipated monetary policy actions by U.S. and foreign central banks, liquidity, or changes in required rates of return on different assets. Consequently, while we use interest rate swaps and other hedges to attempt to protect against moves in interest rates, such instruments typically will not protect our net book value against spread risk. If adverse spread movements result in the value of our mortgage assets to decline by more than the offsetting increase in value of our interest rate hedges or if, of similar effect, the value of our assets to increase by less than the offsetting decline in value of our interest rate hedges, our net book value will decline and our financial condition will be adversely impacted.
Purchases and sales of Agency mortgage-backed securities by the Fed could adversely affect the price and return associated with Agency securities.
The Fed is one of the largest holders of Agency RMBS. In October 2017, the Fed began to taper its reinvestments of principal payments from its Agency RMBS, U.S. Treasury and Agency debt portfolios acquired as a function of its quantitative easing programs. The Fed could vary the pace of its tapering activity, stop altogether or conduct outright purchases or sales of its securities portfolio, which could impact the price and availability of Agency RMBS and the spread between our mortgage investments and interest rate hedges. During periods in which the Fed increases the pace of its tapering, or undertakes outright sales of its securities portfolio, the price of Agency RMBS and U.S. Treasury securities could decline, mortgage spreads could widen, our investments could prepay at a slower rate than anticipated and market volatility could be considerably higher than would have been the case absent such actions. Similarly, if the Fed reduces the pace of tapering, stops altogether or purchases securities, interest rates could decline, and our investments could prepay at a faster rate than anticipated. Consequently, the Fed's actions with respect to its securities portfolio could adversely affect the return on our investments.
Our strategy involves significant leverage, which increases the risk that we may incur substantial losses.
Our leverage will vary with market conditions and our assessment of the risks and returns on our investments. We generally expect to maintain our leverage between six to twelve times the amount of our tangible stockholders' equity, but we may operate at levels outside of this range for an extended period. We incur leverage by borrowing against a substantial portion of the market value of our assets. While leverage is fundamental to our investment strategy, it also creates significant risks. Consequently, we

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could incur substantial losses if the value of our investments declines or if mortgage spreads widen and our investments underperform our interest rate hedges.
We may be unable to procure adequate financing or to renew or replace existing financing as it matures.
We use debt financing as a strategy to increase our return on equity, and because we rely primarily on short-term borrowings to finance our mortgage investments, our ability to achieve our investment objectives depends not only on our ability to borrow sufficient amounts and on favorable terms, but also on our ability to renew or replace our maturing short-term borrowings on a continuous basis. However, we may be unable to borrow sufficient funds to achieve our desired leverage ratio for several reasons, including the following:
liquidity shortfalls in the repo market and other short-term funding markets;
lenders do not make repurchase agreements or other financing arrangements available to us at acceptable rates and terms;
lenders exit the market;
lenders require additional collateral to cover our borrowings, which we may be unable to deliver;
our funding levels and/or leverage ratio exceeds limits established by lenders, which could change at our lenders' discretion; or
we default on our obligations, including failure to satisfy covenants or other requirements imposed by our lenders.
Disruptions in the repo market due to liquidity short-falls or other events can adversely impact the availability and cost of repo funding. During such periods, it is possible that the Fed and other policymakers could fail to undertake measures to stabilize the repo market, or, if they attempt to stabilize the repo market, it is possible such measures could be ineffective. Additionally, if/when they alter or cease to undertake such measures, it could cause a significant disruption in the repo market, negatively impacting the availability and cost of our repo funding. In addition, current or new regulatory capital requirements imposed on our lenders may negatively impact their ability or willingness to lend to us. Our lenders may also revise their eligibility requirements for the types of assets they are willing to finance or the terms of such financings based on factors such as the regulatory environment and their management of perceived risk.
If we default on one of our obligations under a repurchase transaction, the counterparty could terminate the transaction and cease entering into other repurchase transactions with us. Additionally, our wholly-owned captive broker-dealer subsidiary's ability to access bilateral and triparty repo funding, such as through the FICC's GCF Repo service, requires that it continually meet regulatory and membership requirements established by FINRA and the FICC, which could change over time, potentially resulting in BES to lose access to these funding sources, which represents a significant portion of our total borrowing capacity.
Because of these and other factors, there is no assurance that we will be able to secure financing on terms that are acceptable to us. If we cannot obtain sufficient funding on acceptable terms, we may have to sell assets, possibly under adverse market conditions, and our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders could be limited.
Our borrowing costs may increase at a faster pace than the yield on our investments.
Since we rely primarily on short-term and/or variable rate borrowings to acquire fixed-rate securities with long-term maturities, our borrowing costs are particularly sensitive to increases in short-term interest rates, as well as overall funding availability, market liquidity, fluctuations in asset values and "haircut" levels applied to assets pledged under repurchase agreements and other factors.
The relationship between short and longer-term interest rates is often referred to as the "yield curve." Ordinarily, short-term interest rates are lower than longer-term interest rates, but a flattening of the yield curve can occur if short-term interest rates rise disproportionately relative to longer-term interest rates or if longer-term rates fall disproportionately relative to short-term rates. It is also possible that the yield curve could invert, with short-term rates exceeding longer-term rates. If either of these conditions occur, our borrowing costs could increase more rapidly than the interest income earned on our fixed-rate assets and our net interest margin would decline, or in extreme scenarios even turn negative, adversely impacting our results of operations and financial condition.
A decline in the fair value of our assets may adversely affect our financial condition and make it costlier to finance our assets.
We record our investments at fair value with changes in fair value reported in net income or other comprehensive income (a component of equity). A decline in the fair value of our investments could reduce both our net income and stockholders' equity. We also use our investments as collateral for our financings and certain hedge transactions; consequently, a decline in fair value, or perceived market uncertainty about the value of our assets, could make it difficult for us to obtain financing on favorable terms

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or at all, or for us to maintain our compliance with terms of any agreements already in place. Since we primarily invest in long-term fixed rate securities, our investment portfolio is particularly sensitive to changes in longer-term interest rates. If interest rates or other market conditions result in a decline in the fair value of our assets, we would be subject to margin calls on our existing agreements and it would decrease the amount we may borrow to purchase additional investments. If this occurs, we could be required to sell assets at adverse prices and our ability to maintain or increase our net income would be significantly restricted.
It may be uneconomical to roll our TBA dollar roll transactions or we may be unable to meet margin calls on our TBA contracts.
We utilize TBA dollar roll transactions as a means of investing in and financing Agency RMBS, which represents a form of off-balance sheet financing and increases our "at risk" leverage. Sales or declines in purchases of Agency RMBS by the Fed and other market participants could adversely impact the market for TBA dollar roll transactions. TBAs subject us to margin calls under the provisions established by the Mortgage-Backed Securities Division ("MBSD") of the FICC, and our prime brokerage agreements may require that we post additional margin above the levels established by the MBSD. Under certain market conditions it may be uneconomical to roll our TBA positions prior to the settlement date and we could have to take physical delivery of the underlying securities and settle our obligations for cash. We may not have sufficient funds or alternative financing sources available to settle such obligations. Additionally, if we take delivery of the underlying securities, we can expect to receive the "cheapest to deliver" securities, which have the least favorable prepayment attributes that can be delivered to satisfy the TBA contract, such as the anticipated collateral's weighted average coupon, weighted average maturity and projected CPR. The specific securities we do receive may also consist of an insufficient number of "whole pool" securities for us to maintain a sufficient percentage of our assets in qualifying "mortgage and other liens in real estate" required to remain exempt from registration as an investment company under the Investment Company Act. Consequently, failure to procure adequate financing to settle our obligations or to meet margin calls under our TBA contracts could result in defaults or a forced sale of assets in unfavorable market conditions and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our funding and derivative agreements subject us 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 and derivative agreements with a variety of counterparty financial institutions. These institutions require that we maintain a certain amount of collateral with them to protect them from loss in the event we default on our obligations under the agreements.
Borrowings under our master repurchase agreements are secured by the assets financed under the agreements. Pursuant to the terms of our master repurchase agreements, a decline in the value of the collateral may result in our lenders initiating margin calls, where the lender requires us to pledge additional collateral. 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 less liquid than other instruments, which could cause it to be more susceptible to margin calls in a volatile market environment. Moreover, collateral that prepays more quickly increases the frequency and magnitude of potential margin calls as there is a time lag between when the prepayment is reported (which reduces the market value of the security) and when the principal payment is received. If we are unable to satisfy margin calls, our lenders may foreclose on our collateral. The threat of or occurrence of a margin call could force us to sell, either directly or through a foreclosure, our collateral under adverse market conditions, which could result in substantial losses.
Collateral requirements under our derivative agreements are also impacted by changes in the value of the derivative instrument, the counterparties' perceived level of risk and other factors. Our counterparties, or the central clearing agency, typically have the sole discretion to determine the value of the derivative instruments and the value of the collateral securing such instruments. In the event of a margin call, we must generally provide additional collateral on the same business day. Furthermore, our derivative agreements may also contain cross default provisions under which a default under certain of our other indebtedness above a certain threshold amount would cause an event of default under the derivative agreement. Following an event of default, we could be required to settle our obligations under the agreements at their termination values. The threat of or occurrence of margin calls or the forced settlement of our obligations under our derivative agreements at their termination values could force us to sell our investments under adverse market conditions, which could result in substantial losses.
Our funding and derivative agreements expose us to risk that our counterparties will not perform their obligations to us as and when due.
When we engage in a repurchase transaction, we initially transfer securities to the counterparty financial institution under one of our master repurchase agreements in exchange for cash, and our counterparty is obligated to resell such assets to us at the end of the term of the transaction. The cash we receive when we initially sell the collateral is less than the value of that collateral and this difference is referred to as the "haircut." As a result, we borrow a smaller amount than the collateral we initially sell in

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these transactions and increases in "haircuts" may require us to post additional collateral. If a counterparty defaults on an obligation to resell collateral to us, we could incur a loss on the transaction equal to the amount of the haircut (assuming there was no change in the value of the securities).
Our derivative agreements may also require that we pledge collateral to our derivative counterparties. Based on changes in the value of our derivative agreements, we may also be entitled to receive collateral from our derivative counterparties. Should our derivative counterparties fail to satisfy their obligations to us, such as return our collateral at the conclusion of the derivative transaction, fail to pledge collateral to us or fail to make other payments we are entitled to under the terms of our agreements as and when due, we could incur a loss on equal to the value of our collateral and/or other amounts due to us.
To limit our counterparty exposure, we diversify our funding across multiple counterparties and by counterparty region. We also attempt to minimize counterparty risk by limiting our counterparties to registered central clearing exchanges and major financial institutions with acceptable credit ratings and by monitoring positions with individual counterparties. However, there is no assurance that we will not suffer a loss due to a counterparty default, and, although we believe the risk is minimal due to initial and daily mark-to-mark requirements, guarantee funds, and other resources that are available in the event of default, we could be exposed to a risk of loss if an exchange or a central clearing member of the exchange defaults on its obligations. Further, the enforceability of our derivative and repurchase agreements may also depend on compliance with applicable statutory, commodity and other regulatory requirements and, depending on the domicile of the counterparty, applicable international requirements. Consequently, we cannot assure you that we will not suffer a loss due to a counterparty's failure to fulfill its obligations under our agreements in a timely manner or at all.
Our rights under repurchase agreements are subject to the effects of bankruptcy laws in the event of our or our lender's bankruptcy or insolvency.
In the event of our insolvency or bankruptcy, certain repurchase agreements may qualify for special treatment under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the effect of which, among other things, would be to allow the lender under the applicable repurchase agreement to avoid the automatic stay provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and to foreclose on the collateral without delay. In the event of the insolvency or bankruptcy of a lender during the term of a repurchase agreement, the lender may be permitted, under applicable insolvency laws, to repudiate the contract, and our claim against the lender for damages may be treated simply as an unsecured creditor. In addition, if the lender is a broker or dealer subject to the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970, or an insured depository institution subject to the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, our ability to recover our assets under a repurchase agreement or to be compensated for any damages resulting from the lender's insolvency may be further limited by those statutes. Recoveries on these claims could be subject to significant delay and, if received, could be substantially less than the damages incurred.
Our hedging strategies may be ineffective.
We employ techniques that are intended to limit, or "hedge," the adverse effect of changes in interest rates on the value of our assets and financing costs, subject to complying with REIT tax requirements. Hedging strategies are complex and there are no perfect hedges. Our business model also calls for accepting certain amounts of risk. Consequently, our hedging activities are generally designed to limit our interest rate exposure, but not to eliminate it, and they are generally not designed to hedge against spread risk and other risks inherent to our business model.
Our hedging strategies vary in scope based on our portfolio composition, liabilities and our assessment of the level and volatility of interest rates, expected prepayments, credit and other market conditions, and are expected to change over time. We could fail to properly assess a risk or fail to recognize a risk entirely, leaving us exposed to losses without the benefit of any offsetting hedges. Furthermore, the derivative financial instruments we select may not have the effect of reducing our risk. Poorly designed hedging strategies or improperly executed transactions could increase our risk of loss. Hedging activities could also result in losses if the hedged event does not occur. Numerous other factors can also impact the effectiveness of our hedging strategies including the following:
the cost of interest rate hedges, which can be particularly costly during periods of interest rate volatility and rising rates;
the degree to which the interest rate hedge benchmark rate correlates to the interest rate risk for which protection is sought;
the degree to which the duration of the hedge matches the duration of the related asset or liability, particularly as interest rates change;
the amount of income that a REIT may earn from hedging transactions, other than hedging transactions that satisfy certain requirements of the Internal Revenue Code or that are done through a TRS, which is limited by federal tax provisions governing REITs; and

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the degree to which the value of our interest rate hedges changes relative to our assets as a result of fluctuations in interest rates, passage of time, or other factors.

For these reasons, our hedging strategies may fail to protect us from loss and could even result in greater losses than if we had not entered in the hedge transaction, which would negatively impact our operating results and financial condition.
Changes in prepayment rates may adversely affect the return on our investments.
Our investment portfolio includes securities backed by pools of mortgage loans which receive payments related to the underlying mortgage loans. When borrowers prepay their mortgage loans at rates faster or slower than anticipated, it exposes us to prepayment or extension risk. Generally, prepayments increase during periods of falling mortgage interest rates and decrease during periods of rising mortgage interest rates. However, this may not always be the case as other factors can affect the rate of prepayments, including loan age and size, loan-to-value ratios, housing price trends, general economic conditions and other factors.
If our assets prepay at a faster rate than anticipated, we may be unable to reinvest the repayments at acceptable yields. If the proceeds are reinvested at lower yields than our existing assets, our net interest margins would be negatively impacted. We also amortize or accrete any premiums and discounts we pay or receive at purchase relative to the stated principal of our assets into interest income over their projected lives using the effective interest method. If the actual and estimated future prepayment experience differs from our prior estimates, we are required to record an adjustment to interest income for the impact of the cumulative difference in the effective yield, which could negatively affect our interest income.
If our assets prepay at a slower rate than anticipated, our assets could extend beyond their expected maturities and we may have to finance our investments at potentially higher costs without the ability to reinvest principal into higher yielding securities. Additionally, if prepayment rates decrease due to a rising interest rate environment, the average life or duration of our fixed-rate assets would extend, but our interest rate swap maturities would remain fixed and, therefore, cover a smaller percentage of our funding exposure. This situation may also cause the market value of our assets to decline, while most of our hedging instruments would not receive any incremental offsetting gains.
To the extent that actual prepayment speeds differ from our expectations, our operating results could be adversely affected, and we could be forced to sell assets to maintain adequate liquidity, which could cause us to incur realized losses. In addition, should significant prepayments occur, there is no certainty that we will be able to identify acceptable new investments, which could reduce our invested capital or result in us investing in less favorable securities.
Prepayment rates are difficult to predict, and market conditions may disrupt the historical correlation between interest rate changes and prepayment trends.
Our success depends, in part, on our ability predict prepayment behavior under a variety of economic conditions and particularly the relationship between changing interest rates and the rate of prepayments. As part of our overall portfolio risk management, we analyze interest rate changes and prepayment trends separately and collectively to assess their effects on our investment portfolio. To a large extent our analysis is based on models that are dependent on a number of assumptions and inputs. Many of the assumptions we use are based upon historical trends with respect to the relationship between interest rates and prepayments under normal market conditions. There is risk that our assumptions are incorrect. Dislocations in the residential mortgage market and other developments may disrupt the relationship between the way that prepayment trends have historically responded to interest rate changes. Prepayment rates are also impacted by other factors beyond interest rates, such as when borrowers sell their property and use the proceeds to prepay their mortgage or when borrowers default on their mortgages and the mortgages are prepaid from the proceeds of a foreclosure sale of the property. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will also generally purchase mortgages that are 120 days or more delinquent from RMBS trusts when the cost of guarantee payments to security holders exceeds the cost of holding the nonperforming loans in their portfolios. In addition, the introduction of U.S. Government programs, or changes to existing programs, could increase the availability of mortgage credit to homeowners, which could impact prepayment rates, particularly for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Agency RMBS.
The impact of each of these factors on prepayment rates is difficult to predict and may negatively impact our ability to assess the market value of our investment portfolio, implement hedging strategies and/or implement techniques to reduce our prepayment rate volatility, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We use analytical models and data in connection with the valuation of assets and our risk management and hedging activities, and any incorrect, misleading or incomplete information used in connection therewith would subject us to potential risks.
We use analytical models (both those supplied by third parties and proprietary models developed by us) and data and other information supplied by our third-party vendors to value assets, assess potential asset purchases and in connection with our risk management and hedging activities. Models are dependent on a number of assumptions and inputs. Models may also assume a

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static portfolio; however, we actively manage our portfolio and, thus, actual results could differ materially from these estimates. If either the models, their underlying assumptions or data inputs prove to be incorrect, misleading or incomplete, any decisions we make in reliance thereon expose us to potential risks. For example, we may be induced to buy certain assets at prices that are too high, sell certain other assets at prices that are too low or forego favorable opportunities altogether. Similarly, any hedging based on faulty models and data may prove to be unsuccessful and expose us to losses on our hedging activities.
Many of the analytical models used by us, such as mortgage prepayment models or mortgage default models, are predictive in nature. The use of predictive models has inherent risks and may incorrectly forecast future behavior, leading to potential losses. Furthermore, since predictive models are usually constructed based on historical trends using data supplied by third parties, the success of relying on such models depends heavily on the accuracy and reliability of the supplied historical data. Additionally, multiple factors could disrupt the relationships between data and historical trends, reducing the ability of our models to predict future outcomes, or even render them invalid, which we are at greater risk of during periods of high volatility. Consequently, actual results could differ materially from our projections. Moreover, use of different models could result in materially different projections. 
Some of the risks of relying on analytical models and third-party data are particular to analyzing tranches from securitizations, such as residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities. These risks include, but are not limited to, the following: (i) collateral cash flows and/or liability structures may be incorrectly modeled in all or only certain scenarios, or may be modeled based on simplifying assumptions that lead to errors; (ii) information about collateral may be incorrect, incomplete, or misleading; (iii) collateral or bond historical performance (such as historical prepayments, defaults, cash flows, etc.) may be incorrectly reported, or subject to interpretation (e.g., different issuers may report delinquency statistics based on different definitions of what constitutes a delinquent loan); or (iv) collateral or bond information may be outdated, in which case the models may contain incorrect assumptions as to what has occurred since the date information was last updated.
Many of the models we use include LIBOR as an input. The expected transition away from LIBOR may require changes to models, may change the underlying economic relationships being modeled, and may require the models to be run with less historical data than is currently available for LIBOR. We may incorrectly value LIBOR-based instruments because our models do not currently account for LIBOR cessation.
The mortgage loans referenced by our CRT securities or that underlie our non-Agency securities may be or could become subject to delinquency or foreclosure, which could result in significant losses to us.
Investments in credit-oriented securities, such as CRT securities and non-Agency MBS, where repayment of principal and interest is not guaranteed by a GSE or U.S. Government agency, subject us to the potential risk of loss of principal and/or interest due to delinquency, foreclosure and related losses on the underlying mortgage loans.
CRT securities are risk sharing instruments issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and similarly structured transactions arranged by third-party market participants. The CRT securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are designed to transfer mortgage credit risk from the entities to private investors. The transactions are structured as unsecured and unguaranteed bonds issued by the GSEs whose principal payments are determined by the delinquency and prepayment experience of a reference pool of mortgages guaranteed by the GSE. CRT transactions arranged by third-party market participants are similarly structured to reference a specific pool of loans that have been securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and transfer mortgage credit risk related to those loans to the purchaser of the securities. The holder of CRT securities bears the risk that the borrowers may default on their obligations to make full and timely payments of principal and interest. The return of the principal invested in CRT securities is dependent on the level of borrower defaults on the underlying pool of mortgages. An investor in CRT securities bears the risk that the borrowers in the reference pool of loans may default on their obligations to make full and timely payments of principal and interest.
Residential mortgage loans underlying non-Agency RMBS are secured by residential property and are subject to risks of delinquency, foreclosure and loss. The ability of a borrower to repay a loan secured by residential property is dependent upon the income or assets of the borrower. Many factors could impair a borrower's ability to repay the loan, including: loss of employment, divorce, illness, acts of God, acts of war or terrorism, adverse changes in economic and market conditions, changes in laws and regulations, changes in fiscal policies and zoning ordinances, costs of remediation and liabilities associated with environmental conditions such as mold, and the potential for uninsured or under-insured property losses.
Commercial mortgage loans underlying CMBS are generally secured by multifamily or other commercial property and are subject to risks of delinquency and foreclosure and risks of loss that are greater than similar risks associated with loans made on the security of residential property. The ability of a borrower to repay a loan secured by an income-producing property typically is dependent primarily upon the successful operation of such property rather than upon the existence of independent income or assets of the borrower. If the net operating income of the property is reduced, the borrower's ability to repay the loan may be impaired. Net operating income of an income producing property can be affected by numerous factors, such as: occupancy rates,

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tenant mix, success of tenant businesses, property management decisions, property location and condition, changes in economic conditions and other factors.
Geographic concentration can expose us to greater risk of default and loss. Repayments by borrowers and the market value of the related assets underlying our investments are affected by national as well as local and regional economic conditions. As a result, concentrations of investments tied to geographic regions increase the risk that adverse economic conditions or other developments affecting a region could increase the frequency and severity of losses on our investments. Additionally, assets in certain regional areas may be more susceptible to certain hazards (such as earthquakes, widespread fires, rising sea levels, floods, hurricanes and certain climate risks) than properties in other parts of the country, and assets located in coastal states may be more susceptible to hurricanes than properties in other parts of the country. As a result, areas affected by such events often experience disruptions in travel, transportation and tourism, loss of jobs and an overall decrease in consumer activity, and often a decline in real estate-related investments, and their economies may not recover sufficiently to support income producing real estate at pre-event levels. These types of occurrences may increase over time or become more severe due to changes in weather patterns and other climate changes.
Although our investments in CRT and non-Agency securities may benefit from private mortgage insurance, this insurance may not be sufficient to cover losses.
In certain instances, mortgage loans referenced to our CRT securities or underlying our non-Agency RMBS may have private mortgage insurance. This insurance is often structured to absorb only a portion of the loss if a loan defaults and, as such, we may be exposed to losses on these loans greater than the mortgage insurance. Rescission and denial of mortgage insurance may affect the ability to collect on this insurance. If private mortgage insurers fail to remit insurance payments for insured portions of loans when losses are incurred and where applicable, whether due to breach of contract or to an insurer's insolvency, we may experience a loss on related CRT or non-Agency RMBS securities for the amount that was insured by such insurers.
Credit ratings assigned to our credit risk-oriented investments are subject to ongoing evaluation and revision and could be downgraded, adversely affecting the value of our investments.
Some of our investments are rated by nationally recognized rating agencies, such as Moody's Investors Service, Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor's and others. Any credit ratings on our investments are subject to ongoing evaluation by credit rating agencies, and we cannot assure you that any such ratings will not be changed or withdrawn by a rating agency in the future. If rating agencies assign a lower-than-expected rating or reduce or withdraw, or indicate that they may reduce or withdraw, their ratings of our investments in the future, the value of these investments could significantly decline, which would adversely affect the value of our investment portfolio and could result in losses upon disposition.
Changes in credit spreads may adversely affect our profitability.
A significant component of the fair value of CRT and non-Agency securities and other credit risk-oriented investments is attributable to the credit spread, or the difference between the value the credit instrument and the value of a financial instrument with similar interest rate exposure, but with no credit risk, such as a U.S. Treasury note, and the credit instrument. Credit spreads are subject to market factors and can be highly volatile. In addition, hedging fair value changes associated with credit spreads can be inefficient and our hedging strategies are generally not designed to mitigate credit spread risk. Consequently, changes in credit spreads could adversely affect our profitability and financial condition.
The anticipated discontinuation of LIBOR and transition from LIBOR to an alternative reference rate could negatively impact our variable rate financial instruments and the dividends we pay on our fixed-to-floating rate cumulative redeemable preferred stock.
Our outstanding fixed-to-floating rate cumulative redeemable preferred stock agreements, variable rate investments, swaption agreements and certain of our interest rate swap and borrowing agreements are indexed to USD LIBOR. LIBOR is an indicative measure of the average interest rate at which major global banks could borrow from one another and is used extensively as a “benchmark” or “reference rate” for various financial and commercial contracts. LIBOR is quoted in multiple currencies and multiple time frames using data reported by private-sector banks. In July 2017, the regulator of LIBOR, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority, announced its intent to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021, citing a number of banks' reluctance to participate in setting LIBOR rates and an insufficient number of interbank lending transactions from which LIBOR may be set.
In anticipation of the discontinuation of LIBOR, in the U.S., the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (“ARRC”), a group convened by the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, regulators and other private and public-sector entities, has identified the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) as its preferred alternative rate for USD LIBOR.  SOFR is a measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight, collateralized by U.S.

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Treasury securities, and is based on directly observable U.S. Treasury-backed repurchase transactions.  Although the U.S. Treasury-backed overnight repo market is a highly liquid, there is currently no robust market for determining, forward-looking, SOFR term rates. Additionally, certain of our LIBOR based contracts that may be in effect at the time of LIBOR discontinuation may not contain fallback language in the event LIBOR is unavailable or may not contain fallback language that contemplates the permanent discontinuation of LIBOR. Consequently, there is uncertainty as to how our LIBOR based financial instruments may react to its discontinuation.
It also is possible that not all of our LIBOR based assets and liabilities will transition away from LIBOR at the same time, and it is possible that not all of our assets and liabilities will transition to the same alternative reference rate, in each case increasing the difficulty of hedging. Switching existing financial instruments and hedging transactions from LIBOR to SOFR requires calculations of a fixed spread to account for differences between LIBOR and SOFR. Industry organizations are attempting to structure the spread calculation in a manner that minimizes the possibility of value transfer between counterparties by virtue of the transition, but there is no assurance that the calculated spread will be fair and accurate or that similar financial instruments will use the same spread. We and other market participants have less experience understanding and modeling SOFR-based assets and liabilities than LIBOR-based assets and liabilities, increasing the difficulty of investing, hedging, and risk management. The process of transition may also involve operational risks. It is also possible that no transition will occur for certain financial instruments, meaning that those instruments would continue to be subject to the weaknesses of the LIBOR calculation process and/or, as is the potential case for our Series C fixed-to-floating rate preferred stock, that the determination of LIBOR would be dependent on banks voluntarily providing quotations of LIBOR to us based on specified procedures, which an insufficient number of banks may be willing or able to do, in which case the variable rate instrument could convert to a fixed-rate instrument based on the most recent rate in effect for the instrument. At this time, it is not possible to predict the effect of any such changes, any establishment of alternative reference rates or any other reforms to LIBOR that may be implemented. The nature of such potential changes, alternative reference rates or other reforms could adversely affect the market for or value of our financial instruments and the dividends we pay on our fixed-to-floating rate preferred stock on which the interest is determined by reference to LIBOR.
Regulations adopted by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC") and regulators of other countries could impose increased margin requirements and require additional operational and compliance costs.
The CFTC subjects certain swaps to clearing and exchange trading requirements, margin requirements, reporting and record keeping requirements and counterparties to business conduct rules. Current and future rules and regulations promulgated by the CFTC and regulators of other countries may adversely affect our ability to engage in derivative transactions or may increase the cost of our hedging activity and potentially result in higher collateral requirements. Such increased costs and potentially higher collateral requirements could have an adverse impact on our business and results of operations.
Our investments are recorded at fair value, which may not be readily determinable or may be materially different from the value that we ultimately realize upon their disposal.
We measure the fair value of our investments in accordance with guidance set forth in Accounting Standards Codification Topic 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures. Fair value is only an estimate based on good faith judgment of the price at which an investment can be sold since market prices of investments can only be determined by negotiation between a willing buyer and seller. Our determination of the fair value of our investments includes inputs provided by third-party dealers and pricing services. Valuations of certain investments in which we invest may be difficult to obtain or unreliable. In general, dealers and pricing services heavily disclaim their valuations and we do not have recourse against them due to liabilities and other damages arising from inaccurate price quotes or other inputs used to determine the fair value of our investments. Depending on the complexity and illiquidity of a security, valuations of the same security can vary substantially from one dealer or pricing service to another. Moreover, fair value and estimates of fair value may fluctuate over short periods of time. For these reasons, the fair value at which our investments are recorded may not be an indication of their realizable value. Furthermore, the ultimate realization of the value of an asset depends on economic and other conditions that are beyond our control. Consequently, if we were to liquidate an asset, particularly in a forced liquidation, the realized value may be less than the amount at which the asset is recorded, which would negatively affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Actions of the U.S. Government, including the U.S. Congress, Fed, U.S. Treasury, Federal Housing Finance Administration ("FHFA") and other governmental and regulatory bodies may adversely affect our business.
U.S. Government actions may have an adverse impact on the financial markets. To the extent the markets do not respond favorably to any such actions or such actions do not function as intended, they could have broad adverse market implications and could negatively impact our financial condition and results of operations. New regulatory requirements could adversely affect the availability or terms of financing from our lender counterparties, could impose more stringent capital rules on financial institutions, could restrict the origination of residential mortgage loans and the formation of new issuances of mortgage-backed securities and could limit the trading activities of certain banking entities and other systemically significant organizations that are

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important to our business. Together or individually these new regulatory requirements could materially affect our financial condition or results of operations in an adverse way.
Federal housing finance reform, including potential changes to the Federal conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or to laws or regulations affecting the relationship between the GSEs and the U.S. Government, may adversely affect our business.
The payments of principal and interest we receive on our Agency RMBS are guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae. The guarantees on Agency securities created by Ginnie Mae are explicitly backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government, whereas the guarantees on Agency securities created by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not.
In September 2008, 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 FHFA becoming the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has provided a liquidity backstop to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure their financial stability. 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 in the U.S. housing finance market should be re-examined.
The release of the Presidential Memorandum on Federal Housing Finance Reform in March 2019, which directed the Secretary of the Treasury to develop a plan to end GSE conservatorship, and housing finance reform plans by both the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in September 2019, coupled with new leadership at the FHFA, has elevated the potential for administrative and/or legislative action to affect structural GSE and federal housing reform. Consequently, the U.S. Treasury could also stop providing credit support to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the future, the future roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be significantly modified and/or the nature of their guarantee obligations could be considerably limited relative to historical measurements.
If conservatorship were ended without legislative action to authorize an explicit government guarantee, Agency RMBS could be more difficult to finance, and the price of Agency RMBS could decline. Additionally, without a sufficiently robust U.S. government backstop, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Agency securities would likely no longer be fungible with one another, leading to a failure of the Uniform Mortgage Backed Security ("UMBS") TBA program, which is intended to improve the overall liquidity of Agency securities and help ensure the liquidity of the federal housing market. Changes to the nature of GSE guarantee obligations could also re-define what constitutes an Agency security. Consequently, ending GSE conservatorship without an explicit government guarantee (or a sufficient U.S. Treasury backstop) or the enactment of other federal housing reform measures could have broad adverse implications and negatively affect our financial position and results of operations.
We may be unable to acquire desirable investments due to competition, a reduction in the supply of new production Agency RMBS having the specific attributes we seek, and other factors.
We invest in Agency RMBS as well as other types of mortgage and mortgage-related residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities and other investments in, or related to, the housing, mortgage or real estate markets. Our profitability depends, in large part, on our ability to acquire our target assets at attractive prices.
We may seek assets that include specific attributes that affect their propensity for prepayment under certain market conditions or enable us to satisfy certain asset test requirements to maintain our REIT qualification status or exemption from regulation under the Investment Company Act (such as "whole pool" Agency RMBS). A sufficient supply of our target assets may not be available at attractive prices, or even available at all. We also may compete for these assets with a variety of other investors, including other REITs, specialty finance companies, public and private funds, government entities, commercial and investment banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions, who may have competitive advantages over us, such as a lower cost of funds and access to funding sources that may not be available to us.
Federal housing finance reform initiatives may also affect the supply of new production Agency RMBS “whole pool” securities. On May 13, 2014, the FHFA released its updated 2014 Strategic Plan for the Conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which set forth goals for the next phase of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conservatorships, including a desire to build a new single-family securitization infrastructure for use by the GSEs and adaptable for use by other participants in the secondary market. Pursuant to this strategic plan and at the direction of the FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed a joint initiative to develop a common mortgage backed security to be issued by the GSEs, commonly referred to as the Single Security Initiative, and began issuing UMBS in 2019. Concomitant with this initiative, the GSE’s have adopted practices in issuing RMBS pools that have impacted the supply of new issuance “whole pool” securities. In November 2019, the FHFA issued a request for information concerning the GSE’s pooling practices, which included some recommendations that, if implemented, would require the GSE’s to predominantly issue large multi-lender mortgage pools and would constrain issuances of specified mortgage pools. This proposal engendered significant opposition from many sectors of the housing finance industry, but its

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adoption as a whole or in part remains uncertain. Some other housing finance reform proposals that have been made would seek to implement more stringent guidelines that reduce the types and sizes of mortgage loans eligible to be purchased by the GSEs. The extent to which any of these initiatives will be implemented remains uncertain, but each of them may limit the overall supply of “whole pool” Agency RMBS with desirable prepayment and other characteristics.
Consequently, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain a sufficient level of desirable investments, which could negatively impact our ability to achieve our target leverage ratio, raise additional equity at otherwise opportune times, continue to maintain our REIT qualification or exemption from regulation under the Investment Company Act, or sufficiently reduce our exposure to prepayment, extension and other risks, which could negatively impact our financial condition and results of operation.
Changes to the U.S. federal income tax code could have a material impact on the residential mortgage market, which could impact the pricing of RMBS.
Changes to the federal income tax code pertaining to the deductibility of home mortgage interest and the treatment of other items related to home ownership can negatively impact the housing market and pricing of RMBS. Most recently, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ("TCJA"), which generally went into effect on January 1, 2018, set limits on deductions of state and local income and property taxes to an aggregate amount of $10,000 and modified the amount of residential mortgage interest that is deductible, limiting the deduction available for mortgage interest by reducing the amount of mortgage debt that can qualify from $1 million to $750,000, subject to grandfathering mortgage debt outstanding at the time of enactment.  In addition, the TCJA eliminated the home equity mortgage interest deduction. Absent future legislation, many of the changes affecting individual taxpayers under the TCJA will cease to apply after December 31, 2025 and will revert to their pre-2018 form, but it is expected that the number of individual taxpayers that itemize deductions have or will decrease significantly causing the income tax benefits of residential home ownership to decline materially.  These factors, and future changes to the federal income tax code, could reduce the demand for home ownership, result in a decline in the pricing of residential real estate as well as alter the prepayment patterns of residential mortgages, all of which could have a significant impact on the pricing and returns of RMBS.  
Our executive officers and other key personnel are critical to our success and the loss of any executive officer or key employee may materially adversely affect our business.
We operate in a highly specialized industry and our success is dependent upon the efforts, experience, diligence, skill and network of business contacts of our executive officers and key personnel. The departure of any of our executive officers and/or key personnel could have a material adverse effect on our operations and performance.
We are highly dependent on information systems and third parties, and systems failures or cybersecurity incidents could significantly disrupt our business, which may, in turn, negatively affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to operate our business.
Our business is highly dependent on communications and information systems. Any failure or interruption of our systems or cyber-attacks or security breaches of our networks or systems could cause delays or other problems in our securities trading activities, including mortgage-backed securities trading activities. A disruption or breach could also lead to unauthorized access to and release, misuse, loss or destruction of our confidential information or personal or confidential information of our employees or third parties, which could lead to regulatory fines, costs of remediating the breach, reputational harm, financial losses, litigation and increased difficulty doing business with third parties that rely on us to meet their own data protection requirements. 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, if their respective systems experience failure, interruption, cyberattacks, or security breaches. We may face increased costs as we continue to evolve our cyber defenses in order to contend with changing risks. These costs and losses associated with these risks are difficult to predict and quantify but could have a significant adverse effect on our operating results. Additionally, the legal and regulatory environment surrounding information privacy and security in the U.S. and international jurisdictions is constantly evolving.
Computer malware, viruses, computer hacking and phishing attacks have become more prevalent in our industry and we are from time to time subject to such attempted attacks. We rely heavily on financial, accounting and other data processing systems maintained by us and by third parties with whom we contract for information technology, network, data, storage and other related services. Although we have not detected a material cybersecurity breach to date, other financial services institutions have reported material breaches of their systems, some of which have been significant. Even with all reasonable security efforts, not every breach can be prevented or even detected. It is possible that we or the third parties with whom we contract have experienced an undetected breach. There is no assurance that we, or the third parties that facilitate our business activities, have not or will not experience a breach. 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 third parties that facilitate our

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business activities) or any failure to maintain performance, reliability and security of our technical infrastructure, but such computer malware, viruses, and computer hacking and phishing attacks may negatively affect our operations.
Risks Related to Our Taxation as a REIT
Our failure to qualify as a REIT would have adverse tax consequences.
We believe that we operate in a manner that allows us to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes under Sections 856 through 860 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and Treasury Regulations promulgated thereunder.  We plan to continue to meet the requirements for taxation as a REIT.  The determination that we are a REIT requires an analysis of various factual matters and circumstances that may not be totally within our control and our compliance with the annual REIT income and quarterly asset requirements depends upon our ability to successfully manage the composition of our income and assets on an ongoing basis. For example, to qualify as a REIT, at least 75% of our gross income must come from real estate sources and 95% of our gross income must come from real estate sources and certain other sources that are itemized in the REIT tax laws.  Additionally, our ability to satisfy the REIT asset tests depends upon our analysis of the characterization and fair market values of our assets, some of which are not susceptible to a precise determination, and for which we will not obtain independent appraisals. Furthermore, the proper classification of an instrument as debt or equity for federal income tax purposes may be uncertain in some circumstances, which could affect the application of the REIT asset requirements. We are also required to distribute to stockholders at least 90% of our REIT taxable income (determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and by excluding any net capital gain).
If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any tax year, we would be subject to U.S. federal and state corporate income tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates, and dividends paid to our stockholders would not be deductible by us in computing our taxable income.  Also, unless the IRS granted us relief under certain statutory provisions, we would remain disqualified as a REIT for four years following the year we first fail to qualify.  If we fail to qualify as a REIT, we would have to pay significant income taxes and would, therefore, have less money available for investments or for distributions to our stockholders.  This would likely have a significant adverse effect on the value of our equity.  In addition, the tax law would no longer require us to make distributions to our stockholders.
If we should fail to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification, we may still qualify as a REIT if there is reasonable cause for the failure and not due to willful neglect and other applicable requirements are met, including completion of applicable IRS filings. It is not possible to state whether we would be entitled to the benefit of these relief provisions in all circumstances. If these relief provisions are inapplicable, we will not qualify as a REIT. Furthermore, if we satisfy the relief provisions and maintain our qualification as a REIT, we may be still subject to a penalty tax. The amount of the penalty tax will be at least $50,000 per failure, and, in the case of certain asset test failures, will be determined as the amount of net income generated by the assets in question multiplied by the highest U.S. federal corporate tax rate in effect at the time of the failure if that amount exceeds $50,000 per failure, and, in case of income test failures, will be a 100% tax on an amount based on the magnitude of the failure, as adjusted to reflect the profit margin associated with our gross income.
New legislation or administrative or judicial action, in each instance potentially with retroactive effect, could make it more difficult or impossible for us to remain qualified as a REIT or it could otherwise adversely affect REITs and their stockholders.
The present U.S. federal income tax treatment of REITs may be modified, possibly with retroactive effect, by legislative, judicial or administrative action at any time, which could affect our ability to maintain our REIT status and/or the federal income tax treatment of an investment in us. The federal income tax rules dealing with REITs constantly are under review by persons involved in the legislative process, the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department, which results in statutory changes as well as frequent revisions to regulations and interpretations. Revisions in Federal tax laws and interpretations thereof could affect or cause us to change our investments and affect the tax considerations of an investment in us.
REIT distribution requirements could adversely affect our ability to execute our business plan.
We generally must distribute annually at least 90% of our taxable income, subject to certain adjustments and excluding any net capital gain, for U.S. federal and state corporate income tax not to apply to earnings that we distribute. Distributions of our taxable income must generally occur in the taxable year to which they relate, or in the following taxable year if declared before we timely file our tax return for the year and if paid with or before the first regular dividend payment after such declaration. We may also elect to retain, rather than distribute, our net long-term capital gains and pay tax on such gains if required, in which case, we could elect for our stockholders to include their proportionate share of such undistributed long-term capital gains in income, and to receive a corresponding credit for their share of the tax that we paid. Our stockholders would then increase the adjusted basis of their stock by the difference between (a) the amounts of capital gain dividends that we designated and that they include in their taxable income, minus (b) the tax that we paid on their behalf with respect to that income. We intend to make distributions

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to our stockholders to comply with the REIT qualification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, which limits our ability to retain earnings and thereby replenish or increase capital from operations.
To the extent that we satisfy this distribution requirement, but distribute less than 100% of our taxable income, we will be subject to U.S. federal and state corporate income tax on our undistributed taxable income. Furthermore, if we should fail to distribute during each calendar year at least the sum of (a) 85% of our REIT ordinary income for such year, (b) 95% of our REIT capital gain net income for such year, and (c) any undistributed taxable income from prior periods, we would be subject to a non-deductible 4% excise tax on the excess of such required distribution over the sum of (x) the amounts actually distributed, (y) the amounts of income we retained and on which we have paid corporate income tax and (z) any excess distributions from prior periods.
From time to time, we may generate taxable income greater than our reported income prepared in accordance with GAAP. Differences in the timing of the recognition of taxable income and deductible expenses and the actual receipt or disbursement of cash may also occur. For example, if we purchase mortgage securities at issuance with a discount, we are generally required to accrete the discount into taxable income prior to receiving the cash proceeds. In addition, we generally will be required to take certain amounts into income no later than the time such amounts are reflected on certain financial statements. The application of this rule may require the accrual of, among other categories of income, income with respect to certain debt instruments or mortgage-backed securities, such as original issue discount or market discount, earlier than would be the case under the general tax rules, although the precise application of this rule is unclear at this time.  This rule generally is effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017 or, for debt instruments or mortgage-backed securities issued with original issue discount, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2018. Moreover, we are not allowed to reduce our taxable income for a net capital loss incurred; instead, the net capital loss may be carried forward for a period of up to five years and applied against future capital gains subject to our ability to generate sufficient capital gains, which cannot be assured. If we do not have funds available in these situations, we could be required to borrow funds on unfavorable terms, sell investments at disadvantageous prices or distribute amounts that would otherwise be invested in future acquisitions to make distributions sufficient to maintain our qualification as a REIT or avoid corporate income tax and the 4% annual excise tax. These alternatives could increase our costs and reduce our stockholders' equity. Thus, compliance with the REIT requirements may hinder our ability to grow, which could adversely affect the value of our common stock.
We may in the future choose to pay dividends in our own stock, in which case stockholders may be required to pay income taxes in excess of cash dividends received.
We may in the future distribute taxable dividends that are payable in cash and shares of our common stock at the election of each stockholder. Taxable stockholders receiving such dividends will be required to include the full amount of the dividend as ordinary income to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, stockholders may be required to pay income taxes with respect to such dividends in excess of the cash dividends received. If a U.S. stockholder sells the stock that it receives as a dividend to pay this tax, the sales proceeds may be less than the amount included in income with respect to the dividend, depending on the market price of our stock at the time of the sale. Furthermore, with respect to certain non-U.S. stockholders, we may be required to withhold U.S. tax with respect to such dividends, including in respect of all or a portion of such dividend that is payable in stock. In addition, if a significant number of our stockholders determine to sell shares of our common stock to pay taxes owed on dividends, it may put downward pressure on the trading price of our common stock.
Even if we remain qualified as a REIT, we may face other tax liabilities that reduce our cash flow.
Even if we remain qualified for taxation as a REIT, we may nonetheless be subject to certain federal, state and local taxes on our income and assets, including the following items. Any of these or other taxes we may incur would decrease cash available for distribution to our stockholders.
Regular U.S. federal and state corporate income taxes on any undistributed taxable income, including undistributed net capital gains.
A non-deductible 4% excise tax if the actual amount distributed to our stockholders in a calendar year is less than a minimum amount specified under Federal tax laws.
Corporate income taxes on the earnings of subsidiaries, to the extent that such subsidiaries are subchapter C corporations and are not qualified REIT subsidiaries or other disregarded entity for federal income tax purposes.
A 100% tax on certain transactions between us and our TRSs that do not reflect arm's-length terms.  
If we acquire appreciated assets from a corporation that is not a REIT (i.e., a corporation taxable under subchapter C of the Internal Revenue Code) in a transaction in which the adjusted tax basis of the assets in our hands is determined by reference to the adjusted tax basis of the assets in the hands of the subchapter C corporation, we may be subject

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to tax on such appreciation at the highest corporate income tax rate then applicable if we subsequently recognize a gain on a disposition of any such assets during the five-year period following their acquisition from the subchapter C corporation.  
A 100% tax on net income and gains from "prohibited transactions"
Penalty taxes and other fines for failure to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification.
Complying with REIT requirements may cause us to forgo otherwise attractive opportunities.
To remain qualified as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we must continually satisfy tests concerning, among other things, the sources of our income, the nature and diversification of our assets, the amounts that we distribute to our stockholders and the ownership of our stock. We may be required to make distributions to stockholders at disadvantageous times or when we do not have funds readily available for distribution, and we may be unable to pursue investments that would be otherwise advantageous to us to remain qualified as a REIT. Thus, compliance with the REIT requirements may hinder our ability to make and, in certain cases, to maintain ownership of, certain attractive investments.
Complying with REIT requirements may force us to liquidate otherwise attractive investments.
To remain qualified as a REIT, we must ensure 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 real estate assets. The remainder of our investments in securities (other than government securities and qualified real estate assets) 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 (other than government securities and qualified real estate assets) can consist of the securities of any one issuer, and no more than 20% of the value of our total assets can be represented by securities of one or more TRSs. If we fail to comply with these requirements at the end of any calendar quarter, we must correct the failure within 30 days after the end of the calendar quarter or qualify for certain statutory relief provisions to avoid losing our REIT qualification and suffering adverse tax consequences. As a result, we may be required sell otherwise attractive investments from our investment portfolio. These actions could have the effect of reducing our income and amounts available for distribution to our stockholders.
The failure of assets subject to repurchase agreements to qualify as real estate assets could adversely affect our ability to remain qualified as a REIT.
We enter into financing arrangements that are structured as sale and repurchase agreements pursuant to which we nominally sell assets to a counterparty and simultaneously enter into an agreement to repurchase these assets at a later date in exchange for a purchase price. Economically, these agreements are financings that are secured by the assets sold pursuant thereto. We believe that we would be treated for REIT asset and income test purposes as the owner of the assets that are the subject of any such sale and repurchase agreement notwithstanding that such agreement may transfer record ownership of the assets to the counterparty during the term of the agreement. It is possible, however, that the IRS could assert that we did not own the assets during the term of the sale and repurchase agreement, in which case we could fail to remain qualified as a REIT.
Liquidation of assets may jeopardize our REIT qualification or create additional tax liability for us.
To remain qualified as a REIT, we must comply with requirements regarding the composition of our assets and our sources of income. If we are compelled to liquidate our investments to repay obligations to our lenders, we may be unable to comply with these requirements, ultimately jeopardizing our qualification as a REIT, or we may be subject to a 100% tax on any resultant gain if we sell assets that are treated as dealer property or inventory.
Complying with REIT requirements may limit our ability to hedge effectively and may cause us to incur tax liabilities.
The REIT provisions of the Internal Revenue Code could substantially limit our ability to hedge our liabilities. Any income from a properly designated hedging transaction to manage risk of interest rate changes with respect to borrowings made or to be made, or ordinary obligations incurred or to be incurred, to acquire or carry real estate assets generally does not constitute "gross income" for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income tests. To the extent that we enter into other types of hedging transactions, the income from those transactions is likely to be treated as non-qualifying income for purposes of both gross income tests. As such, we may have to limit our use of advantageous hedging techniques or implement those hedges through our TRS. This could increase the cost of our hedging activities as our TRS would be subject to tax on gains or expose us to greater risks associated with changes in interest rates than we would otherwise want to bear. In addition, losses in our TRS will generally not provide any tax benefit, except for being carried forward against future taxable income in the TRS.

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Uncertainty exists with respect to the treatment of our TBAs for purposes of the REIT asset and income tests.
There is no direct authority with respect to the qualification of TBAs as real estate assets or U.S. Government securities for purposes of the 75% asset test or the qualification of income or gains from dispositions of TBAs as gains from the sale of real property or other qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. However, we treat our TBAs as qualifying assets for purposes of the REIT 75% asset test, and we treat income and gains from our TBAs as qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, based on an opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP substantially to the effect that (i) for purposes of the REIT asset tests, our ownership of a TBA should be treated as ownership of the underlying Agency RMBS, and (ii) for purposes of the 75% REIT gross income test, any gain recognized by us in connection with the settlement of our TBAs should be treated as gain from the sale or disposition of the underlying Agency RMBS. Opinions of counsel are not binding on the IRS, and no assurance can be given that the IRS will not successfully challenge the conclusions set forth in such opinions. In addition, it must be emphasized that the opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is based on various assumptions relating to our TBAs and is conditioned upon fact-based representations and covenants made by our management regarding our TBAs. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert that such assets or income are not qualifying assets or income. If the IRS were to successfully challenge the opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, we could be subject to a penalty tax or we could fail to remain qualified as a REIT if a sufficient portion of our assets consists of TBAs or a sufficient portion of our income consists of income or gains from the disposition of TBAs.
Qualifying as a REIT involves highly technical and complex provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.
Qualification as a REIT involves the application of highly technical and complex Internal Revenue Code provisions for which only limited judicial and administrative authorities exist. Even a technical or inadvertent violation could jeopardize our REIT qualification. Our qualification as a REIT depends on our satisfaction of certain asset, income, organizational, distribution, stockholder ownership and other requirements on a continuing basis. In addition, our ability to satisfy the requirements to remain qualified as a REIT depends in part on the actions of third parties over which we have no control or only limited influence, including cases where we own an equity interest in an entity that is classified as a partnership for federal income tax purposes.
The tax on prohibited transactions could limit our ability to engage in certain transactions.
Net income that we derive from a prohibited transaction is subject to a 100% tax. The term "prohibited transaction" generally includes a sale or other disposition of property that is held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business by us or by a borrower that has issued a shared appreciation mortgage or similar debt instrument to us. We could be subject to this tax if we were to dispose of or structure CMOs in a manner that was treated as a prohibited transaction for federal income tax purposes.
We intend to conduct our operations so that no asset that we own (or are treated as owning) at the REIT level will be treated as, or as having been, held for sale to customers, and that a sale of any such asset will not be treated as having been in the ordinary course of our business. As a result, we may choose not to engage in certain transactions at the REIT level that might otherwise be beneficial to us. In addition, whether property is held "primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business" depends on the particular facts and circumstances. No assurance can be given that any property that we sell will not be treated as property held for sale to customers, or that we can comply with certain safe-harbor provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that would prevent such treatment. The 100% tax does not apply to gains from the sale of property that is held through a TRS or other taxable corporation, although such income will be subject to tax in the hands of the corporation at regular corporate rates. We intend to structure our activities to avoid prohibited transaction characterization.
Distributions to tax-exempt investors, or gains on sale of our common stock by tax-exempt investors, may be classified as unrelated business taxable income.
Distributions with respect to our common stock and gains from the sale of our common stock should generally not constitute unrelated business taxable income to a tax-exempt investor. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. For example, if (i) all or a portion of our assets are subject to the rules relating to "taxable mortgage pools" or we hold residual interests in a real estate mortgage investment conduit (or "REMIC"); (ii) we are a "pension held REIT;" (iii) a tax-exempt stockholder has incurred debt to purchase or hold our common stock; or (iv) a tax-exempt stockholder is classified as a social club, voluntary employee benefit association, supplemental unemployment benefit trust or a qualified group legal services plan, then a portion of our distributions to tax-exempt stockholders and, in the case of stockholders described in clauses (iii) and (iv), gains realized on the sale of our common stock by tax-exempt stockholders may be subject to U.S. federal income tax as unrelated business taxable income under the Internal Revenue Code.

20



Our inability to deduct for tax purposes compensation paid to our executives could require us to increase our distributions to stockholders or pay entity level taxes to maintain our REIT status.
Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits publicly held corporations from taking a tax deduction for annual compensation in excess of $1 million paid to any of the corporation’s "covered employees." Prior to the enactment of the TCJA, a publicly held corporation’s covered employees included its chief executive officer and the three other most highly compensated executive officers (other than the chief financial officer), and certain "performance-based compensation" was excluded from the $1 million cap. The TCJA made certain changes to Section 162(m), effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. These changes include, among others, expanding the definition of "covered employee" to include the chief financial officer and repealing the performance-based compensation exception to the $1 million cap, subject to certain transition rules. The TCJA also added that once an individual becomes a covered employee after December 31, 2016, that individual will remain a covered employee for all future years including after termination or death. Compensation paid to "covered employees" in excess of the 162(m) deductibility limit increases our taxable income compared to fully deductible compensation and, as a result, increases the amount of dividends we must distribute to stockholders to maintain our REIT status and/or to avoid U.S. federal and state income tax, which could adversely affect our financial condition.
Risks Related to Our Business Structure
Loss of our exemption from regulation pursuant to the Investment Company Act would adversely affect us.
We conduct our business so as not to become regulated as an investment company under the Investment Company Act in reliance on the exemption provided by Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the Investment Company Act. Section 3(c)(5)(C), as interpreted by the staff of the SEC, requires that: (i) at least 55% of our investment portfolio consists of "mortgages and other liens on and interest in real estate," or "qualifying real estate interests," and (ii) at least 80% of our investment portfolio consists of qualifying real estate interests plus "real estate-related assets."
The specific real estate related assets that we acquire are limited by the provisions of the Investment Company Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. In satisfying the 55% requirement, we treat Agency RMBS issued with respect to an underlying pool of mortgage loans in which we directly or indirectly hold all the certificates issued by the pool ("whole pool" securities) as qualifying real estate interests based on pronouncements of the SEC staff. We treat partial pool securities, CRT and other mortgage related securities as real estate-related assets. Consequently, our ability to satisfy the exemption under the Investment Company Act is dependent upon our ability to acquire and hold on a continuous basis a sufficient amount of whole pool securities, The availability of whole pool securities may be adversely impacted by a variety of factors, including GSE pooling practices, which can change over time, housing finance reform initiatives and competition for whole pool securities with other mortgage REITs.
Additionally, if the SEC determines that any of our securities are not qualifying interests in real estate or real estate-related assets, adopts a contrary interpretation with respect to these securities or otherwise believes we do not satisfy the above exceptions or changes its interpretation of the above exceptions, we could be required to restructure our activities or sell certain of our assets. As such, we cannot guarantee that we will be able acquire or hold a sufficient amount of whole pool securities to maintain our exemption under the Investment Company Act, and our compliance with these requirements may at times lead us to adopt less efficient methods of financing certain of our investments or to forego acquiring higher yielding securities. Importantly, if we fail to qualify for this exemption, our ability to use leverage would be substantially reduced and we would be unable to conduct our business as we currently conduct it, which could materially and adversely affect our business.
Risks Related to Our Common Stock
The market price and trading volume of our common stock may be volatile.
The market price and trading volume of our common stock may be highly volatile and subject to wide fluctuations. Price variations may be unrelated to our operating performance. If the market price of our common stock declines significantly, stockholders may be unable to resell shares at a gain. Further, fluctuations in the trading price of our common stock may adversely affect the liquidity of the trading market for our common stock and our ability to raise additional equity capital
Some of the factors that could negatively affect our share price or result in fluctuations in the price or trading volume of our common stock include:
actual or anticipated variations in our quarterly operating results or distributions;
changes in our earnings estimates or publication of research reports about us or the real estate or specialty finance industry;
increases in market interest rates that lead purchasers of our shares of common stock to demand a higher yield;

21



changes in market valuations of similar companies;
adverse market reaction to any increased indebtedness we incur in the future;
issuance of additional equity securities;
our repurchases of shares of our common stock;
actions by institutional stockholders;
additions or departures of key management personnel;
speculation in the press or investment community;
price and volume fluctuations in the stock market from time to time, which are often unrelated to our operating performance;
changes in regulatory policies, tax laws and financial accounting and reporting standards, particularly with respect to REITs, or applicable exemptions from the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended;
actual or anticipated 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;
decreases in our net book value per share;
loss of major repurchase agreement providers; and
general market and economic conditions.

In addition, the price of our common stock may be below our reported net book value per common share. We cannot assure you that the market price of our common stock will not fluctuate or decline significantly in the future.
Future offerings of debt securities, which would rank senior to our common and preferred upon our liquidation, and future offerings of equity securities, which would dilute our existing stockholders or may be senior to our common stock for the purposes of dividend and liquidating distributions, may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
In the future, we may raise capital through the issuance of debt or equity securities. Upon liquidation, holders of our debt securities, if any, preferred stock and lenders with respect to other borrowings will be entitled to our available assets prior to the holders of our common stock. Additional equity offerings may dilute the holdings of our existing stockholders or reduce the market price of our common stock, or both. Our preferred stock has a preference on liquidating distributions and a preference on dividend payments that could limit our ability to pay dividends to the holders of our common stock. Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock, or the perception that these sales could occur, could have a material adverse effect on the price of our common stock. Because our decision to issue debt or equity 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, holders of our common stock bear the risk of our future offerings reducing the market price of our common stock and diluting the value of their stock holdings in us.
Future sales of shares of our common stock may depress the price of our shares.
We cannot predict the effect, if any, of future sales of our common stock or the availability of shares for future sales on the market price of our common stock. Any sales of a substantial number of our shares in the public market, or the perception that sales might occur, may cause the market price of our shares to decline.     
We have not established a minimum dividend payment level and we cannot assure you of our ability to pay dividends in the future.
We intend to pay monthly dividends to our common stockholders in an amount that all or substantially all our taxable income is distributed within the limits prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code. However, we have not established a minimum dividend payment level and the amount of our dividend may fluctuate. Our ability to pay dividends may be adversely affected by the risk factors described herein. All distributions will be made at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend on our earnings and financial condition, the requirements for REIT qualification and such other factors as our Board of Directors deems relevant from time to time. We may not be able to make distributions in the future or our Board of Directors may change our dividend policy. In addition, some of our distributions may include a return of capital. To the extent that we decide to pay dividends in excess of our current and accumulated tax earnings and profits, such distributions would generally be considered a return of capital for federal income tax purposes. A return of capital reduces the cost basis of a stockholder's investment in our common stock to the extent of such basis and is treated as capital gain thereafter.

22



An increase in market interest rates may cause a material decrease in our net book value and the market price of our common stock.
Market interest rate fluctuations and capital market conditions can have a significant adverse effect on our net book value and the market price of our common stock. For instance, rising interest rates would result in increased interest expense on our variable rate debt, thereby reducing cash flow and our ability to service our indebtedness and pay distributions. In addition, if market interest rates rise without an increase in our distribution rate, the market price of our common stock could decrease as potential investors may require a higher distribution yield on our common stock or seek other investments paying higher distributions or interest.
The stock ownership limit imposed by the Internal Revenue Code for REITs and our amended and restated certificate of incorporation may restrict our business combination opportunities.
To qualify as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code, not more than 50% of our outstanding stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code to include certain entities) at any time during the last half of each taxable year in which we qualify as a REIT. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, with certain exceptions, authorizes our Board of Directors to take the actions that are necessary and desirable to qualify as a REIT. Pursuant to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, no person may beneficially or constructively own more than 9.8% in value or in number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of our common or capital stock.
Our Board of Directors may grant an exemption from this 9.8% stock ownership limitation, in its sole discretion, subject to such conditions, representations and undertakings as it may determine are reasonably necessary. Pursuant to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our Board of Directors has the power to increase or decrease the percentage of common or capital stock that a person may beneficially or constructively own. However, any decreased stock ownership limit will not apply to any person whose percentage ownership of our common or capital stock is in excess of such decreased stock ownership limit until that person's percentage ownership of our common or capital stock equals or falls below the decreased stock ownership limit. Until such a person's percentage ownership of our common or capital stock falls below such decreased stock ownership limit, any further acquisition of our common or capital stock will be in violation of the decreased stock ownership limit.
The ownership limits imposed by the tax law are based upon direct or indirect ownership by "individuals," but only during the last half of a tax year. The ownership limits contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation apply to the ownership at any time by any "person," which term includes entities. Any attempt to own or transfer shares of our common stock or capital stock in violation of these restrictions may result in the shares being transferred to a charitable trust or may be void. These ownership limitations are intended to assist us in complying with the tax law requirements, and to minimize administrative burdens. However, these ownership limits might also delay or prevent a transaction or a change in our control that might involve a premium price for our common stock or otherwise be in the best interest of our stockholders.

The stock ownership limitation contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation generally does not permit ownership of more than 9.8% of our common or capital stock and attempts to acquire our common or capital stock above this limit will be ineffective unless an exemption is granted by our Board of Directors.

As described above, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation generally prohibits beneficial or constructive ownership by any person of more than 9.8% (by value or by number of shares, whichever is more restrictive) of our common or capital stock, unless exempted by our Board of Directors. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation'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 9.8% or less of the outstanding stock by an individual or entity or group could result in constructive ownership greater than 9.8% and thus be subject to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation's ownership limit. Any attempt to own or transfer shares of our common or preferred stock more than the ownership limit without the consent of the Board of Directors will result in the shares being automatically transferred to a charitable trust or, if the transfer to a charitable trust would not be effective, such transfer being treated as invalid from the outset.

Anti-takeover provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws could discourage a change of control that our stockholders may favor, which could also adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws may make it more difficult and expensive for a third-party to acquire control of us, even if a change of control would be beneficial to our stockholders. We could issue a series of preferred stock to impede the completion of a merger, tender offer or other takeover attempt. The anti-takeover provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws may impede takeover attempts, or other transactions, that may be in the best interests of our stockholders. In addition, the market price of our common stock could be adversely affected to the

23



extent that provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws discourage potential takeover attempts, or other transactions, that our stockholders may favor.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
None.

Item 2. Properties
We do not own any property. Our executive offices are in Bethesda, Maryland.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
AGNC was named as a nominal defendant in three stockholder derivative lawsuits filed against the Company and certain of our current and former directors and officers. One case, H&N Management Group and AFF Cos. Frozen Money Purchase Plan v. Couch, et al., (the “Delaware Action”) was filed in the Chancery Court of the State of Delaware on October 21, 2016. The plaintiff in the Delaware Action alleged breach of fiduciary duty and corporate waste by certain of our current and former directors and officers relating to decisions not to terminate our management agreement with our former external manager (the “Renewal Claims”) and the internalization of our management through the acquisition of our manager, which was completed on July 1, 2016 (“Internalization Claims”). The plaintiff also named Ares Capital Corporation, Ivy Hill Asset Management, LLC and ACAS, LLC, (collectively, the “Ares Defendants”) as defendants and alleged that they aided and abetted and were unjustly enriched by the supposed breaches of duty (the “Ares Claims”). Following fact discovery, the parties to the Delaware Action reached a settlement, which was approved by the Delaware Chancery Court on December 4, 2019 and has now become final. Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, as approved, in February 2020, the Company received aggregate settlement payments of approximately $25.6 million on behalf of all defendants, and the plaintiff attorneys were awarded approximately $9.8 million in fees. The settlement also releases the Company, the defendants and certain of their respective affiliates from liability, subject to the terms and conditions of the settlement.
The other two cases, Clem v. Kain, et al., and Wall v. Kain, et al., were filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Maryland on September 21, 2016 and September 30, 2016, respectively, and were consolidated on October 25, 2016, under the name In re American Capital Agency Stockholder Derivative Litigation, (collectively, the “Maryland Action”). The Maryland Action involved allegations of breach of fiduciary duties and aiding and abetting against the same individuals related to substantially the same events (i.e., Renewal Claims, Internalization Claims and Ares Claims) as alleged in the Delaware Action. Upon joint request of the parties, the District Court dismissed the Maryland Action with prejudice on January 21, 2020.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.


24



PART II.
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
 
Quarterly Stock Prices and Dividend Declarations
 
Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "AGNC." As of January 31, 2020, we had 1,181 stockholders of record. Most of the shares of our common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders. The following table sets forth the range of high and low sales prices of our common stock as reported on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and dividends declared on our common stock for fiscal years 2019 and 2018:
 
 
Common Stock
 
Sales Prices
 
Dividends Declared 1
 
High 
Low
 
Fiscal Year 2019
 
 
 
 
Fourth Quarter
$
18.09

$
15.60

 
$
0.48

Third Quarter
$
17.60

$
14.51

 
$
0.48

Second Quarter
$
18.29

$
16.19

 
$
0.50

First Quarter
$
18.20

$
17.40

 
$
0.54

Fiscal Year 2018
 

 

 
 

Fourth Quarter
$
18.76

$
16.96

 
$
0.54

Third Quarter
$
19.72

$
18.51

 
$
0.54

Second Quarter
$
19.26

$
18.46

 
$
0.54

First Quarter
$
20.26

$
17.84

 
$
0.54

________________________________
1.Represents the sum of monthly dividends declared during each period presented.
We intend to pay dividends monthly to our common stockholders and to continue to qualify for the tax benefits accorded to a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code. We have not established a minimum dividend payment level and our ability to pay dividends may be adversely affected for the reasons described under the caption "Risk Factors." Additionally, holders of depositary shares underlying our preferred stock are entitled to receive cumulative cash dividends before holders of our common stock are entitled to receive any dividends. (For a description of our preferred stock please refer to Note 9 to the Consolidated Financial Statements included under Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K). All distributions to stockholders will be made at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend on our earnings, financial condition, maintenance of our REIT status and other factors as our Board of Directors may deem relevant from time to time.
The following table summarizes the tax characterization of dividends declared on our common stock for fiscal years 2019 and 2018:
 
 
 
 
Tax Characterization
 
 
Dividends Declared Per Share of Common Stock
 
Ordinary Income Per Share
 
Qualified Dividends
 
Long-Term Capital Gains Per Share
Non-Dividend Distributions 3
Section 199A Dividend 4
Fiscal Year 2019 1
 
$
2.02

 
$
1.159504

 
$

 
$

$
0.860496

$
1.159504

Fiscal Year 2018 2
 
$
2.16

 
$
1.127208

 
$

 
$

$
1.032792

$
1.127208

________________________________
1.
Includes dividends declared during the 12-month period ended November 30, 2019. The dividend of $0.16 per common share declared on December 10, 2019, which was paid on January 10, 2020, will be reported to stockholders as a fiscal year 2020 distribution for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
2.
Includes dividends declared during the 12-month period ended November 30, 2018.
3.
Also referred to as a "return of capital." Represents dividends paid in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profit, or "E&P," which is a tax-based measure calculated by adjusting taxable income for items that are treated differently for E&P purposes, such as utilization of net capital loss carryforwards. A return of capital reduces the basis of a stockholder's investment in our common stock to the extent of such basis and is treated as capital gain thereafter.
4.
Twenty percent of Section 199A dividends may be deducted in computing a U.S. non-corporate investor’s taxable income. The deduction is subject to certain limitations calculated based on an investor’s taxable ordinary income. For detailed rules regarding the section 199A deduction, stockholders should consult with their tax advisors.


25



Our stock transfer agent and registrar is Computershare Investor Services. Requests for information from Computershare can be sent to Computershare Investor Services, P.O. Box 43078, Providence, RI 02940-3078 and their telephone number is 1-800-733-5001.
 Equity Compensation Plan Information
 
The following table summarizes information, as of December 31, 2019, concerning shares of our common stock authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plans, pursuant to which grants of equity-based awards, namely restricted stock units ("RSUs"), may be granted from time to time. See "Item 8. Financial Statements" for a description of our equity compensation plans.
Plan Category
 
Number of securities to be issued upon exercise of outstanding options, warrants
and rights 1
 
Weighted average exercise price of outstanding options, warrants and rights
 
Number of securities remaining available for future issuance under equity compensation plans (excluding securities reflected in the first column of this table) 2
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders
 
3,440,135
 
$

 
6,413,631
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
 
 

 
Total
 
3,440,135
 
$

 
6,413,631
________________________________
1.
Includes (i) unvested time and performance-based RSU awards (unvested performance-based awards assume the maximum payout under the terms of the award); (ii) outstanding previously vested awards, if distribution of such awards has been deferred beyond the vesting date; and (iii) accrued dividend equivalent units on items (i) and (ii) through December 31, 2019.
2.
Available shares are reduced by items (i), (ii) and (iii) noted above and by shares issued for vested awards, net of units withheld to cover minimum statutory tax withholding requirements paid by us in cash on behalf of the employee.

Performance Graph
 
The following graph and table compare a stockholder's cumulative total return, assuming $100 invested at December 31, 2014, with the reinvestment of all dividends, as if such amounts had been invested in: (i) our common stock; (ii) the stocks included in the Standard & Poor's 500 Stock Index ("S&P 500"); (iii) the stocks included in the FTSE NAREIT Mortgage REIT Index; (iv) an index of selected issuers in our peer group, composed of Annaly Capital Management, Inc., Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation, Capstead Mortgage Corporation and Armour Residential REIT, Inc, (collectively, the "Agency REIT Peer Group (old)"); and (v) an updated index of peers adding Two Harbors Investment Corp, Invesco Mortgage Capital, Inc and Dynex Capital, Inc, to Agency REIT Peer Group (old) (collectively, the "Agency REIT Peer Group (new)").


26



https://cdn.kscope.io/8c055245ca09b8f295a478a3d0f231b9-chart-93ed8466c1119f424ed.jpg
________________________________
*$100 invested on 12/31/14 in stock or index, including reinvestment of dividends.
Fiscal year ending December 31.
Copyright © 2020 S&P, a division of S&P Global. All rights reserved.

 
 
 
December 31,
 
 
2019
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
AGNC Investment Corp.
 
$
145.55

 
$
128.44

 
$
131.74

 
$
106.50

 
$
90.11

S&P 500
 
$
173.86

 
$
132.23

 
$
138.29

 
$
113.51

 
$
101.38

FTSE NAREIT Mortgage REITs
 
$
158.60

 
$
130.71

 
$
134.10

 
$
111.95

 
$
91.12

Agency REIT Peer Group (old) 1
 
$
143.30

 
$
133.76

 
$
146.12

 
$
114.20

 
$
95.07

Agency REIT Peer Group (new) 1
 
$
148.74

 
$
132.34

 
$
145.14

 
$
113.36

 
$
93.51

________________________________
1.Agency REIT Peer Group annual return is calculated on a weighted basis by market cap at the end of the previous year.

 
The information in the share performance graph and table has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but neither its accuracy nor its completeness can be guaranteed. The historical information set forth above is not necessarily indicative of future performance. Accordingly, we do not make or endorse any predictions as to future share performance.  


27



Item 6. Selected Financial Data

The following selected financial data is derived from our annual financial statements for the five years ended December 31, 2019. The selected financial data should be read in conjunction with the more detailed information contained in Item 8. Financial Statements and Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K:
($ in Millions, Except Per Share Amounts)
 
December 31,
Balance Sheet Data
 
2019
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
Investment securities, at fair value
 
$
100,442

 
$
84,287

 
$
57,080

 
$
46,499

 
$
52,473

Total assets
 
$
113,082

 
$
109,241

 
$
70,376

 
$
56,880

 
$
57,021

Repurchase agreements and other debt
 
$
89,410

 
$
75,992

 
$
50,653

 
$
41,355

 
$
46,102

Total liabilities
 
$
102,041

 
$
99,335

 
$
61,622

 
$
49,524

 
$
49,050

Total stockholders' equity
 
$
11,041

 
$
9,906

 
$
8,754

 
$
7,356

 
$
7,971

Net book value per common share 1
 
$
18.63

 
$
17.54

 
$
21.09

 
$
21.17

 
$
22.59

Tangible net book value per common share 2
 
$
17.66

 
$
16.56

 
$
19.69

 
$
19.50

 
N/A

 
 
Fiscal Year
Statement of Comprehensive Income Data
 
2019
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
Interest income
 
$
2,842

 
$
1,949

 
$
1,293

 
$
1,321

 
$
1,466

Interest expense
 
2,149

 
1,173

 
524

 
394

 
330

Net interest income
 
693

 
776

 
769

 
927

 
1,136

Other gain (loss), net
 
78

 
(547
)
 
75

 
(199
)
 
(782
)
Operating expenses
 
83

 
100

 
73

 
105

 
139

Net income
 
688

 
129

 
771

 
623

 
215

Dividends on preferred stock
 
54

 
36

 
32

 
28

 
28

Issuance cost of redeemed preferred stock
 
6

 

 
6

 

 

Net income available to common stockholders
 
$
628

 
$
93

 
$
733

 
$
595

 
$
187

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income (loss)
 
$
688

 
$
129

 
$
771

 
$
623

 
$
215

Other comprehensive income (loss), net
 
1,040

 
(598
)
 
52

 
(331
)
 
(496
)
Comprehensive income (loss)
 
1,728

 
(469
)
 
823

 
292

 
(281
)
Dividends on preferred stock
 
54

 
36

 
32

 
28

 
28

Issuance cost of redeemed preferred stock
 
6

 

 
6

 

 

Comprehensive income (loss) available (attributable) to common stockholders
 
$
1,668

 
$
(505
)
 
$
785

 
$
264

 
$
(309
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding - basic
 
540.6

 
441.1

 
358.6

 
331.9

 
348.6

Weighted average number of common shares outstanding - diluted
 
541.4

 
441.4

 
358.7

 
331.9

 
348.6

Net income per common share - basic
 
$
1.16

 
$
0.21

 
$
2.04

 
$
1.79

 
$
0.54

Net income per common share - diluted
 
$
1.16

 
$
0.21

 
$
2.04

 
$
1.79

 
$
0.54

Comprehensive income (loss) per common share - basic
 
$
3.09

 
$
(1.14
)
 
$
2.19

 
$
0.80

 
$
(0.89
)
Comprehensive income (loss) per common share - diluted
 
$
3.08

 
$
(1.14
)
 
$
2.19

 
$
0.80

 
$
(0.89
)
Dividends declared per common share
 
$
2.00

 
$
2.16

 
$
2.16

 
$
2.30

 
$
2.48


28



 
 
Fiscal Year
Other Data (Unaudited) *
 
2019
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
Average investment securities - at par
 
$
89,234

 
$
60,733

 
$
45,198

 
$
47,101

 
$
51,759

Average investment securities - at cost
 
$
92,207

 
$
63,348

 
$
47,330

 
$
49,268

 
$
54,019

Net TBA dollar roll position - at par (as of period end)
 
$
7,322

 
$
7,152

 
$
15,474

 
$
10,916

 
$
7,295

Net TBA dollar roll position - at cost (as of period end)
 
$
7,404

 
$
7,252

 
$
15,739

 
$
11,312

 
$
7,430

Net TBA dollar roll position - at market value (as of period end)
 
$
7,429

 
$
7,322

 
$
15,742

 
$
11,165

 
$
7,444

Net TBA dollar roll position - at carrying value (as of period end) 3
 
$
25

 
$
70

 
$
3

 
$
(147
)
 
$
14

Average net TBA portfolio - at cost
 
$
9,262

 
$
14,697

 
$
16,859

 
$
10,329

 
$
7,547

Average total assets - at fair value
 
$
110,112

 
$
79,094

 
$
58,727

 
$
56,931

 
$
63,674

Average repurchase agreements and other debt outstanding 4
 
$
86,231

 
$
55,592

 
$
41,942

 
$
44,566

 
$
48,641

Average stockholders' equity 5
 
$
10,380

 
$
9,050

 
$
7,933

 
$
7,718

 
$
8,817

Average tangible net book value "at risk" leverage 6
 
9.7:1

 
8.3:1

 
8.0:1

 
7.5:1

 
6.4:1

Tangible net book value "at risk" leverage (as of period end) 7
 
9.4:1

 
9.0:1

 
8.1:1

 
7.7:1

 
6.8:1

Economic return on tangible common equity 8
 
18.7
%
 
(4.9
)%
 
12.1
%
 
3.9
%
 
(2.6
)%
Expenses % of average total assets 9
 
0.08
%
 
0.09
 %
 
0.12
%
 
0.17
%
 
0.22
 %
Expenses % of average assets, including average net TBA position 9
 
0.07
%
 
0.08
 %
 
0.09
%
 
0.14
%
 
0.20
 %
Expenses % of average stockholders' equity 9
 
0.80
%
 
0.81
 %
 
0.92
%
 
1.24
%
 
1.58
 %
________________________________
* Except as noted below, average numbers for each period are weighted based on days on our books and records.
1.
Net book value per common share is calculated as total stockholders' equity, less preferred stock liquidation preference, divided by number of common shares outstanding as of period end.
2.
Tangible net book value per common share excludes goodwill and other intangible assets.
3.
The carrying value of our net TBA position represents the difference between the market value and the cost basis of the TBA contract as of period-end and is reported in derivative assets/(liabilities), at fair value on our accompanying consolidated balances sheets.
4.
Amount excludes U.S. Treasury repurchase agreements and TBA contracts. Other debt includes debt of consolidated VIEs.
5.
Average stockholders' equity calculated as average month-ended stockholders' equity during the period.
6.
Average tangible net book value "at risk" leverage is calculated by dividing the sum of daily weighted average mortgage borrowings outstanding (Agency and non-Agency MBS repurchase agreements, other debt and TBA securities (at cost)) for the period by the sum of average stockholders' equity adjusted to exclude goodwill and other intangible assets for the period. Leverage excludes U.S. Treasury repurchase agreements.
7.
"At risk" leverage as of period end is calculated by dividing the sum of mortgage borrowings outstanding and receivable/payable for unsettled investment securities as of period end (at cost) by the sum of total stockholders' equity adjusted to exclude goodwill and other intangible assets as of period end. Leverage excludes U.S. Treasury repurchase agreements.
8.
Economic return on tangible common equity represents the sum of the change in tangible net book value per common share and dividends declared per share of common stock during the period over beginning tangible net book value per common share.
9.
Expenses for fiscal year 2018 and 2016 have been adjusted to exclude one-time or non-recurring expenses. Fiscal year 2018 adjusted expenses exclude $27 million of non-recurring expenses associated with the sale of MTGE Investment Corp., an entity we previously managed, and corresponding termination of MTGE's management agreement. Excluded amounts include the write-off of our intangible asset associated with our acquisition of the MTGE management agreement and other miscellaneous expenses. Fiscal year 2016 adjusted expenses exclude $9 million of one-time expenses associated with our acquisition of AMM.
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations ("MD&A") is designed to provide a reader of AGNC Investment Corp.'s consolidated financial statements with a narrative from the perspective of management and should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our MD&A is presented in eight sections:
Executive Overview
Financial Condition
Summary of Critical Accounting Estimates
Results of Operations
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
Aggregate Contractual Obligations
Forward-Looking Statements

29



EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW
We are an internally managed REIT. We commenced operations on May 20, 2008 following the completion of our initial public offering. Our common stock is traded on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "AGNC."
As a REIT, we are required to distribute annually 90% of our taxable income. As a REIT, we will generally not be subject to U.S. federal or state corporate taxes on our taxable income to the extent that we distribute all our annual taxable income to our stockholders on a timely basis. It is our intention to distribute 100% of our taxable income within the time limits prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code, which may extend into the subsequent taxable year.
We invest primarily in Agency RMBS on a leveraged basis. These investments consist of residential mortgage pass-through securities and collateralized mortgage obligations for which the principal and interest payments are guaranteed by a U.S. Government-sponsored enterprise, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or by a U.S. Government agency, such as Ginnie Mae. We also invest in other types of mortgage and mortgage-related residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities where repayment of principal and interest is not guaranteed by a GSE or U.S. Government agency and in other investments in, or related to, the housing, mortgage or real estate markets.
Our principal objective is to provide our stockholders with attractive risk-adjusted returns through a combination of monthly dividends and tangible net book value accretion. We generate income from the interest earned on our investments, net of associated borrowing and hedging costs, and net realized gains and losses on our investment and hedging activities. We fund our investments primarily through borrowings structured as repurchase agreements.
The size and composition of our investment portfolio depends on the investment strategies we implement, availability of attractively priced investments, suitable financing to appropriately leverage our investment portfolio and overall market conditions. Market conditions are influenced by a variety of factors, including interest rates, prepayment expectations, liquidity, housing prices, unemployment rates, general economic conditions, government participation in the mortgage market, regulations and relative returns on other assets.

Trends and Recent Market Impacts
Global equity and bond markets finished fiscal year 2019 on a positive note, as signs of stabilization in global economic growth and prospects of a “Phase 1” trade deal between the U.S. and China emerged. Notwithstanding the strong end to 2019, concerns over slower growth and trade tensions contributed to periods of pronounced interest rate volatility during the year, with the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rate declining from 2.68% at the start of the year to a multi-year low of 1.42%, before closing the year at 1.92%. Many major central banks responded to the growing global growth concerns by lowering short-term rates as well as implementing other forms of monetary policy accommodation during the year.
For its part, the U.S. Federal Reserve pivoted sharply from its campaign of raising short-term interest rates at the end of 2018 and, for the first time since 2008, lowered the federal funds target rate by 25 basis point rate cuts at each of its July, September, and October 2019 meetings. In August 2019, the Fed also suspended the runoff of its U.S. Treasury portfolio and began redeploying up to $20 billion per month of paydowns from its Agency RMBS portfolio into Treasury securities and reinvesting paydowns in excess of $20 billion into Agency RMBS, maintaining a larger balance sheet than the market had previously anticipated. Notwithstanding the Fed’s more accommodative stance, repo rates remained elevated throughout the year compared to other short-term rates, and, in September, disruptions in the repo market led to a large spike in overnight rates. In response, the Fed reinstituted daily open market repurchase operations at the end of the third quarter, thereby adding significant liquidity to the repo market. In October, the Fed announced additional measures to further stabilize the funding markets through monthly purchases of Treasury bills and an increase to its overnight and term open market operations. Together, these actions added in excess of $400 billion of liquidity to the system as of the end of 2019. The Fed also announced that it would continue its monthly U.S. Treasury purchase program and its open market repurchase operations through the first half of 2020. Although specific future Fed actions, including continuation of these or other additional efforts, are uncertain, its actions added stability to the overnight repo markets at the end of December 2019, and, as such, we expect repo funding will return to more normal levels relative to the federal funds rate in 2020.
U.S. equities and other risk assets performed well during the year, reaching new highs as greater central bank accommodation outweighed concerns over global economic weakness. The performance of Agency RMBS, however, was mixed. During the first quarter, Agency RMBS outperformed U.S. Treasury and interest rate swap hedges but underperformed in the second and third quarters due to elevated prepayment concerns and a flattening yield curve. Late in the fourth quarter, the combination of easing trade tensions, increasing monetary accommodation and diminished prepayment concerns resulting from rising interest rates drove mortgage spreads meaningfully tighter and reversed much of the spread widening from the prior two quarters.

30



Despite these challenging conditions, our tangible economic return for the year was 18.7%, consisting of a $1.10 increase in tangible net book value per common share and $2.00 of dividends per common for the year. Asset selection and hedge repositioning drove much of our strong performance for the year.
Prepayment risk in the Agency RMBS market increased significantly over the course of the year as interest rates fell. A large percentage of our portfolio, however, consisted of specified Agency RMBS with favorable attributes that reduce the likelihood of prepayment. As a result, these assets meaningfully outperformed other more generic Agency RMBS. In addition, we proactively reduced our holdings of higher coupon, generic Agency RMBS in favor of lower coupon RMBS, which significantly reduced our exposure to faster prepayments while also taking advantage of compelling valuations.
On the hedge side, we increased our interest rate hedges from 77% of our aggregate funding liabilities as of the start of the year to 102% at year-end. We also adjusted the duration and composition of our hedge portfolio, taking advantage of material repricing events in the interest rate swap market during the year. As a result, despite significant interest rate volatility, our duration gap, which is a measure of the mismatch between the interest sensitivity of our assets and liabilities, inclusive of interest rate hedges, remained relatively stable during year and was 0.4 years as of December 31, 2019, compared to 0.2 years as of December 31, 2018. (For additional information regarding our interest rate and spread sensitivity please refer to Item 3. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk of this Form 10-K.)
Our net spread and dollar roll income (a non-GAAP measure) was $1.97 per common share for the year, compared to $2.40 per common share for 2018. Excluding "catch-up" premium amortization, net spread and dollar roll income was $2.16 per common share for the year, a decline from $2.35 per common share for 2018 largely due to higher funding costs resulting from multiple Fed rate hikes in prior years and persistently elevated repo funding costs during 2019. Our net interest spread, which represents the difference in the yield on our assets (excluding “catch-up” amortization and including TBA securities) and our cost of funds, was 1.18% for 2019, compared to 1.27% for 2018. (For additional information regarding non-GAAP measures and reconciliations to the the most comparable GAAP measure please refer to Results of Operations later within this MD&A.)
Our average forecasted portfolio CPR as of December 31, 2019 was 10.8%, an increase from 7.9%, consistent with the decline in longer-term rates. Our actual portfolio CPR averaged 11.4% for the year, an increase from 8.7% for 2018 but well below prepayment rates observed on other generic, higher coupon Agency RMBS. Our tangible net book value "at risk" leverage increased to 9.4x as of December 31, 2019, from 9.0x as of December 31, 2018, and averaged 9.7x for the year, compared to 8.3x for 2018, as Agency RMBS valuations relative to interest rate hedges during the year enhanced our expected risk-adjusted returns.




31



Market Information
The following table summarizes interest rates and prices of generic fixed rate Agency RMBS as of each date presented below:
Interest Rate/Security Price 1
 
Dec. 31, 2018
 
Mar. 31, 2019
 
June 30, 2019
 
Sept. 30, 2019
 
Dec. 31, 2019
 
Dec. 31, 2019
vs
Dec. 31, 2018
Target Federal Funds Rate:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Target Federal Funds Rate - Upper Band
 
2.50%
 
2.50%
 
2.50%
 
2.00%
 
1.75%
 
-0.75

bps
LIBOR:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1-Month
 
2.50%
 
2.49%
 
2.40%
 
2.02%
 
1.76%
 
-0.74

bps
3-Month
 
2.81%
 
2.60%
 
2.32%
 
2.09%
 
1.91%
 
-0.90

bps
U.S. Treasury Security Rate:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2-Year U.S. Treasury
 
2.49%
 
2.26%
 
1.75%
 
1.62%
 
1.57%
 
-0.92

bps
5-Year U.S. Treasury
 
2.51%
 
2.23%
 
1.77%
 
1.54%
 
1.69%
 
-0.82

bps
10-Year U.S. Treasury
 
2.68%
 
2.41%
 
2.01%
 
1.66%
 
1.92%
 
-0.76

bps
30-Year U.S. Treasury
 
3.01%
 
2.81%
 
2.53%
 
2.11%
 
2.39%
 
-0.62

bps
Interest Rate Swap Rate:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2-Year Swap
 
2.66%
 
2.38%
 
1.81%
 
1.63%
 
1.70%
 
-0.96

bps
5-Year Swap
 
2.57%
 
2.28%
 
1.77%
 
1.50%
 
1.73%
 
-0.84

bps
10-Year Swap
 
2.71%
 
2.41%
 
1.96%
 
1.56%
 
1.90%
 
-0.81

bps
30-Year Swap
 
2.84%
 
2.58%
 
2.21%
 
1.71%
 
2.09%
 
-0.75

bps
30-Year Fixed Rate Agency Price:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3.0%
 
$97.54
 
$99.55
 
$100.84
 
$101.51
 
$101.42