What is a Mortgage Cash Flow Obligation (MCFO)?

A mortgage cash flow obligation (MCFO) is a debt security that uses payments on a series of mortgages to fund principal and interest payments to MCFO holders.

How Does a Mortgage Cash Flow Obligation (MCFO) Work?

An MCFO pays interest and principal payments at a specified rate similar to a bond. Monthly payments from a pool of underlying mortgages are bundled together and then used to make principal and interest payments on the MCFO. The MCFOs are unsecured and are issued in a range of classes, or tranches, that vary in risk.

Why Does a Mortgage Cash Flow Obligation (MCFO) Matter?

It is important not to confuse MCFOs with collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs). The two securities function in a similar manner, but CMOs have direct liens on the underlying mortgages (meaning the underlying mortgages are collateral for the CMOs). MCFOs are simply a contract -- MCFO owners have no legal rights to the actual underlying mortgages, meaning that all else being equal, MCFOs are riskier than CMOs.