Top Reverse Mortgage Lender Title: Now Up for Grabs

Lender rankings are front and center in the wake of large lender exits, as monthly industry reverse mortgage volume continues to struggle.

Currently, that ranking includes Urban Financial, Generation Mortgage, Genworth Financial, One Reverse Mortgage and American Advisors group for wholesale and retail combined volume over the past 12 months, with Security one Lending a very close No. 6, a Thursday Reverse Market Insight report shows.

In terms of overall industry volume, however, March saw the lowest reverse mortgage volume “in recent memory.” Down nearly 20% month over month to 4,374 loans, March represents the lowest monthly total since September 2005, RMI reports.

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Wholesale channels comprised a greater, “dramatic” decline when compared with retail, with wholesale dropping 26.6% and retail seeing a 12.8% decline. While the  wholesale versus retail pendulum has swung in both directions over the last year, retail remains the stronger channel overall at around 55%-60% of total volume.

But volume news aside, lender rankings are a new topic of discussion, with many gearing up to make a play at the top-10, RMI says. Previously, any lender averaging 100-plus loans per month made the ranks. In the first quarter, that number was even lower—65 monthly loans.

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View the RMI report.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • The graph clearly presents why it will be all but impossible to hit the same total industry endorsements this fiscal year as last.  Last fiscal year, the AVERAGE monthly total of endorsements was about 6,100.  In the last 12 months including April 2012 at 4,595 endorsements (not shown in graph), not one single month has reached 6,100 endorsements.  

    The industry is still in decline in comparison to the last half dozen fiscal years and looks like it will continue to do so for the remainder of this fiscal year and most likely, calendar year.

    What makes things even clearer is the total theoretical four month inventory of applicants with case numbers assigned as of April 1, 2012 is at the lowest level it has been in seven years at the same point in the fiscal year.  No one expects the case numbers assigned in May 2012 to be nearly as good as May 2011 when both Wells Fargo and MetLife were still taking applications but without either of them in the market now, how low will the case numbers assigned in May 2012 be?  

    It should be months before a clear endorsement leader emerges of the magnitude anything close to the monthly endorsement volume size of the former MetLife Bank.  Small endorsement differences of 200 or fewer endorsements per month between the new number one and number two will show that our market is still in flux.  It may take a year or longer for a clear number one leader to emerge.

    But the real question is WHEN the new number one will lead the industry into higher endorsement totals, higher Saver endorsements, and higher HECMs for purchase endorsements.  It is clear home appreciation is the key ingredient to turning things around but in a proactive sense, how long will it take for the number one leader to detect that long-term trend and react in front (or behind) of an actual monthly string of significant appreciation.  Leaders must lead or the industry will remain lackluster for far too long.

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