Impac Makes Move Into Reverse Mortgage Market

Citing the opportunity to gain market share in the wake of recent reverse mortgage lender exits, Irvine, Calif.-based Impac Mortgage said Friday it is getting into the business.

“Impac Mortgage is taking advantage of the growing trend in mortgage lending by expanding its operations, while other major financial institutions are exiting the marketplace,” the company said. “With major institutions exiting the Reverse Mortgage marketplace, Impac believes there exists a great opportunity to expand into a market that is very fragmented with no current lender enjoying more than 6% of the market.”

The new reverse mortgage division will be led by Richard Johnson and Frank Curry, who bring more than 50 years of combined mortgage experience.

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The company looked into getting into the reverse mortgage space several years ago, but without avail. Today it remains committed to growing its reverse mortgage arm strategically and carefully, says Impac President Bill Ashmore.

“What Impac has learned about re-entering the mortgage space is that the technical expertise required now is much much higher—whether forward or reverse,” he said.

With a current team of about a dozen loan originators, Ashmore says the team will grow in the coming months across its business channels.

First, it will offer reverse mortgages through its retail operations including a call center in Irvine, Calif. and through various branches across the Pacific Northwest and California and the 27 offices in 33 states where it is licensed. Eventually, Impac hopes to enter the wholesale and correspondent business with the the goal of becoming a Ginnie Mae HMBS issuer. Impac is an ongoing issuer on the forward side.

“We’re not doing this to do one or two loans per month,” Ashmore told RMD. “We’re not co-mingling with our forward business. Our reverse mortgage originators will be specific to the reverse business with the department covering sales, processing, underwriting and closing. This is a self-contained unit.”

The company is first focused on establishing itself in the market, he says, through hiring, direct marketing and through the use of its referral base and database of current customers.

“We are hiring both loan officers and operations staff. We are serious about our commitment here,” Ashmore said.

Impac Mortgage Holdings, Impac’s parent company, is a publicly held company offering wholesale and retail lending, portfolio recovery, multifamily and correspondent lending. It has been in the mortgage business since 1995 and is a Ginnie Mae-approved issuer for forward loans.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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  • What is Impac referring to when it comes to 6%, just retail?  Per the RMI lender report there are two lenders with over 6% of the total endorsements between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, one of which is over 8% but of course the RMI lender endorsement numbers include endorsements through wholesale operations.

    A lot of companies come into the industry with big ideas.  Impac itself once announced its entry only to back down. 

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