February’s Reverse Mortgage Volume Dips 4%, Maverick Funding Bucks Trend

With just two months in the books for 2015, reverse mortgage volume has dipped from its flat start to the year to a slight decline in February, according to the latest data from Reverse Market Insight (RMI).

Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsements hiccuped 0.1% in January from the prior month, before falling 4% in February to 4,747 loans. When comparing volume from the same period a year ago, endorsements in February 2015 are down 8.1% from their February 2014 tally of 5,166 loans.

February’s decline was driven primarily by seven of the 10 regions tracked by RMI reporting decreases in HECM endorsements.

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Notable increases came from the Great Plains region, which gained 19.8% to lead all regions and reach its highest volume since October at 133 loans in February.

The Northwest/Alaska region also experienced significant growth during February, jumping 17.3% in the month to 224 loans. Meanwhile, the Southwest — the third region to post a gain in February — grew approximately 6% to 587 loans, up from 554 the previous month.

New England and the Southeast/Caribbean regions experienced the largest HECM endorsement declines in February, reporting 173 and 853 loans, reflecting monthly decreases of 19.5% and 12.2%, respectively.

The Pacific/Hawaii region dipped roughly 7% during the month as it reported 1,181 loans, down from 1,269 loans in January.

But whereas the majority of the top regions posted declines for February, the month was one of notable growth for most of the top-10 reverse mortgage lenders — namely, Maverick Funding Corp.

Maverick reported 115 loans in February, a whopping 71.6% increase from its January total of 115 units and the company’s highest total since June 2013, according to RMI-tracked data. The company holds down the number 10 spot among lenders.

Also reporting significant growth in February, Live Well Financial’s 150 loans represents a 41.5% increase from the 106 loans recorded in the prior month.

One Reverse Mortgage, Urban Financial of America and Liberty Home Equity Solutions reported endorsement growth as well during February, growing 8.7%, 3.9% and 2.3%, respectively.

Generation Mortgage Company also sprung back from nine loans recorded in January to 19 in February.

View the RMI data.

Written by Jason Oliva

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  • The endorsement news this month is not about how successful lenders were but rather why the losses of some lenders particularly Liberty and RMS were so bad. When things are as bad as they are, this is not the time to only show lenders which had significant increases. Those times have passed.

    The only thing which has happened since July of last year is the modification of the principal limit factors to the favor of most borrowers and the institution of the new NBS rules. With companies like AAG up 58% Year-To-Date (January and February only) as indicated by Reverse Marketing Insight, one has to wonder how Liberty could be down by almost the same percentage. RMS with the second largest endorsement total Year-To-Date (again January and February only) and the only mortgagee other than AAG with total endorsements for those two months of over 1,000 endorsements have a total Year-To-Date drop of over one-third.

    What is amazing is that some of us expected to see a slight uptick this fiscal year over last until about four months after the date that case numbers had to be assigned to avoid financial assessment. What we have seen is a good increase in the first quarter of this fiscal year but suddenly in this quarter endorsement totals are in decline.

    If case assignment date stays at 4/27/2015 for applicant financial assessment purposes, some of us are dreading the endorsement count for September 2015 when it is expected we will see the first impact of financial assessment on a full month of endorsements. Unfortunately October 2015 may be significantly worse.

    Optimism seems to be the rule of the day but unfortunately all it does is show how inadequate we are at dealing with reality. Let us not be pessimistic but neither let us be optimistic. We need to be realistic yet with a positive outlook for the future.

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