Reverse mortgage wholesale volume bounced back to end 2015 on a positive note. But although total endorsement counts were less than what some industry leaders expected, 2015 was a big growth year for several reverse mortgage lenders on both the wholesale and retail sides.
Overall, Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsements totaled 56,363 units in 2015, according to the latest full-year industry data tracked by Reverse Market Insight. By channel, this grand total comprised 31,878 retail and 24,485 wholesale endorsements from January through December.
Compared to 2014, endorsements were higher on all fronts in 2015; rising 6.4% year-over-year on the whole, driven by a 6.8% increase on the retail side and 5.9% for the wholesale channel.
Several lenders, including those outside of the industry’s top-10 rankings, experienced substantial gains last year. While some saw their retail and wholesale volumes increase by more than 10%, others doubled their endorsement levels over the previous year.
In terms of retail performance by unit growth, Reverse Mortgage Funding led the way. Throughout 2015, the company reported a total of 3,450 HECM endorsements, of which 1,266 were retail units. Over the course of 2015, RMF added 999 retail units, giving the company a 374.2% increase in its retail endorsements compared to 2014.
RMF also saw sizable growth in its wholesale channel during the year to effectively rank third among lenders in terms of wholesale unit growth. In 2015, RMF added 743 wholesale units, representing an increase of 51.6% over 2014’s volume.
Industry leader American Advisors Group (AAG), which ranked first overall for retail with 10,907 HECM endorsements in 2015, followed RMF when judging retail by unit growth. During the year, the company added 991 units to its retail segment, a 10% year-over-year increase.
AAG, which ended 2015 with 14,569 HECM endorsements, also reported the third-largest wholesale volume during the year with 3,662 units.
Also going strong in 2015 was Live Well Financial, Inc., which ranked seventh overall and was among the top reverse mortgage lenders for both retail and wholesale unit growth.
Live Well added 678 retail units in 2015, an increase of 248.4% compared to the same 12-month period in 2014. On the wholesale side, the company reported the addition of 910 units during the year, an even 81% more than it did compared to on year ago.
In terms of wholesale unit growth, Live Well ranked second only to Finance of America Reverse (formerly Urban Financial of America), which led the way by adding 1,042 wholesale units throughout the course of 2015.
Finance of America Reverse also held down its position as the top industry wholesaler with 5,835 units during 2015. Overall, the company’s wholesale volume represented approximately 79% of its total endorsement volume of 7,344 units.
Home Point Financial Corporation, which ranked fourth among lenders for wholesale unit growth, added 394 units in this channel during 2015, bringing its full-year tally to 1,278 total HECM endorsements—of which 758 are wholesale and 520 retail.
Beyond the top-10 industry lenders, others, including Synergy One Lending, Nationwide Equities Corporation and United Northern Mortgage Bankers also joined the ranks for their retail and wholesale growth during 2015.
Synergy One, which ranked fourth among the top-5 lenders for retail unit growth, reported an increase of 523 retail units throughout 2015, whereas Nationwide Equities followed with 272 retail units added during the year.
Meanwhile, United Northern Mortgage Bankers rounded out the top-5 lenders for wholesale unit growth. During the year, the company added 329 units to its wholesale channel, representing an increase of 117.9% compared to the same 12-month period a year ago.
View the RMI data to see the full lender rankings throughout 2015 for both retail and wholesale channels.
Written by Jason Oliva