Reverse Mortgage Brokers Drive Industry Volume into Positive Growth Territory

Reverse mortgage brokers on the wholesale side of industry production helped boost Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) volume in October, driving endorsements up 15% during the month as retail production struggled, according to a recent analysis of industry volume by Reverse Market Insight (RMI).

With industry volume trending below 4,000 units per month for the better part of this year, October came in just under this threshold with a total of 3,912 HECM endorsements, representing a 4.7% increase from the previous month.

By channel, wholesale growth outshone the retail segment, which reported 2,159 loans for a monthly decrease of 2.7%, whereas wholesale originations were up 15.4% in October with 1,753 loans. Retail, however, continues to be larger than wholesale, at 55% of all volume in October, according to RMI’s analysis.

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October was a notable growth month for some reverse mortgage lenders, including Longbridge Financial, whose volume grew 190% from September to 58 loans.

The company, which ranked 11th by volume for the month of October, also reported the second-most wholesale units over the 12 months trailing October by adding 267 loans.

Topping the rankings for both the most wholesale and retail units added over the last 12 months trailing October was Synergy One Lending Inc. (d.b.a. Retirement Funding Solutions), which reported the addition of 572 wholesale loans and 1,038 retail loans during the period.

Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC trailed with 860 retail units added over the last 12 months, while Nationwide Equities Corporation followed close behind with 837 units; Reversemortgages.com with 571 loans; and HighTechLending Inc. with 266 retail units.

See where other lenders ranked through October 2016, including their retail and wholesale channel splits here.

Written by Jason Oliva

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  • Will wholesale grow to overtake retail? Not very soon. We are off to the worst start for a fiscal year since 2004 and blind optimism is somehow celebrating endorsements from our wholesale activities?

    We are being told by lender leadership even at NRMLA conventions that despite a larger and larger cohort of seniors turning 62 each year, the percentage of these seniors who own homes is shrinking. The amount of mortgage debt they bring is higher. Even the average age of the youngest borrower is not decreasing (as some falsely claim) but actually increased to 73 last fiscal year.

    Some defy the truth by declaring that the popularity of reverse mortgages is growing. Yet where is that popularity reflected? Last fiscal year ended with less than 49,000 endorsements.

    If the average age of the youngest age is rising, and the popularity of HECMs are falling, are our false claims instilling confidence in our core of originators? If building trust is our goal, to some it would seem just the opposite is being achieved.

    To bounce back from the endorsement collapse of the first three years following fiscal 2009 and stagnation with the smaller endorsement losses we have seen over the last four fiscal years, we need industry wide strategic planning. We need to find our flaws and inherent problems as an industry and correct them. But it does not seem we are ready to do at least as an industry.

    At one point, some in the industry glowed in the idea of cooperation and collaboration among lenders in growing out our customer base. In less than a year that naive glow was extinguished by the lack of both attributes among lenders. Those hoping for recovery from fiscal 2010 and beyond have seen their hopes continuously dashed. Rather than finding healthy and encouraging optimism in our ranks, we find a reactionary if not militaristic optimism in the industry today (something like be hopeful or get out).

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