Reverse Mortgage Servicer Champion Has New Corporate Parent

Champion Mortgage’s parent company completed its merger last week, bringing the reverse mortgage servicer under a new corporate umbrella.

WMIH Inc. (Nasdaq: WMIH) formally acquired Nationstar Mortgage, the originations and servicing conglomerate that has owned Champion since 2007. Under the terms of the deal, the Coppell, Texas-based Nationstar will emerge as the nominal survivor of the deal, with the newly combined company eventually adopting the name Mr. Cooper Group Inc. — a nod to the company’s new forward-mortgage branding.

“We are pleased to complete this merger and begin our next phase of growth as an even stronger company, well-positioned to capitalize on the trends in the housing market and build on our leadership in the industry,” CEO Jay Bray said in a statement announcing the completed merger; formerly Nationstar’s chief, Bray will stay on to lead the combined company.

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Shareholders of both firms overwhelmingly approved the merger agreement at the end of June.

Speaking on Nationstar’s quarterly earnings call in July, Bray described the current state of the reverse mortgage servicing market as “a smaller pond” than its other business lines, and said any expansion of its reverse holdings would be performed largely on an opportunistic basis.

“It’s just such a smaller pond, right?” he said. “If you step back and think about what’s going on in that business, you’ve seen originations shrink dramatically, which we think were prudent steps taken on the origination side of the market. And so it’s just a smaller pond.”

WMIH was the successor company to Washington Mutual, Inc., the former banking giant that failed in the midst of the Great Recession in 2008.

The combined firm will trade under the WMIH symbol on the Nasdaq for the time being, with a planned shift to the new symbol COOP.

Written by Alex Spanko

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