Like many companies in the traditional mortgage space this year, Guild Mortgage reported a financial loss in its first quarter 2023 earnings report. The company’s $37 million loss in Q1 was primarily driven by high interest rates and low levels of inventory, according to CEO Mary Ann McGarry.
Despite the loss in Q1, however, the company is looking ahead and is planning for the future with an expanded presence in the reverse mortgage business, made possible by the company’s recent acquisition of Cherry Creek Mortgage. While Guild has offered reverse mortgages in the past, the company is actively assessing its potential future in the space following the deal that closed in early April.
A path toward more reverse business
Guild President Terry Schmidt noted the impact the acquisition is expected to have on the overall company and its future positioning in the reverse mortgage market.
“Cherry Creek is another example of a synergistic acquisition, bringing a complementary business to Guild,” Schmidt said. “Cherry Creek has a similar experience to Guild, with a 36-year history of successfully managing through multiple cycles and focusing on its retail strategy and customer relationships.”
With 68 branches active across 45 states, the addition of Cherry Creek brings additional scale to Guild’s operations. In addition, the company hired a specialized reverse mortgage leadership team in late 2021, which is expected to play a role in the company’s plans.
“Cherry Creek has a strong reverse mortgage leadership team that has been in the industry for many years,” Schmidt said. “We believe having the ability to securitize and service reverse mortgages will continue to strengthen our product offerings and help us serve more customers.”
One way the company will accomplish this is by integrating reverse mortgage offerings into the company’s platform, Schmidt said.
“By integrating reverse mortgages into our traditional platform, we now offer our retail team the opportunity to have a more comprehensive offering for their customers, from products focused on the underserved and first-time homeowners, now through to reverse mortgages, aligning with our ‘customers for life’ strategy,” she said.
Increased reverse mortgage interest
An investor asked Schmidt and McGarry during the Q&A portion of the earnings call about the renewed interest in the reverse mortgage space. Schmidt said the company has been eying the space for a decade, but other priorities took precedence.
“But this opportunity with Cherry Creek came to us, and they’ve got some executives that have been in the industry for 20-plus years, [all of whom] have a great reputation,” Schmidt said. “Last year, they did about $250 million, and we think we can expand that dramatically. I would say we’re looking at probably the end of Q2 or Q3 to start expanding [reverse mortgages] in our own retail footprint. But, they’re already growing without our retail footprint, so we believe that there’s a lot of opportunity there.”
McGarry chimed in, noting that the product is likely to become more enticing as a business prospect — particularly as time goes on.
“What we see in our vision for reverse mortgage is with such a low weighted average coupon in our portfolio, this product will become more in-demand as you have an aging population,” she said. “And this way, they can tap into their equity and stay in their home, which is what we want: to help people stay in their homes as well as provide homeownership.”
Reverse mortgages will help to serve as an additional outlet, McGarry said — and function as a “lever” the company can pull to assist customers for longer stretches of time.
“We think there’s a good future, [and] a strong future ahead with reverse mortgages,” she said.