Ocwen Financial Corporation (NYSE: OCN), parent company of top 10 lender Liberty Reverse Mortgage, announced this week that its president and CEO, Glen Messina, has been named chair of its board. Messina replaces Phyllis Caldwell as board chair and will continue to serve as president and CEO of the company.
Caldwell will remain on the board as an independent director and will run for re-election at the company’s next annual meeting, according to a statement.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Phyllis for her many contributions and dedication to the Company as Board Chair,” Messina said. “Ocwen has benefited tremendously from her deep expertise, decisive leadership, integrity and passion for what we do, and I am grateful she will continue serving on our Board.”
Messina also looked forward, stating that the company’s “balanced and diversified business model” will continue to provide value for all stakeholders, including shareholders, customers and employees. He has said in the past, that Liberty contributes to the diversified model.
Ocwen has endured financial challenges over the past few years, but Messina has remained a proponent for its Liberty Reverse Mortgage arm, a division of Ocwen’s PHH Mortgage Corp. Despite the challenging Q3 2022 for the mortgage market, Messina said the challenges and opportunities in the reverse mortgage business are key to Ocwen’s portfolio diversity in the months and years ahead.
“I could tell you, coming back from the MBA conference we were just at two weeks ago, [we saw] a lot of interest on the part of our forward clients about the reverse product,” Messina said during a Q3 2022 earnings call with shareholders. “We have a group called Liberty Academy, which trains people on how to sell the reverse product. And again, having the capability to buy the asset as well as service it or sub-service it, as the case may be, really allows us to be in a position [to provide] an end-to-end solution to those forward providers who are looking to get into the reverse space.”
In the earnings call for Q2 2022, Messina described the long-term prospects for Liberty and the industry in favorable terms — even as higher interest rates impacted origination volume across the mortgage business.
“Long term, we still like the reverse market,” he said in August 2022. “Demographic trends remain favorable, with 12,000 people turning age 65 every day. Senior home equity is at record levels, with over $11 trillion at the end of the first quarter, an increase of over $500 billion versus the fourth quarter of 2021.”
According to annual reverse mortgage origination data compiled by Reverse Market Insight (RMI), Liberty was the sixth-largest reverse mortgage lender in the nation in 2022, with 3,807 endorsements in the 12-month period ending in December 2022.