A Bumpy Ride – HECM Lenders March 2012

We said last month that we didn’t expect endorsement volumes to continue their good times given the declines in case number assignments and this month underlined the point. March endorsements totaled 4,381 loans, down -19.3% and the lowest level since September 2005.

This marks the first time endorsements fell below the bottom of May 2010 after FHA’s October 2009 reduction in HECM principal limits. It makes perfect sense given that case numbers issued in January fell to the lowest level since May 2005, but we’d also expect at least one more month of similarly low (and probably lower) volume before February’s bounce in case numbers issued resuscitates endorsements a bit.

The above chart shows this is not a seasonality nor business day related drop, as the pattern for Jan/Feb follows the past 2 years closely but is simply shifted downward.

Turning to the report details, the decline in endorsements was broad based as all ten regions saw a decline of -11% or more from Feb. Among lenders, the only top 10 lender showing a gain was American Advisors Group, up 28% and showing the second highest total in its history.

Click on the image below for this month’s report.