Holding Steady – HECM Lenders August 2012

HECM endorsements were up 6.6% in August to 4,122 loans, bouncing back from a level not seen in many years but still the second lowest reading in the past 12 months.

Volume was up in every region except Rocky Mountain, which dropped 1.1%. Leading the way was Southeast/Caribbean up 10.5% from July.

Among lenders, we saw Metlife effectively drop out of the volume rankings as we predicted based on their April exit announcement. The 7 lenders among the top 10 still active in the industry all saw their volumes increase from last month, with exceptionally strong increases from American Advisors Group (up 117%) and Security One Lending (up 46.3%).

We also noticed that July case numbers issued continued the modestly positive trend we’ve seen since April and thought this a good time to make an observation and ask a question.

  • First, we think it’s worth pointing out that while no one questions that the industry overall is still in a declining volume period, July’s figure of 7,374 case numbers issued was down just -3.5% from July 2011. This is a particularly interesting comparison since it presents the first picture of how much Metlife’s exit has affected the industry’s earliest leading indicator of volume. We never rely too heavily on one data point for conclusions, but that seems like a pretty good performance given that Metlife’s retail channel was 17.5% of industry endorsements Nov 2011-June 2012. This suggests 80% of Metlife’s retail volume is now being generated by other lenders, a much higher retention figure than Wells and BofA exits (likely for reasons we outlined last month).
  • Second, we’re curious what you think of the drop in case numbers issued for Dec 2011 and Jan 2012? The further we get from those months with consistent results in the neighborhood of 7,000 cases issued, the more it looks like those months were an aberration but we’re having trouble remembering any specific events that would explain it. We’re sure the answer is out there and our readers are the best source of on the ground intel around. So what do you think? Email us your answer or put it in our contact form.

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