Look Out Below – HECM Lenders February 2012

Our first look at February HECM endorsements is here and it’s a positive story, although not one we expect to last too long. Endorsements were up 4.9% in February to 5,426 loans and the highest level of the past five months.

Six of the ten regions we track were up from January, with the biggest gainer being New York/New Jersey. Volume there was up 31.5% to 723 loans and the highest since last March. The region is led by New York City itself, up 6.1% from last year, while many of the surrounding areas in NJ and upstate NY are struggling thus far.

The top 8 lenders were evenly split, with four gaining and four declining. Growth was led by the First National Bank of Layton as it hit a new all time high in the month, and Genworth rising 66.6% to 643 loans.

Unfortunately, there is a dark cloud hanging over the growth as January case numbers issued suggest declines in the near future.

Case numbers issued tumbled -4.9% to 5,795, for the first time breaking the lows reached in October 2009 after the first principal limit reduction. To find a month with lower volume we have to go all the way back to May 2005.

Needless to say we can’t expect endorsements to keep going up with case numbers issued headed down, so it looks like tough sledding on the endorsement side for the next couple months at least.

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