March Retail Leaders

At long last, endorsements are finally starting to show the spike in volumes from the $417k Loan Limit increase. Endorsement volume set a new record in March at 11,261 – up 24% from February and easily besting the old record of 10,913 set in February 2008. Given the trends we have seen in application volume, we would expect the strong numbers to continue for another month or two.

Highlights:

  • Market Concentration: Top 10 lenders continued to take share from the rest of the marketplace in March, generating 43% of volume year to date, up almost 5 points from last year’s 38.1% reading. This seems pretty intuitive given that almost every major change in the industry over the past year has been disproportionately rough on the little guys. From Fannie Mae’s live pricing and hedging implications, margin increases, warehouse lending stresses and implementation of HVCC – the one thing these have in common is that larger institutions were typically better equipped to handle the changes. Now we’re finally seeing the numbers reflect the new reality and only time will tell if and when the tide might turn again.
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  • Regional Mix: If you’ve been paying attention to what’s happening in Florida’s HECM market lately, you might be getting a distinct sense of deja vu. We certainly do, having watched California’s loan volumes decline and lender competition continue to increase for two years running. Now that California appears to be bottoming out, Florida is showing that same disastrous trend. On the brighter side, Northwest/Alaska is the only region in the country with loans rising faster than lenders.
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  • Good Markets:
    • Take a look at San Francisco‘s results lately as increased lending limits appear to be working wonders there. Loan volume up 59% with a 1% decline in competing lenders.. That has to be the best story in California in at least two years.
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    • Texas continues to impress with several healthy markets and the strongest loan per lender reading as a region (Southwest). The loans might be smaller in Texas, but many lenders are making it work well for them by watching expenses and closely managing marketing results.
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    • Caribbean is off the charts on a loans per lender basis, at almost 28 deals per lender on average and up from last year. If you’ve never been to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, now might be the time to head over there and take a tax deductible working vacation…

Lots more in the full report below, and don’t be shy to check out our retail reporting if you’re wondering how to use information to drive increased results in your business.

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