Retail Leaders – April 2010

As we saw last month, the downtrend in application numbers is finally starting to significantly impact endorsement numbers. That trend has continued in April, with overall industry numbers down to 5,511 units, dropping 5.3% from March.

Thankfully (if you’re among the survivors), there was an even greater decline in active lenders (down 7%) that translates to an almost imperceptible uptick in average loans per lender. It’s nothing to write home about, but at least it’s helping keep some heads above the water.

  • Several regions saw modest volume increases in April, including the Mid Atlantic region that includes Baltimore. If you missed our prior newsletters about what’s occurring in the Orioles’ city and what might be driving the numbers, check out our prior pieces here and here)
  • Midwest and Great Plains also showed strength, but their relatively low volumes couldn’t make up for significant declines in Pacific/Hawaii and NY/NJ
  • Pacific/Hawaii in particular is struggling, as volume has dropped 44% since December
  • Of all 82 metros we track, just 2 show positive volume growth year to date vs. last year: Houston and New Orleans.  We’ve talked about the relative strength in Texas before, and perhaps New Orleans is simply doing its best to welcome all of us to town for NRMLA’s annual convention later this year…

The story is similarly stark (and no that’s not an Iron Man 2 reference, even though we are excited to see the movie next week) among lenders, as you might expect given the broad industry decline in recent months. On a year to date basis, only 2 of the top 10 lenders show positive volume growth:

  • Urban Financial (recently purchased by Knight Capital) saw retail volume grow 48%, perhaps benefiting from relative strength in the Midwest where they’re based, despite their top volume state continuing to be Florida
  • Genworth is seeing positive trends in their retail business, up 41% vs. 2009

The full report is available by clicking the image below.  Enjoy!

Retail Leaders Report