Second Half Swoon – Retail Leaders July 2011

Lender volume presented on this report includes third party originations (TPO) of any company not FHA approved under their approved sponsor lender. As of next month this report will be re-named “HECM Lenders” to better identify it as the ranking of HECM Lenders closing loans under their own FHA approval. If you are looking for rankings of all HECM origination companies, please see these reports.

HECM endorsements totaled 5,511 in July, down 5.9% from June and -6.6% from July 2010. And while the YTD total is still showing growth, many signs are pointing to a weak second half of the year.

First and foremost, the recent exits of Bank of America,Financial Freedom and Wells Fargo will all be impacting the last six months of this year (at minimum), although Wells Fargo endorsements are likely to continue until at least September or October given closing and insuring timelines.

But July also marked the first time in 4 months that we declined on a year over year basis, as shown in the chart below.

Given the long road to recovery from Oct 2009 principal limit reductions, it’s distressing to see how short and fragile the recovery back to growth mode was. The application declines (compared to last year) point to a continued downtrend for the immediate future, and we fully expect the absence of Wells Fargo in July applications and beyond to extend the trend.

The second graph compares the same year over year growth trends, but with endorsements lagged 4 months as per our usual application-funding-endorsement timeline assumption. If we assume a significantly negative reading in July applications, the industry’s near term future is uncomfortably clear.

All this adds up to a third consecutive calendar year decline as we’ve stated two weeks ago, as the four months of growth simply weren’t strong enough to offset what is likely to be eight months of decline for 2011 (Jan-Feb, Jul-Dec).

Housekeeping Notes:

  • As of next month this report will be re-named “HECM Lenders” to better identify it as the ranking of HECM Lenders closing loans under their own FHA approval. Lender volume presented on this report includes third party originations (TPO) of any company not FHA approved under their approved sponsor lender.
  • The Wholesale Leaders report will appear for the last time next week, and be known thereafter as “HECM Originators” to identify it as the best source of rankings of all companies originating HECM loans, regardless of FHA approval status
  • Industry Trends will be re-named “HECM Trends” in keeping with the above changes

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