Sorting Out – HECM Lenders October 2012

HECM endorsements for October totaled 3,745, growing a paltry 1.1% from the low registered in September. This wasn’t a large enough increase to even beat the July reading, so October goes in the books as the second lowest volume month since July 2005.

Among geographic regions, 5 were up and 5 were down:

  • The top 3 regions all increased, although only Southeast/Caribbean grew significantly – up 15.7%
  • New York/New Jersey and New England are both down more than -50% since June compared to national decline of -27.8%. While the weakness in New England appears relatively broad based (page 3), the NY/NJ region is being dragged down by slumping performance in New Jersey specifically. Both Newark and Camden field offices registered larger declines vs. last year than NYC and upstate NY.
  • Oklahoma City leads a short list of just three field offices with an increase compared to last year at 6%. Salt Lake City (4.6%) and Columbus, OH (2%) also improved, with SLC averaging 84 loans per month while the other two were both under 29.

Among lenders, there were some notable performances:

  • Security One Lending grew 141% to lead all lenders at 636 endorsements. This is an enormous jump that we’ve seen dissipate somewhat in past experience with other lenders (see: American Advisors Group post-August), although in both cases there is reason to believe a good portion of that jump will be sustained and even eclipsed in the months ahead.
  • Generation grew 33.5% to capture third place behind Genworth/Liberty and just ahead of One Reverse.

Last but not least, we saw a significant decline in case numbers issued in September. After briefly rising above the benchmark set by the month after Wells Fargo’s exit last year, this key indicator of future endorsements dropped below all months since Metlife exited.

In past years we’ve seen a pullback toward year end, but September would be very early to see that effect taking hold. It’s possible companies pulled back marketing in the heart of election season, but there’s little evidence of that effect historically and we haven’t heard about significant declines in marketing from any of the large companies.

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