Wholesale Leaders – March 2009

We’ve already talked extensively about the volume increase in March, so check out the Retail Leaders and Industry Trends posts if you’d like to see more on top line volume.  Something we haven’t talked about a lot yet, however, is how Wholesale is trending.

Many of you might have already guessed that ‘Retail’ performance by the direct lenders was stonger than ‘Wholesale’ performance by the broker channel in March based on our earlier comments about market concentration increasing, but the numbers right at the top of the report make it plainly obvious:

  • Retail volume by direct lenders increased 33.4% from February to March, while broker volume through the Wholesale channel increased 15.4%
  • A big part of this is due to a re-surgence by Wells Fargo in March, with a 700+ endorsement improvement from February to March that was bigger than total volume for all but the top 5 lenders in March.  Endorsements can be volatile due to insuring delays and other issues, but it’s still a pretty impressive boost.
  • Over the last 12 months there have only been 2 where Retail volume outpaced Wholesale: March 2009 and May 2008.  We’ll be watching closely to see if the trend lasts, as I suspect many brokers might be also…

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Several companies continue to benefit from turmoil in the Wholesale market, as both Generation Mortgage and Urban Financial have more than doubled their total volume from last April.  Both have benefited greatly from increased Wholesale volume, although Urban has been notably more balanced in their approach to the two channels  with 52% Retail vs. 40% for Generation.

Money House Inc continues a remarkable climb into the top ranks of reverse mortgage lenders, ranking 17th (up from 23rd last month) nationally over the past twelve months.  They’ve generated 620 loans without any Wholesale volume, and even more amazing is that they’ve done it all in the territory of Puerto Rico.  This got me thinking about Puerto Rico, and the results are very interesting:

  • Jumped from 31st ranked state in 2008 ( loans) to 21st in Q109 (425 loans)
  • Popular Mortgage used to dominate the rankings here (they were the only lender back in 2005-06), but Money House has capitalized on recent challenges at Popular to take a dominant position in the market with 270 loans in Q1 vs. 55 for their nearest competitor (AAA Concordia) and just 10 for Popular
  • Puerto Rico has already generated almost half as much volume in Q1 as it did in all of 2008 – one of the strongest growth markets in the country!
  • We’re not sure how hard it is to get a lending license in Puerto Rico, but if you don’t know it’s probably worth checking into it…

Enjoy the report and let us know if you want to find more strong markets like this.