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Servicing

The vindication of Nationstar Mortgage

Solutionstar to become "TurboTax of real estate"

August 6, 2014
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In the March issue of HousingWire Magazine, Jay Bray, the CEO of Nationstar Mortgage (NSM), shrugged off his critics.

The profile explained the structure of the company and how it could reorganize to meet the challenges of a fast-changing mortgage market.

His critics would have done well to read the piece — I’m not going to call them out here but reading the profile would explain everything — as just last week Bray faced fresh criticisms.

His attitude from March to today is little changed.

"As I've said from day one, our core DNA is in the default residential side," said Bray in a call with HousingWire this afternoon. "Our abilities in this industry are as good as anyone else's."

Non-banks snapping up mortgage servicing rights have been fighting against a flurry of regulatory pushback and scrutiny, not so much for anything they have done, but because their growing share of the MSR servicing space has made them somewhat more visible targets.

Turns out fears that problems besetting some MSR acquisitions might spread to Nationstar operations were wrong, as Bray had said all along in his original interview in March.

"I feel good about where we are at and we have room for growth," Bray said today. "We'll keep looking at more acquisitions of residential default portfolios. It's no secret certain parties want to sell their MSRs. We'll get our fair share of that."

Nationstar this morning reported quarterly net income of $67 million, or $0.74 per share, for the second quarter, a 174% increase over the $24 million or $0.27 per share in the first quarter 2014.

Bray's real hope is in the success of the Solutionstar business that Nationstar has been focused on growing. In the conference call this morning, Bray said:

Solutionstar’s revenues increased due to a strong increase in order volume in our Real Estate Services division and the continued success of the HomeSearch.com platform in effectively marketing properties. Solutionstar’s pretax margin increased in the second quarter to 46% from 40% in the first quarter, primarily due to mix of revenues.

In the call this afternoon with HousingWire, Bray said the possibilities of Solutionstar should not be underestimated.

"If we can crack the code in driving traffic to the Solutionstar website, that can be endless growth," he said. "In that regard, we could become the TurboTax of real estate."

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