As the mortgage industry continues to shift, with larger banks limiting their mortgage exposure, specialty servicers are nabbing key assets from larger players as they expand their own operations.
Dallas-based servicer Wingspan Portfolio Advisors is the perfect example of this trend.
The mega servicer entered into a deal this week to buy JPMorgan Chase’s (JPM) customer service operations in Monroe, Louisiana, strategically positioning Wingspan to benefit from the unit's ability to provide comprehensive financial support services to customers.
“With this new addition, Wingspan expands its ability to respond to clients’ needs with superb customer service capabilities,” said Wingspan President and CEO Steven Horne. “We are often called upon to scale quickly and effectively to help our clients as their priorities change, and this acquisition enables Wingspan to react to requests with significant speed and very high service quality.”
The Monroe facility already handles inbound and outbound calls for JPMorgan.
Wingspan is offering employment to 400 Chase employees and agreed to lease JPMorgan’s existing office building in Monroe. Through the Monroe acquisition, Wingspan is expanding its nationwide employee count to 2,000 staff members.
This is not the first time Wingspan has benefited from changes within JPMorgan’s mortgage servicing space.
Last February, Wingspan announced plans to acquire the bank’s servicing operation in Melbourne, Fla., pulling 400 Chase employees under the Wingspan roof.
The end result is a Wingspan that now has key locations in seven U.S. cities – three in North Texas alone.
The transaction arrives at a time when mega banks, like JPMorgan Chase, are limiting their mortgage exposures in certain areas. This leaves room for national servicers with the infrastructure and experience to step in, grabbing infrastructure, MSRs and other assets.
When JPM offloaded the Melbourne servicing operation in February, the bank was responding to declining servicing volumes in a recovering housing market.
But it’s evident JPMorgan’s mortgage business has been in transition mode for a while. Earlier this year, Kevin Watters, head of mortgage banking at JPM, told HousingWire the bank is focused on originations going forward. He made that statement just as the company announced plans to cut 13,000 to 15,000 jobs within its mortgage unit.
When some of those cuts took effect during the summer, company spokesman Jason Lobo pointed to changes on the servicing side, which is where Wingspan built its reputation and business.
"We are responding to our customers’ changing needs," Lobo said at the time. "Fewer homeowners are struggling with their mortgages and many people have already refinanced, taking advantage of the stronger economy and historically low rates."