Ocwen: Expect to record a loss for 4Q14 and FY14

Legal and regulatory woes, negative tax rates weigh on nonbank

[Correction: Ocwen’s 8K said it would “record a loss” not have “a record loss,” as the headline originally posted.]

Ocwen Financial (OCN) released an update ahead of its release of fourth quarter and FY 2014 earnings, and the company expects to record a loss for both 4Q14 and FY14.

The company blames its slew of legal and regulatory woes, uncollectable receiveables and a negative tax rate for the year, the filing states.

"As of December 31, 2014, we are aware of 21 pending examinations in a total of 15 states,” the filing states. “We also regularly engage with our state regulators to respond to specific inquires or investigations, in many cases relating to individual borrower complaints that they have received.”

Based on Ocwen’s current engagement with state regulators, the company says it is not aware of nor do they anticipate any material fines, penalties or settlements, although they do expect to resolve two open legacy matters for a total of less than $1 million.

"We will be recording an additional $50 million expense related to our NY Settlement in the fourth quarter of 2014, since we reserved for $100 million in the third quarter of 2014 in accordance with GAAP and based on information available at the time we finalized our third quarter financial statements,” they state. "Through the third quarter of 2014 we had recorded $66 million in expenses related to uncollectable receivables and other servicing expenses. We expect to increase this amount in the fourth quarter by approximately $64 million. We ended the year with approximately $85 million of reserves against corporate advances, a coverage ratio of 13%. We anticipate that the level of these types of expenses will decrease significantly in 2015 as we have substantially cleared out legacy issues related to acquisitions and other servicing transfers."

Just Wednesday, FItch Ratings downgraded Ocwen again. Fitch placed Ocwen’s servicer ratings on “Rating Watch Negative” in October, after the New York Department of Financial Services accused Ocwen of backdating potentially hundreds of thousands of letters to borrowers.

And now, after Ocwen settled with the NYDFS over its servicing practices to the tune of $150 million, Ocwen’s recent settlement with California over Ocwen’s reluctance to provide documentation proving that it could operate in the state and the recent legal threats by mortgage bond investors, who claimed that Ocwen failed in its duties as a mortgage servicer, Fitch is downgrading Ocwen’s servicer ratings due to all those issues and more.

"As a result of the items just discussed and other fourth quarter events, we expect to record a loss in the fourth quarter of 2014 and for the total year. Additionally, given the mix of on-shore and off-shore results, and the fact that the NY DFS payment is not tax deductible, we will have a negative tax rate for the year,” the filing states.

As of the end of the day on February 3, 2015, Ocwen says it has $249 million in cash, and their cash forecast indicates that they will continue to have sufficient liquidity going forward.

"In addition, as we have previously indicated, we are working on a series of transactions to sell portions of our GSE Mortgage Servicing rights. Starting in the second quarter, and possibly earlier, we expect to start closing on transactions,” the filing states. “We anticipate sales of $5 to $20 billion of UPB per month through the end of the year, although we have not ruled out larger transactions if they are available for execution at attractive levels. Of course, no sales are guaranteed until they are actually executed. However, we have received strong interest from many eligible buyers. We do not currently expect to restart our buy-back of stock, though we retain the ability to revisit this as circumstances change, and as we return to profitability."

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