Ocwen files 2014 yearly report without “going concern” qualification

CEO: This is additional evidence that shows our strategy is working

After months spent on shaky ground, Ocwen Financial (OCN) appears to be righting the ship.

The company announced late Monday that it filed its much-delayed 2014 10-K yearly report with the Securities and Exchange Commission without a qualification about its ability to operate as a going concern.

In April, Ocwen announced that it entered into an amendment on its senior secured term loan that was to onto effect on Monday, April 20.

According to Ocwen, the amendment “removes, with respect to the 2014 fiscal year, the requirement that Ocwen’s financial statements and the related audit report must be unqualified as to going concern.”

The amendment also extended the deadline for Ocwen to deliver its 2014 audited financial statements to May 29, 2015, but Ocwen has now beaten that deadline by two weeks.

Ocwen said in April that it was continuing to prepare information to demonstrate the company's ability to operate as a “going concern” and to provide that information to its auditor for the auditor’s review of the Ocwen’s 2014 financial statements.

Now, the embattled nonbank announced that it has satisfied its auditor’s concerns with the company’s outlook and future plans.

“We believe the filing of our 2014 Form 10-K, without a qualification as to our ability to operate as a going concern, is additional evidence that our strategy to strengthen our compliance management system, strengthen the service we provide to our customers and improve our financial stability is working and that confidence in the company is being restored,” Ron Faris, Ocwen’s president and chief executive officer, said.

Faris said that the company can now focus more of its resources and energies on building the company’s origination capabilities and the execution of its 2015 strategic initiatives.

Faris said that Ocwen’s strategic initiatives for 2015 are improving the company’s risk management, compliance and corporate governance programs; improving capital efficiency and utilization; achieving its internal earnings per share targets; improving customer satisfaction and reducing defect rates; improving delinquency rates and increasing non-foreclosure resolutions; improving diversity and inclusion programs; improving franchise value and brand enhancement; and completing key technological initiatives.

The news could assuage some of the recent concerns voiced by analysts about Ocwen’s future in the wake of the company reporting its first-quarter results.

In the first quarter, Ocwen reported that it returned to profitability, reversing a trend that saw it lose $546 million in 2014 by posting net income of $34.4 million for the first quarter of 2015.

Several analysts, including Compass Point Research and Trading, greeted those results unfavorably.

In a note published earlier this month, Compass Point analysts Kevin Barker and Jesus Bueno reiterate their view that Ocwen is a “sell” and lower their price target on Ocwen from $7.00 to $6.50.

“We have lowered our price target because we expect the company to realize less value from the sale of mortgage servicing rights or recovery of deferred servicing fees,” Barker and Bueno said.

“We are now also giving credit for cleanup call rights although it remains to be seen whether Ocwen will realize the full value laid out in the earnings presentation,” the Compass Point analysts continued. “On a positive note, Ocwen was able to report an operating profit this quarter despite all of the noise these past few months. The net operating result was generally in line with our forecast as a higher average portfolio through the quarter generated higher fees than expected, but this was offset by higher expenses.”

When Ocwen released its first quarter earnings, Faris said that he was not satisfied with the company’s first quarter.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished as far as managing the business through this difficult transition period,” Faris said. “We made great progress on our asset sale strategy, have returned to profitability and continue to generate substantial operating cash flow. However, I am not satisfied with only making $34 million in the quarter. We intend to do better."

Now, Ocwen may have taken a step in the right direction.

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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