Ocwen tanks in wake of poor second quarter results

Stock drops more than 30% in early trading

After seeing its income from operations in the second quarter fall nearly $100 million from last year and despite the company’s CEO saying that the company “made positive strides on many fronts in the second quarter,” Ocwen Financial (OCN) is taking a beating on the stock market on Friday.

Ocwen’s stock has been in a tailspin for the better part of a year, with the stock dropping more than 75% in the last 12 months.

And the beating is continuing in Friday’s trading, with the stock falling as much as 36% in the day’s early trading.

As of 12:18 p.m. Eastern, Ocwen is trading at $8.18, down $3.58 and 30.44% for the day.

The stock closed Thursday at $11.76 and opened at $9.89.

Part of the reason for Ocwen’s stock plunge is a pair of downgrades from analysts.

According to a note from Seeking Alpha, Ocwen’s second quarter net income of $10 million, or $0.08 per share, missed consensus Wall Street estimates by $0.12 per share, causing analysts from Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) to downgrade Ocwen from “Neutral” to “Underperform.”

Seeking Alpha also noted that analysts from Sterne Agee downgraded Ocwen from “Buy” to “Neutral” and set a price target of $12.

In its earnings call with investors Thursday, Ocwen said that part of the reason its net income fell from $208 million in the second quarter of 2014 to $111 million in the same period this year is because of several large sales of mortgage servicing rights.

During the call, Ocwen noted that it sold $66 billion (as calculated by unpaid principal balance) in mortgage servicing rights in the second quarter, for a total of $358 million in proceeds.

Ocwen’s net gain on those sales was $57 million.

Ocwen said that it is currently in negotiations to sell $21 billion more in mortgage servicing rights.

Ocwen also noted that it plans to sell $2 billion in MSRs on non-performing loans to both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Ocwen expects those sales to generate $245 million in proceeds and $20 million in net gains.

Based on its reduction in its mortgage servicing rights portfolio, Ocwen announced efforts to cut $150 million in costs to realign the company’ costs with its current asset and capital structure.

The cost is based on the run rate of the company’s 2015 expenses through the second quarter, Ocwen CEO Ron Faris said during the call.

Ocwen listed five steps it is going to undertake to facilitate the $150 million expense cut, including:

Servicing Costs – Balance volume-related reductions in headcount with continued operational improvements

Reduce Technology Costs – Reduction through insourcing of some third-party vendor functions, third party contractors and other outsourced functions, streamlined processes and efficiencies, and contract cancellation and/or renegotiation

Reduce Other Costs – Reduce spend or eliminate non-essential third-party engagements. Rationalize use of facilities, reduce direct mailing costs, and other operational improvements and efficiencies

Capital Structure and Liquidity Management – Use excess cash to manage liquidity across funding facilities and reduce interest expense while maintaining large liquidity cushion to execute plan

Measured Growth of Lending Operating Expenses – Disciplined approach in expansion of lending platform

Ocwen’s chief financial officer, Michael Bourque, said that the cost-cutting process will take time.

“I don’t think this is a 6-9 month effort,” Bourque said.

“I think this is a long-term effort,” he said, adding that the cost-cutting efforts are expected to take place between now and the end of next year.

Another reason that Ocwen could be tanking Friday is because Faris said during the call that the second half of 2015 will be “challenging” from an income perspective for Ocwen.

One are where Ocwen could recapture income is by acquiring new mortgage servicing rights, but Ocwen is currently prohibited from doing so as part of the $150 million settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services over allegations into Ocwen’s servicing practices and its relationships with its affiliated companies.

Ocwen is forbidden from acquiring any additional mortgage servicing rights without approval from the NYDFS.

From the NYDFS when the settlement was announced: “Ocwen may not begin to acquire additional MSRs until and unless it receives prior approval from NYDFS, and meets benchmarks developed by the independent monitor concerning the adequacy of Ocwen’s onboarding process for newly acquired MSRs and its ability to adequately service both those newly acquired MSRs and its existing loan portfolio.”

During Ocwen’s call Thursday, Faris that Ocwen is working with NYDFS on allowing Ocwen to purchase additional mortgage servicing rights, but noted that it was too early to say when that discussion will be completed.

For now, Ocwen is unable to acquire new MSRs, is shedding others, and is about to undergo massive cuts to try to right-size its staffing level and organizational structure.

Time will tell if Friday’s stock plunge is an outlier or the latest in a troubling trend that’s seen Ocwen’s stock plummet by more than $50 since 2013.

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