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Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for Ocwen?

Company takes loss in 2nd quarter as it tries to move past "legacy" issues

True to its own predictions from earlier in the year, Ocwen Financial posted another loss in the second quarter, putting it on track to post a loss in 2016. But is there finally a light at the end of the tunnel for the nonbank?

In February, Ocwen disclosed that it expected to post a loss in 2016, and the company’s first two quarters didn’t disappoint in that regard.

In the first quarter, Ocwen posted a net loss of $111.2 million (or $ 0.90 per share), and Ocwen said Wednesday that it reported a net loss of $87.2 million in the second quarter (or $0.71 per share).

Ocwen’s results in the first and second quarter were not a departure from the nonbank’s recent financial results. Ocwen actually posted profits – albeit small ones – in the first and second quarters of 2015.

In the first quarter of 2015, Ocwen reported net income of $34.4 million, while in the second quarter, Ocwen reported net income of $10 million.

Ocwen’s rough third quarter undid those profits, when the nonbank posted a net loss of $66.8 million. And the results were far worse for Ocwen in the fourth quarter, when the nonbank posted a net loss of $224.3 million.

For the full year 2015, Ocwen took a net loss of $246.7 million, which followed a loss of $546 million in 2014.

But despite the recent trend of negative results, Ocwen stated that it sees a “path back to profitability,” assuming it can put some “legacy” issues behind it.

Ocwen disclosed Wednesday that much of its loss in the second quarter was due to what it views as legacy and “uncontrollable” issues, including $40.1 million of legal defense costs and settlement expenses from the recently announced $30 million settlement over accusations that the nonbank of falsely certified that it was in compliance with Federal Housing Administration and Home Affordable Modification Program rules.

The settlement stemmed from two cases, U.S. Ex rel. Fisher v. Homeward Residential, Inc., et al and U.S. Ex rel. Fisher v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, et al, which are referred to as the Fisher Cases.

In an earnings call with investors on Wednesday, Ocwen said that it spent $44 million defending itself against the Fisher Cases, including $23 million in the first half of 2016.

But now, the company is in a position to move beyond the Fisher Cases.

Another drag on the company’s bottom line in the second quarter was $28.1 million in monitor costs, related to its various settlements with the New York Department of Financial Services, the National Mortgage Settlement and the California Department of Business Oversight.

As it turns out, Ocwen is working to rid itself of the restrictions placed upon it by the California Department of Business Oversight, and that effort cost the company even more money in the second quarter.

In early 2015, Ocwen announced that it reached a settlement with the CDBO, which was threatening to suspend Ocwen’s mortgage license because the company failed to turn over documentation showing that it complies with the state’s laws.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ocwen was required to pay $2.5 million to the state of California

Ocwen was also prohibited from acquiring any additional mortgage servicing rights for loans in California until the CDBO is “satisfied that Ocwen Loan Servicing can satisfactorily respond to the requests for information and documentation made in the course of a regulatory exam.”

But, Ocwen’s executives revealed that the company is working towards a potential settlement with the CDBO, going so far as to set aside $15 million in the second quarter for a potential settlement.

“We are actively trying to settle this,” Ocwen executives said Wednesday. “We can’t project if a settlement will occur, but with the point the discussions are at, it made sense for the company to set aside the money now.”

The company also saw a loss of $11.4 million in the second quarter, due to “unfavorable interest rate driven fair value changes” on the company’s Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage servicing rights.

Ocwen is currently unable to acquire any new mortgage servicing rights due to the terms of the settlement with the NYDFS, but the company said that it is “striving” to be able to acquire new MSRs again.

“We believe we can deliver positive earnings again,” Ocwen executives said Wednesday.

One positive in Ocwen’s second quarter results was the fact that the company saw a quarter-over-quarter revenue increase for the first time since the first quarter of 2015.

In the first quarter, Ocwen’s revenue was $330.8 million, and in the second quarter, the nonbank’s revenue was $373.1 million. Despite the quarter-over-quarter increase, 2016’s second quarter revenue results were still down 19.5% compared to the second quarter of 2015.

"We are pleased to see the progress being made in our core businesses and new initiatives,” Ocwen President and CEO Ron Faris said in a statement.

“We also continue to put additional legacy issues, such as the Fisher cases, behind us. While we still have more to do on various fronts, we are moving towards returning to profitability in our core operations while growing our asset-generation activities,” Faris continued.

“We continue to invest in risk management, compliance, service excellence and technology. We maintain our leadership in helping families struggling with their mortgage payments as evidenced by our number one status in the Home Affordable Modification Program and our numerous, well-regarded community outreach efforts,” Faris added. “Our growth in mortgage lending and Automotive Capital Services are gratifying early indicators of potential success in new initiatives that can allow us, over time, to drive earnings growth.”

Additionally, Ocwen reported that:

  • Its servicing segment recorded a $14.7 million pre-tax loss inclusive of $11.4 million of GNMA and GSE MSR fair value changes (excluding runoff), $10.1 million of Fisher-related litigation expense and the $4.3 million of New Residential-related expense noted above. This represents a $53.6 million or 78% improvement versus the first quarter of 2016, the company said.
  • Its lending segment, which had a 35% increase in origination volume over the first quarter of the year, recorded a $7.5 million pre-tax gain for the second quarter of 2016, a $5.5 million improvement versus the prior quarter.
  • Its new automotive capital services business continued to make progress, increasing loans outstanding by $8.6 million or 110% in the second quarter. The business is now operating in 21 markets and has approved credit facilities with 40 auto dealerships totaling $38 million, the company said.

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