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Walter Investment posts $529 million loss in 2016; CEO calls results ‘unacceptable’

Revenue drops by $278.5 million from 2015

Walter Investment Management Corp. announced Tuesday morning that it posted a loss in each quarter of 2016, finishing the year with a net loss of $22.2 million in the fourth quarter.

That result pushed the company’s total net loss for the year to $529.2 million, or $14.71 per share, compared to a net loss of $263.2 million, or $7.00 per share, for 2015.

The fourth quarter’s results were the fourth straight quarter that Walter Investment posted a loss, although the results were better than 2016’s previous quarters.

In each of the previous three quarters, Walter Investment posted a net loss of $100 million or more.

In the third quarter, Walter Investment posted a GAAP net loss of $101.8 million, or $2.82 per share, as compared to a GAAP net loss of $76.9 million, or $2.04 per share for the same time period last year.

The nine-figure loss followed a second quarter where the company posted a GAAP net loss of $232.4 million, or $6.49 per share, compared to a GAAP net loss of $38.1 million, or $1.01 per share in 2015.

In the first quarter of 2016, Walter Investment posted a GAAP net loss of $172.7 million, or $4.85 per share, compared to a GAAP net loss of $31 million, or $0.82 per share for the same time period in 2015.

In a statement issued in correlation with the company’s fourth quarter earnings, Walter Investment CEO Anthony Renzi, who took over in September 2016, said that the company’s 2016 results are unacceptable.

“The performance we saw during fourth quarter 2016 and full-year 2016, is not acceptable to myself, our leadership team, our associates and the Walter Board of Directors,” Renzi said.

“Since joining Walter in September, my focus has been on putting together a plan to reduce our cost structure and improve efficiency, with a strong emphasis on performance management and controls,” Renzi added.

“We also restructured our leadership team by adding key leaders to drive the way forward,” Renzi concluded. “I am excited to be a part of this organization and we are ready to face the challenges ahead, confident that the changes underway will put Walter in the best position to succeed but it will take time to implement and realize the benefits of these changes.”

Walter Investment’s 2016 results shouldn’t come as a shock, considering the amount of upheaval at the top of the company in the last 18 months.

Renzi is Walter Investment’s fourth CEO since October 2015. Renzi took the reins at Walter Investment in September 2016, replacing George Awad, who took over for Denmar Dixon, who took over for Mark O’Brien.

Earlier in 2016, Walter Investment announced that Denmar Dixon resigned as CEO and vice chairman of the company after serving in the role for only eight months.

Dixon took on the role of CEO in October 2015 after Mark O’Brien, the company's former chairman and CEO, announced his retirement.

After Dixon left, Walter Investment chose George Awad to fill in as executive chairman and interim CEO while the company’s board searched for a permanent CEO.

Then the company chose Renzi, who most recently served as the chief operating officer, managing director and head of operations for Citigroup's North America retail bank, commercial bank and CitiMortgage, as its permanent CEO back in August.

As Renzi noted in his statement, there have been several changes to the company’s management team in an effort to create a “more streamlined and simple organization.”

One of those changes was the departure of David Schneider, who served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Walter Investment and as president of Ditech Financial.

Schneider left the company in October as part of the company’s restructuring effort.

Looking at the company’s financial results in a little more detail, Walter Investment reported that its 2016 net loss includes goodwill and intangible assets impairment charges of $202.3 million after tax, and non-cash charges of $140.7 million after tax, resulting from fair value changes due to changes in valuation inputs and other assumptions.

The company added that the goodwill impairment charges incurred in the current year within the servicing segment were “driven by lower than expected operating results due to elevated expense levels in servicing and lack of new business in adjustable-rate mortgages.”

The company also said that the intangible assets impairment occurred in the company’s reverse mortgage segment and was driven by “the shift in strategic direction and reduced profitability expectations for the business.”

In the fourth quarter, the company posted GAAP net loss of $22.2 million, as compared to a GAAP net loss of $117.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The company said that its 2016 fourth-quarter net loss includes goodwill impairment charges of $8.2 million after tax, and non-cash benefit of $97 million after tax, resulting primarily from fair value changes due to changes in valuation inputs and other assumptions.

Overall, Walter Investment saw a significant decrease in revenue in 2016.

According to the company, its total revenue for 2016 was $1 billion, a decrease of $278.5 million as compared to 2015. That decline is primarily due to $153.3 million lower net servicing revenue and fees, $44.4 million lower net gains on sale of loans and $28.7 million in lower interest income on loans, the company said.

The company added that the decrease in net servicing revenue resulted from $78.5 million higher fair value losses on mortgage servicing rights primarily due to changes in interest rates and forward projections of the interest rate curve during the first half of 2016, $47.4 million lower incentive and performance fees driven by lower real estate management fees and lower HAMP fees and $28.5 million lower servicing fees primarily due to a combination of runoff of its third-party servicing portfolio, a shift in the portfolio from servicing to subservicing resulting from the sale of servicing rights to NRM, and an overall increase in delinquencies.

Interestingly, nearly half of the company’s revenue came in during the fourth quarter.

According to the company:

Total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 was $444.1 million, an increase of $112.6 million as compared to the prior year quarter, primarily due to $122.0 million higher net servicing revenue and fees partially offset by $10.5 million lower fair value gains on reverse loans and related HMBS obligations. The increase in net servicing revenue resulted from $168.6 million higher fair value gains on mortgage servicing rights primarily due to an increase in interest rates and forward projections of the interest rate curve. Offsetting this increase was $28.1 million of lower servicing fees primarily due to a combination of runoff of our third-party servicing portfolio, a shift in the portfolio from servicing to subservicing resulting from the sale of servicing rights to NRM, and an overall increase in delinquencies, and $11.8 million lower incentive and performance fees driven by a change in incentive programs that resulted in a one-time incentive payment in the fourth quarter of 2015.

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