HECM data shows signs of slow recovery

New report from Reverse Market Insight breaks down endorsement stats

As the reverse mortgage industry struggles to regain its footing in the wake of program changes, volume continues to fumble.

The latest report from data analytics firm Reverse Market Insight breaks out wholesale versus retail endorsements for both FHA and non-FHA loans on June. Its monthly HECM Originators Report shows that retail endorsements are down 13.2% while wholesale totals have dropped to 19.1%.

As previously reported, total endorsement growth fell 15.5% from May to June, falling from May’s 3,351 total to 2,833 and achieving a low the industry hasn't seen in 13 years. The decline is a result of program changes issued by the U.S. Department of Urban Development that reduced principal limits, which in turn lowered the interest rate floor.

In its report, RMI digs deeper with charts illustrating the conversion of case numbers into endorsements, and the results highlight a troubling trend.

While the very first PLF reduction in October 2009 led to the largest percentage decline in endorsements the industry has seen (dropping 48% eight months after the change), endorsements following the most recent PLF reduction appear to be recovering at a slower rate.

“Our most recent change is closer to that worst-case scenario than either of the two more recent changes, checking in at -35% in month 10, whereas the 2009/2010 PLF change had already recovered to -33% by that point,” the report stated.

While the numbers are bleak, RMI points out that the industry has seen worse.

“The only prior change with lower conversion figures at this point is Financial Assessment, which started significantly higher (similar to 2010 PLF) but then flattened dramatically as lenders worked through the exact qualification parameters to the most significant underwriting shift the product has yet seen,” it stated.

See the chart below for June’s stats on the top 10 HECM lenders.


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