Homepoint looks to match broker partners with builders

Referral program is in partnership with private portfolio lender Level Capital

Wholesale lender Homepoint is becoming a broker of sorts…for mortgage brokers. The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company has launched a referral program aimed at connecting mortgage brokers with regional homebuilders as well as homebuyers.

Homepoint’s “New Build program” connects homebuilders with business purpose construction financing through in-region mortgage brokers, with loan amounts up to $4 million per unit or $25 million per project. Brokers can help builders close new construction loans for single-family residences, multifamily homes, condos and townhomes.

The program is offered in partnership with private portfolio lender Level Capital, which is originating the loans to the regional homebuilders.

“There is tremendous opportunity for small to midsize home builders throughout the country to boost the nation’s housing supply which could have a leveling effect on housing prices,” Brady Yeager, president of Level Capital said in a prepared statement. “We strongly believe that mortgage brokers can provide builders with a more efficient process, better technology, market and project risk analysis via our Level Tech platform.”

Homebuilder confidence in April fell for the fourth consecutive month due to persistent supply chain disruptions and a slowdown in sales traffic.

Level Capital and Homepoint are pitching the program to builders as an alternative to loans from credit unions or banks. Rates aren’t as cheap, but they can provide funding much faster and with far less red tape, Will Pendleton, senior managing director of wholesale production at Homepoint, said in an interview.

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Homepoint’s new program with Level is currently available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. The lenders plan to launch in Nevada, New Mexico and North Carolina later this year.

The program is the latest effort to give broker partners more lending options as rate-term refis disappear and cash-out refinancings move like a rollercoaster to higher rates.

“We really are leaning in to find partnerships that will help to differentiate our broker partners at a time of need for them — they need to differentiate their value proposition,” said Pendleton. “We’re looking at additional products to help bolster that.”

Homepoint, the third-largest wholesaler in the nation, is weighing jumping into non-QM, namely bank statement and investor cash flow loans. It’s also assessing a variety of other products to service a market that is now heavily purchase-focused.

“We’re heavily scouring the market with the ARM market with all of our investor contacts,” Pendleton said. “That’s obviously a big play…additionally, home equity lines — obviously some do not want to leave their their two-and-a-half interest rate. That’s not a big revenue generator for a lender like us, but we’re happy to provide a critical value to our partners.”

Homepoint is also launching jumbo ARMs and considering the possibility of dipping into renovation loans, Pendleton said.

The higher-rate landscape has taken a toll on the profitability of Homepoint’s parent company, Home Point Capital, in recent quarters as margins have declined.

The company turned a $19.3 million profit in the fourth quarter, a sequential decline from the $71 million it recorded in the third quarter. The company sold $13.1 billion in Ginnie Mae servicing rights, which generated nearly $175 million. Homepoint is exiting the Ginnie Mae servicing space, and recently announced it would also move all of its mortgage servicing processing work to ServiceMac, another cost-cutting move.

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