With rising rates, the market is seeing a shift from originations to HELOC products. As the market shifts, lenders still need to be conscious of loan quality. HousingWire recently spoke with Brian Adams, Division President of Due Diligence at Consolidated Analytics, about due diligence in the current mortgage market.
HousingWire: How is the market shifting in terms of loan offerings?
Brian Adams: With the steep increase in mortgage rates, we have essentially seen a hard stop in refi activity. And while new loan originations are still out there, we see more and more HELOCs and 2nds as the primary shift. Additionally, we expect the distressed trade to return stronger than it has been in recent years.
HW: How is the rate environment affecting due diligence?
BA: The rising rates are driving the volume increase of HELOCs and 2nds. As a result, it no longer makes sense for most borrowers to get a refi. Still, often, they have a significant amount of equity they can tap via these loan products, and it’s more affordable to make meaningful changes to their current homes than it does to “trade up” in this rate environment. We’re also seeing credit boxes expand as lenders try to gain market share in a challenging environment. One of the more interesting trends is that some of our historically smaller clients are beginning to grow rapidly over the last 90-120 days, with some of the larger lenders stepping away or pricing themselves out of the market.
HW: What does due diligence look like for different types of loans?
BA: That’s a loaded question! Across the spectrum, lenders must adhere to various procedures and audits to guarantee that specific loans meet purchasing requirements. In addition, an exhaustive evaluation of documents and data ensures accuracy and completeness while providing an opportunity to report any inconsistencies, and quality control reviews help reduce risk.
Most of our due diligence is done to a securitization scope. However, each loan type has its specific scope, and our clients often have overlays on top of the loan-specific requirements. Therefore, we spend a lot of time ensuring our client’s scope and overlays are preserved within our due diligence system. Keeping client scope systematically hardcoded maintains the integrity of the underwriter’s review of the loan.
HW: How does Consolidated Analytics help lenders maintain loan quality?
BA: Whether a client is purchasing or selling assets, they must confirm that the underlying collateral is of optimum quality. With increased federally mandated rules and regulatory scrutiny, mortgage lending operations must abide by standard industry practices. Due diligence reviews and analysis of all aspects of the origination process provide an elevated view to confirm that standards are being upheld across all transactions. This assures credit, compliance and valuation quality and minimizes overall portfolio risk for the lender.
Our primary purpose is to be an independent third-party review firm. We review the loans to the guides/scope and report our findings accordingly. Our clients sometimes don’t like our conclusions, but they respect that we act with integrity. Whether our client is the originator or the investor, we always review the loan to the parameters provided and report accordingly.
We have an entire Quality department that not only tracks quality and provides any necessary training at the individual level but also is proactive in providing training for loan types we haven’t seen recently. The goal is to keep the entire team of underwriters and quality control analysts sharp on all loan types, in the market currently or expect to be in the market soon. Consolidated Analytics invests in our employees and we feel we have a best-in-class team.