Denver, Colorado-based Incenter Mortgage Advisors (IMA) on Thursday announced the launch of a new digital mortgage servicing rights exchange. The marketplace, known as eMSR Exchange, connects buyers and sellers of co-issue flow offerings online and provides pricing 24/7.
Co-issue loan sales, also known as flow-based mortgage servicing rights sales, are three-way transactions involving the sale of loans to one of the agencies, with a simultaneous sale of the MSRs to a separate third party. These transactions gain momentum when markets are difficult – with lower volume and tighter margins – and cash flow management becomes essential to originators.
However, trading MSRs in the co-issue market can take up to 90 days from the first communication between the parties around pricing to the moment the loan is committed, according to Tom Piercy, managing director at IMA. The fact that it takes so long can be challenging for originators seeking liquidity, mainly small and mid-size companies.
“With the exchange, participants have a daily commitment of MSRs that will settle at the end of each month,” Piercy said. “We are now coming as close as we can to commoditizing the MSR asset.”
Other companies are also developing new platforms as the agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have been pushing for co-issue loan sales in recent years. In November, Mortgage Capital Trading, Inc. released a marketplace for co-issue loan sales dubbed BAMCO. At that time, MCT said that co-issue transactions represented 16% of all loan sale types by MCT’s lender client base in 2022.
Trading an MSR in the traditional co-issue market requires resources from the parties. Buyers face the process of communicating with the sellers, creating pricing strategies and going through diligence and agreements. Meanwhile, sellers have to find buyers but typically do not gain access to the entire market because they don’t have resources or don’t fit the buyers’ criteria, such as the volume level or the loan profile.
“It’s a very cumbersome process. It’s not very efficient. But it’s the manner in which this market has worked,” Piercy said.
Incenter’s exchange allows buyers to access the MSRs that match their characteristics with loan-level precision instead of bidding on the rights to more heterogeneous asset pools. Buyers provide their pricing and required standards to the exchange, which works as a ‘one-stop shopping.’
In turn, sellers can upload their MSRs and the platform will step in as an intermediary, acting as the one counterparty to the buyers on the back end.
Incenter’s eMSR Exchange provides the optimum allocation of MSRs among multiple buyers. Each loan is matched with buyers’ pricing grids and “directed” to the most desirable buyer in seconds based on the loan characteristics acquirers seek, according to IMA.
Piercy said buyers will offer price matrices and only pay that price, which is calculated off of their pricing grids. To sellers, there’s a fee per loan netted out of the funds reconciled at the end of each month. The exchange’s fee is comparable to the one paid in the traditional market, Piercy added.
Two buyers are already committed to Incenter’s platform, but it can handle an unlimited number, according to Piercy. The exchange can also take 50 sellers as it exists today because it has to go through compliance processes, such as diligence and counterparty analysis.
Incenter’s marketplace suits any buyers, including banks, non-banks, private equity and real estate investment trusts of any size. On the sell side, it’s appealing to small and mid-size originators, Piercy said.