News broke tonight that Opteum Inc. has reached a deal to sell its retail mortgage origination platform for $5 million, meaning that the company has essentially completely exited the mortgage lending business. The company is -- ahem, was -- an Alt-A originator. Opteum already said a few weeks back it would shutter its wholesale and conduit channels, and had been at the center of intense scrutiny in the past few weeks.
“Given the reduced demand for mortgage products and services and the deterioration in the secondary market for closed mortgage loans, this transaction will enable us to refocus our energies on managing and growing our RMBS portfolio, while stemming OFS's losses associated with mortgage originations,� said Jeffrey J. Zimmer, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Upon completion of this transaction and the wind down of OFS's Conduit and Wholesale mortgage origination divisions, we will be out of the mortgage origination business entirely. Certain costs associated with exiting the mortgage origination business will be reflected in our first quarter and second quarter results,� Mr. Zimmer added.
The company has 230 retail loan officers (note: I'd earlier mistyped and put "offices" here, sorry for any confusion), so the $5 million purchase price equates to roughly $21,000 per loan officer. One word: ouch.