Politics & MoneyMortgage

Pricing for mortgage servicing rights becomes source of debate

The acquisition of mortgage servicing rights is part of a growing strategy for some mortgage finance firms. However, it isn’t all ‘one man trash is another’s treasure,” as the finding the right price remains a matter of debate.

Rick Sharga with Carrington Mortgage Holdings said there are companies well positioned to make a profit off MSRs.

Sharga noted the MSR market has heated up recently, but right now the numbers are a little bit higher than Carrington is willing to pay. However, he added, “it doesn’t mean we will be on the sidelines forever.”

Loren Morris, senior vice president at Retreat Capital Management, said one of the draws of MSRs is that now firms can get them at a more reasonable price when compared to historical levels.

“I think everyone is seeing a benefit in having the ability of acquiring borrowers,” Morris said. And having another suite of services is one way to do that. He added that firms may be finding MSRs “more attractive and at more realistic pricing” levels.

The offloading of mortgage servicing rights is also beneficial for companies contracting in the space.

MetLife Bank, a subsidiary of MetLife Inc. (MET), is making major strides in its planned exit from the mortgage finance space.

The bank announced plans to sell its $70 billion mortgage servicing portfolio to JPMorgan Chase Bank (JPM) in recent days. The bid was competitive.

In 2012, the company also sold its warehouse finance business to EverBank (Ever), its reverse mortgage servicing rights to Nationstar (NSM) and announced plans to stop writing residential mortgages.

The size and scope of these sales show how popular mortgage servicing rights are becoming. In the past month, the industry experienced a highly publicized auction for Residential Capital’s MSRs, with Ocwen Financial (OCN) and Walter Investment Management securing the winning bids with a total purchase price of $3 billion.

Both Ocwen and Nationstar have the funding to acquire additional packages and a desire to expand the position as the nation’s largest servicers.


3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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