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Production Profits, Volumes Drop at Independent Mortgage Lenders

Production profits for independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries in 2017 were almost half of what they were a year earlier, according to the latest MBA Performance Report. The report also revealed that production volumes were down over the year.

On average, mortgage loans reaped $711 per loan in profits for independent mortgage bankers in 2017, compared to $1,346 in 2016, according to the report.

Measured in basis points, the average loan’s production income was 31 basis points in 2017, down from 58 in 2016. Not only was net production income down over the year but it was also substantially lower than the yearly average is 53 basis points or $1,085 per loan for the MBA’s annual report since its initiation in 2008.

“Production revenues per loan were up slightly for the year, as higher loan balances mitigated the effects of competitive pressures,” said Marina Walsh, VP of Industry Analysis at MBA. “However, production expenses grew in all categories—sales, fulfillment, production support and corporate allocations—reaching a study-high $8,082 per loan for the Annual Performance Report.” This compares to production expenses of $7,209 per loan in 2016.

Production revenues—including fee income, net secondary marking income, and warehouse spread—totaled $8,793 per loan in 2017, up from $8,555 the previous year.

Overall production volume also diminished in 2017. For the industry as a whole, MBA estimated a decline from $2.05 trillion in 2016 to $1.71 trillion in 2017.

On average, independent mortgage banks produced 8,882 loans totaling $2.13 billion in volume in 2017, down from 11,106 loans totaling $2.68 billion in 2016.

Alongside declining production, productivity slipped over the year, with an average of 1.9 loan originations per production employee per month, down from 2.4 originations per month in the previous year.

Among independent mortgage banks, refinance share by dollar volume fell from 38 percent in 2016 to 25 percent in 2017. MBA estimates refi dollar volume for the industry as a whole fell from 49 percent to 35 percent.

The good news for mortgage banks is balances on first mortgage loans rose, driving mortgage servicing fees up along with them.

In fact, following eight consecutive years of gains, first mortgage loan balances reached a record high for MBA’s study, climbing to $245,500 in 2017, up from $244,945 in 2016.

Net servicing financial income increased significantly over the year in 2017, up from $34 to $64. Net servicing financial income encompasses net servicing operational income and mortgage servicing amortization gains and losses.

Despite these bright spots for independent banks, declining volume and profits may have taken their toll on overall profits for independent mortgage institutions. The share of firms reporting overall pre-tax net financial profits for the year was down in 2017, falling from 94 percent to 80 percent, according to the report.

About Author: Krista Franks Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing industries since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.
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