Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. ended the year with weaker mortgage production, negative quarterly earnings and $42 million more in loan repurchase reserves. But the lender remains optimistic that business will improve during the second half of this year.
The subprime lender originated $3.9 billion in mortgages in the fourth quarter 2006, according to its earnings announcement today. Fundings were off from $4.2 billion in the prior quarter and from $4.7 billion in the year-earlier quarter.
Full-year production last year of $15.8 billion was reportedly down 5 percent from 2005.
Retail loans accounted for 23 percent of the fourth quarter's volume and the other 77 percent came from the wholesale channel. Accredited noted wholesale volume was down almost 30 percent from a year earlier because of the "continuation of credit quality initiatives, and pricing and product competition in the wholesale market."
The weighted average coupon rate on fourth quarter originations was reportedly 8.19 percent and the weighted average credit score was 630, according to the announcement.
The servicing portfolio totaled $11.0 billion at yearend, about 17 percent higher than as of Sept. 30, 2006, the San Diego-based company reported. Delinquent loans 30 or more days past due comprised 7.18 percent of the portfolio, rising from 5.45% at September's end, mainly due to "the aging of the portfolio, higher delinquencies from more recent vintages, and additional delinquency from repurchased loans."
The lender ended the year with 4,196 employees, or 1,434 more than in 2005.
Accredited reported a net loss of $37.8 million for the period -- a downturn from earnings of $18.4 million in the third quarter. Reserve balances at Dec. 31 increased $42 million from the third quarter's end, reflecting increasing delinquency trends and repurchase activity.
"During the quarter we absorbed the bulk of the impact of the Aames merger and continued responding to the current difficult credit environment," commented James Konrath, chairman and chief executive, in the written statement.
Accredited did not issue earnings guidance for 2007, citing the "high level of uncertainty surrounding key external conditions that determine profitability."
The company projects the current turbulence in the subprime sector to continue through the middle of this year, according to the announcement. It anticipates originations will continue downward in the first quarter, pressure will continue to weigh on whole loan sale premiums and repurchases will begin declining by the second quarter.