A fallout in refinancing contributed to a significant downturn in American Home Mortgage's quarterly volume. But the company has hired additional originators to handle higher production projected during the remainder of the year.
Third quarter mortgage production was $5.3 billion -- down from $6.6 billion in the previous quarter and also from the $7.1 billion achieved a year ago, according to the company's latest earnings announcement.
The New York-based lender's chairman and chief executive, Michael Strauss, noted in the announcement that the company added 372 additional loan officers to its sales staff in the third quarter and that "these additions are expected to increase loan production during the fourth quarter." However, American Home previously announced it expected volume in the second half of this year to be below the level in the first half.
With the additions, the number of mortgage salespersons, which include call center representatives, but excludes sales assistants, totaled 1,738 as of Sept. 30. The "hiring and office openings resulted both from organic growth initiatives and the Company's purchase of loan production offices from Washington Mutual at the end of the second quarter of 2004," the report said.
Purchase originations represented 64% of the latest production, while refinancing dropped to 36% of production -- its lowest level since 2000 and down from 52% reported in the second quarter, according to American Home.
During the third quarter, the real estate investment trust experienced a material product shift toward adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans and a shift toward Alternative-A loans. ARMs reportedly accounted for 56% of originations and 16% of production was Alt-A loans, compared to 49% and 10%, receptively, in the second quarter.
American Home says it favors ARM originations as it securitizes these, unlike fixed-rate originations, which it typically does not securitize and sells. It reportedly sold about $3 billion in non-securitized loans to third parties in the third quarter for a gain of $28.4 million.
Loans serviced, including warehouse loans, reached a principal balance of $13.6 billion at end of the third quarter, up $2 billion from the previous quarter.