The importance of low pricing versus broad product lines varies between large and small correspondent lenders.
Those were some of the major findings in the Investor Strategies in the Correspondent Market: How Correspondent Lenders View Investor Relationships survey conducted by Campbell Communications and announced Friday.
Price is "by far the most important factor" when correspondent lenders select a secondary market investor, Campbell reported.
The second most significant is a broad range of loan programs for customers, the research firm reported, particularly for nonconforming mortgages.
However, the priority of those two factors varies depending on the size of organizations.
"We now know that smaller correspondents are less price-sensitive and that large correspondents are much more price-sensitive," noted Tom Popik, designer of the survey instrument, in the prepared statement.
"For smaller accounts, the data says that emphasizing the breadth of product line, combined with acceptable pricing, might be the most effective sales message, while the best message at large accounts could be excellent pricing combined with ease of loan delivery," he continued.
Although "price is certainly the most important factor in correspondent-investor relationships," differentiation in services also influences what investor the correspondent chooses, the announcement said.
For example, correspondents are most satisfied in prime conforming investors' ability to determine and lock pricing on-line, but with Alt A/jumbo investors are most satisfied with "a broad range of loan programs," the Washington, D.C.-based firm noted.
Additionally, survey respondents were reportedly more satisfied with prime conforming investors' automated underwriting, rating it 7.93 out of a possible 10, than they were with that provided by Alt A/jumbo investors, rating it only 6.27.
The survey also found that within the wide variety of reasons as to why correspondents prefer selling closed Alt A/jumbo loans to investors, rather than simply brokering loans for a wholesale lender, "better pricing and margins" was rated the most important factor, followed by "more control of underwriting," Campbell reported.
As far as why correspondents prefer investors other than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, even for prime conforming loans, the main reasons were better pricing and servicing released premiums. Another significant factor, however, was the "best efforts" delivery option, with 36 percent of depository institutions and 22 percent of independent mortgage companies selecting this as "also very important," according to the announcement.
The research firm said the survey was conducted in April and represented the responses of more than 10% of the nation's estimated 3,000 correspondent lenders. The response rate provided an error margin of 5% and a confidence level of 95%.