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Strong Originations at MetLife as Servicing Portfolio Slides

Mortgage News

MetLife Inc. is the only mortgage lender so far to report a year-over-year quarterly increase in home-loan production. In addition, its mortgage staff increased by 7 percent from the prior quarter. But the servicing portfolio shrank 20 percent in the latest period, while the company announced plans to unload the mortgage business.

During the third quarter, the company originated $5.785 billion in residential mortgages, according to data provided to Mortgage Daily. The number of loans originated worked out to 21,090.

Volume jumped from 15,950 mortgages funded for $3.947 in the second quarter.

Business was also better than the third-quarter 2010, when production totaled 20,326 loans for $5.088 billion.

MetLife outperformed all of its rivals so far this earnings season compared to a year earlier. Out of 12 other lenders for which Mortgage Daily has covered third-quarter originations, none reported an increase from the year-prior period.

But MetLife Inc. disclosed earlier this month its intention to sell the mortgage business.

Over and above traditional mortgage production, MetLife also originated 4,978 reverse mortgages for $0.626 billion, a little better than the second quarter’s 4,808 reverse mortgages for $0.615 billion. A year prior, reverse volume was 3,901 reverse mortgages for $0.451 billion.

The New York-based parent said it plans to hold on to the reverse lending business even though it’s unloading the traditional mortgage business.

The mortgage servicing portfolio finished last month at 489,797 loans for $93.526 billion — dropping significantly from 618,900 loans serviced for $116.796 billion as of June 30. A spokesman explained that a contract to sub-service 139,846 loans for 1st Tennessee with balances totaling $25.7 billion ended in August.

A year prior, the servicing portfolio was 616,694 loans for $117.2 billion.

MetLife owned $3.424 billion in residential loans, growing the portfolio from $2.657 billion three months earlier and $1.910 billion a year earlier.

Commercial loans and mortgages on the books totaled $40.120 billion, up from $39.050 billion as of June 30 and $36.088 billion at the same point last year.

Losses from “banking, corporate and other” were cut to $54 million from the previous quarter’s $86 million and the year-earlier period’s $77 million. The company said in July that the bank was up for sale.

MetLife Inc. earned $5.3 billion before taxes in the most recent period, a big improvement from the $1.7 billion earned three months prior.

The mortgage staff jumped to 5,507 people from 5,156 employees as of the end of the second quarter. The increase was much greater compared to a year earlier, when headcount stood at just 4,183 people.

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