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Servicers Struggle

Mortgage servicers saw their earnings sink as servicing portfolios and staffs contracted. But despite the disappointing results, the companies managed to increase the number of loans serviced per employee.

The average mortgage servicer had a portfolio of 36,769 loans in the first quarter, down from 44,799 loans serviced in the final quarter of last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s First Quarter 2011 Mortgage Bankers Performance Report. Respondents serviced 47,568 loans in the first quarter of last year.

MBA surveyed 174 servicers for the report, which was conducted with the cooperation of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae.

On a dollar basis, the average servicing portfolio fell to $5.6 billion from $7.0 billion in the prior period and $7.1 billion a year earlier.

Loans owned and serviced by the same company accounted for 12 percent of servicer portfolios, while third-party servicing made up the other 88 percent of the portfolios.

The average number of loans serviced per full-time employee rose to 959 from the previous quarter’s 955 loans. The figure was 854 in the first-quarter 2010.

Average staff size fell to 101 full-time employees from 110 in the fourth quarter. Headcount stood at 121 a year earlier.

Servicers earned about $197 in revenues per loan serviced in the first quarter of this year on an operating basis, less than the $231 earned three months earlier but better than the $193 earned per loan in the first three months of last year.

Based on total net servicing financial income, per-loan income was $65, sinking from $138 in the prior period. It was also less than $97 a year prior.

First-quarter net reflected $500 per loan in servicing revenues and $235 per loan in related expenses.

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