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Reverse Wholesaler Rises to Top Spot

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As third-party reverse mortgage originations sank for the second consecutive month, one wholesaler managed two consecutive monthly gains — rising to become the new biggest reverse mortgage wholesaler.

Reverse mortgage wholesale lenders closed 3,038 loans in March, according to data released today by Reverse Market Insight. Third-party activity sank from 3,890 loans in February and 5,510 loans in March 2009.

Urban Financial ascended to the top wholesaler spot in March, closing 615 loans — higher than 612 the previous month. It was the second consecutive month that third-party originations rose at the Tulsa, Okla.-based lender — which is being acquired by Knight Capital Group Inc.

But wholesale volume was down at the other top players.

No. 2 Bank of America saw wholesale activity decline to 505 loans from February’s 682, while MetLife declined to 497 from 571, Generation Mortgage tumbled to 350 from 785 and Financial Freedom fell to 276 from 314.

Overall reverse mortgage originations, including retail and wholesale, have fallen each month December 2009. April industry fundings were just 5,511 — down by more than half from April 2009’s 11,661 closings.

During March, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., closed more reverse mortgages than any other reverse lender. The top overall ranking came despite that reverse volume at Wells sank to 1,166 loans from 1,466 in February and was down more than half from 2,371 a year earlier.

No. 2 Bank of America, N.A., saw volume fall to 1,061 loans from February’s 1,326, while Urban Financial Group Inc. placed third with volume easing to 827 from 900.

The fourth biggest player was MetLife Bank, where business was down to 639 units from 708 in February. No. 5 Generation Mortgage Co. closed 437 reverse mortgages in March, sinking from 1,043 the previous month.

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