Walter Grows Reverse Business With Acquisition

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MORTGAGE EXPERT
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Walter Investment Management Corp. is carving out its place in the reverse mortgage business with an aggressive acquisition strategy. The latest investment involves mortgage servicing rights. Staffing at the company has surged by 2,200 employees during the past six months.

The Tampa, Fla.-based firm previously announced that it acquired Reverse Mortgage Solutions Inc., “the preeminent originations and servicing platform in the reverse mortgage space,” on Nov. 1, 2012.

In January, Walter Investment disclosed an agreement to acquire Security One Lending for $31 million in cash and performance incentives. That transaction is expected to capitalize on a long-standing relationship between RMS and Security One.

Walter Investment said Tuesday that it acquired MSRs on 76,000 reverse mortgages for $12.2 billion from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

Des Moines, Iowa-based Wells Fargo exited the reverse mortgage business in 2011. Other companies to abandon reverse mortgage lending over the past two years include Bank of America Home Loans, Financial Freedom and MetLife Inc.

But Walter Investment still sees opportunity in the sector.

“We expect that the acquisition of this MSR will be an attractive addition to our reverse mortgage servicing portfolio and solidify our position as a leader in the reverse mortgage sector,” Walter Investment Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark J. O’Brien said in the statement. “This transaction, which doubles the size of our serviced book, will allow us to leverage our considerable capabilities in the reverse mortgage sector as we continue to see a significant growth opportunity in the sectors.”

The servicing on the loans is expected to be transferred to RMS during the third quarter.

Staffing at Walter Investment has exploded to 4,800 from just 2,600 employees as of Sept. 30, 2012.

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