It’s not just the HECM market that led to Live Well’s exit
It’s been quite some time since a top-ten HECM lender has left the industry. The news of Live Well Financial’s sudden exit from reverse mortgage lending last Friday left many somewhat stunned. But in fact, the company is ceasing all origination activities for both forward and HECM loans.
In the most recent Top 100 HECM Lenders Report for April, Live Well posted 74 loans, 350 for the year to date (Jan-April). If you compare their 2018 production in the same period you may see one of the reasons for their exit. In April 2018 Live Well had 114 endorsements with 605 HECMs endorsed that calendar year to date.
While many may find the news unsettling, the exit of Live Well was thought by some to reflect a more organic response to an ever-changing market. Just one short year ago the lender announced their intent to emphasize forward or traditional lending, which the company had been originating since their founding in 2005.
The reasons behind the lender’s sudden shutdown were unclear until the Richmond Times-Dispatch published an excerpt yesterday from the company’s notice filed with Virginia employment officials.
“This reduction in credit availability combined with challenging conditions in the markets for mortgage loans, which were conditions outside of the company’s control, along with related regulatory issues, have resulted in the company having insufficient available cash to continue operations”, the notice stated. The cash-crunch was triggered by sudden and unforeseen market changes in specific financial assets the lender used as collateral in gaining credit.
Such credit arrangements are common in mortgage lending and servicing.
Live Well’s exit while disappointing should be kept in perspective noting the unique and specific challenges that triggered the closure of both traditional and reverse operations.