Alt-A Market Sees Steady Growth

Judging from an average 54% year-to-year growth during the second quarter of 2006 both in overall volume among the 15 largest alt-A loan servicers and the top 15 fastest growing firms in this marketplace, demand for alt-A products is strong and growing.

Like a race horse nobody was betting on, Paul Financial LLC of San Rafael, Calif., emerged from obscurity as the leader of top alt-A servicing gainers in the country reporting a servicing portfolio of $434 million at the end of the second quarter, up from $140 million, or 211% higher than the same quarter in 2005.

Paul Financial ranks 25th among alt-A servicers and roughly 200th among all servicers. According to the company website, Paul Financial's competitive edge lies "within the experience and expertise of its management team" in addition to diverse products. The company's stated goal "is to embrace the benefits of a Web-based world" yet offer brokers in California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico a live communication option.

Loan servicing volume at the largest U.S. servicer of alt-A loans, IndyMac Bancorp Inc., Pasadena, Calif., increased to $67.75 billion, or 57% higher than the same quarter in 2005. IndyMac qualifies as an overall top performer in the alt-A servicing marketplace, closely followed by companies like EMC Mortgage, Lewisville, Texas, the fourth largest servicer and Sun Trust Mortgage Inc., Richmond, Va., the eighth largest servicer.

While IndyMac ranked ninth on the list of top gainers, Sun Trust emerged as the nation's second fastest growing servicer with $9.89 billion in serviced loans, up from $3.53 billion, or 180% higher than the same quarter a year ago. Also in the over 100% growth range were Litton Loan Servicing Inc., Houston, at 145%; Central Mortgage Co., Little Rock, Ark., at 122%; EMC at 121% and Sovereign Bank FSB of Rosemont, Pa., at 113%.

It has to be a good sign that nearly half of the country's largest alt-A servicers made the list of the 15 fastest growing firms in the marketplace. Up to seven of these servicers - Sun Trust; EMC; IndyMac; Aurora Loan Services Inc., Aurora, Colo.; Homecomings Financial, Minneapolis; Cenlar FSB, Ewing, N.J.; and NovaStar Mortgage Inc., Kansas City, Mo. - also reported sizable growth.

However, at least three of the 15 largest servicers in the country saw backdrops during the quarter. PFF Bank & Trust, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., ranking fifth, reported a servicing portfolio at $30.89 billion, down from $42.19 billion, or 27% less than a year ago. The seventh largest servicer, GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Novato, Calif., reported a 14% decrease in its portfolio at $12.88 billion, down from $14.94 billion in the same quarter in 2005. Finally, the 13th largest servicer, Select Portfolio Servicing of Salt Lake City reported $4.66 billion in the second quarter, nearly less than 10% compared to $5.2 billion in the same quarter in 2005. (c) 2006 Mortgage Servicing News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.mortgageservicingnews.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

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