More gains surface in mortgage-related companies' earnings

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The latest round of earnings reports from home lending businesses and vendors continue the positive vibe for the sector as most reported year-over-year improvement in profitability.

Altisource Portfolio Solutions is the exception, but even it had a profitable third quarter, with net income of $7.58 million. This was down by 21% compared with the $9.52 million earned in the third quarter of 2018. However, Altisource's results represented an improvement when compared to the second quarter, when it lost $5.8 million.

"During the third quarter, we continued to make solid progress on-boarding new customers and growing revenue from other newer customers," Chairman and CEO William Shepro said in a press release. "Third-quarter 2019 revenue from customers other than Ocwen, New Residential and Front Yard Residential in our core lines of business was 12.3% higher than the same period in 2018 and 16.5% higher than last quarter. We anticipate this trend, on a seasonally adjusted basis, to continue."

Altisource, following the loss of Ocwen as a customer of its mortgage servicing platform, continues to streamline its operations. After the third quarter ended, it announced the shutting of Owners.com.

CoreLogic, another company that shifted its business' focus, had third-quarter net income of $23.2 million, compared with a second quarter net loss of $6 million and third quarter 2018 net earnings of $22.5 million.

"CoreLogic delivered a strong third quarter in terms of revenue growth, mix and margins, driven by strength in our platform-related and other high-margin businesses," President and CEO Frank Martell said in a press release. "We also benefited from improved origination volumes in the U.S. market. Ongoing productivity gains also helped us to boost our overall adjusted EBITDA margins which rose by 140 basis points to 30% in the quarter."

Operating income from CoreLogic's continuing operations rose 23% to $74 million from $60 million during the same period one year ago.

First American Financial benefited from the increase in refinance application. Its closed orders increased 21%, driven by an 89% rise in refi volume.

That boosted net income to $188.2 million for the third quarter, compared with $186.7 million in the second quarter and $151.5 million in the third quarter of 2018.
But it was not just refi business that drove First American's results.

"In the purchase market, open order growth turned positive for the first time since early 2018, and our commercial business continued its strong performance," CEO Dennis Gilmore said in a press release. "Lower interest rates drove substantial growth in our refinance business. Effective expense management and higher investment income, coupled with the broad-based revenue growth across key markets, propelled the company's strong financial performance this quarter."

Although title revenue was up to $1.54 million from $1.41 million a year ago, total average revenue per order fell to $2,513 from $2,667 because of the shift to refis, which have lower fees than purchase orders.

The title insurance business at Old Republic had pretax operating income of $72.8 million, up 7.6% from a year ago, when it was $67.7 million.

While net premiums and fees earned increased 5.2% to $673.8 million, operating expenses rose 4.9% to $611.4 million as claims costs rose 37.3% to $20.7 million.

Old Republic's mortgage insurance business, which has been operating in run-off status, had pretax operating income of $7.3 million, down from $13.2 million. This was expected as premium revenue declined as mortgages in the existing book of business paid off.

Net income, which includes Old Republic's general insurance business line, fell to $152.7 million from $167.9 million one year ago. Over half of the year-over-year decline is a result of smaller investment gains.

Waterstone Financial, the parent of WaterStone Bank and Waterstone Mortgage, had net income of $10.9 million, up from $8.7 million in last year's third quarter.

In the mortgage banking segment, there was net income of $4.1 million for the quarter, compared with $2.1 million one year prior.

Loan production total $851.3 million, up from $761.2 million in the third quarter of 2018. However, while purchase volume made up most of the production, it was still down to a 79% share from 87.6% in the second quarter and 92.1% for the same period last year.

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