Reverse mortgage lender Live Well Financial laying off 103 workers

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Live Well Financial, a reverse and traditional mortgage lender that abruptly stopped originating on May 3, will lay off 103 employees, according to a Virginia Employment Commission filing.

The national company, which is based in the Richmond, Va., area, has continuity plans for loans in progress. Live Well has five active branches, one each in Arizona, California, Hawaii, New Jersey and Nevada, according to the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System.

Financial problems related to an unanticipated change in the market for collateral securing Live Well's warehouse lines and ensuing regulatory issues led to the layoffs, according to a company letter obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Live Well Financial has been a midsized player in the securitization market for government-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages.

The company was the seventh largest issuer of HMBS in the first quarter, according to an analysis of data from Ginnie Mae and other private information by consultancy New View Advisors. Live Well issued $86 million based on original aggregate amount in 1Q19, and had a market share of more than 5% during the period. It sold its pre-existing HMBS book to Reverse Mortgage Funding late last year.

RMF was the top HMBS issuer in 2018 with almost $4 billion in issuance and a more than 40% market share. It also was the second largest HMBS issuer in the first quarter with almost $324 million in issuance and a market share of nearly 20%.

The top issuer in the first quarter was American Advisors Group, which issued $391 million in HMBS and had an almost 24% market share during the period.

Reverse mortgages, which are home equity loans and lines of credit used by older borrowers, continue to be primarily government products. But proprietary loan offerings in this market have been gaining momentum.

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Layoffs Reverse mortgages Securitization Home equity loans HELOCs Ginnie Mae Virginia