Add mortgage lender Mountain West Financial to the list of victims of the price war in the wholesale channel.
The Redlands, California-based company informed its broker network last week that it has “made the difficult decision to take a step back from wholesale lending,” according to a spokesperson.
Founded in 1990, Mountain will continue to serve retail and consumer direct clients throughout the Western United States. With 24 locations, it offers Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Affairs (VA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), conventional loans and down payment assistance programs.
According to the Scotsman Guide, the lender originated $2.75 billion in 2021, closing 9,991 loans. In total, wholesale comprises 35% of the total. The data shows that in the first half of 2022, the company reached $1.9 billion in total volume and wholesale was responsible for 39%.
Mountain’s spokesperson said the company will honor all loans in the pipeline that were submitted and locked by Aug. 26. However, all loans must be closed by Sept. 30. Reasons for the decision were not provided.
However, reduced origination volumes and a price war imposed by rival United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), have caused several mortgage companies to exit the wholesale channel.
UWM pledged to beat the top 20 lenders’ pricing by one basis point in May. In June, the company took another aggressive step towards pricing with the ‘Game On’ pricing initiative, slashing prices across all loans by 50 to 100 basis points.
Homepoint followed its competitor by launching a new program to reduce prices for lower-income borrowers in August. The company is offering a 75-basis point pricing bonus for conforming conventional loans in specific zip codes in 20 states.
The initiatives are wreaking havoc on competitors with already compressed margins.
loanDepot, for example, shut down its wholesale division and non-delegated correspondent channel amid plummeting origination volumes and widening financial losses in the second quarter.
Celebrity Home Loans exited the wholesale channel to focus on retail lending, mainly affecting Cypress Mortgage Capital, the correspondent division for Celebrity that offered non-qualified mortgages, prime jumbos and reverse mortgages.
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