LoanDepot originations set record despite mortgage rate jump

LoanDepot’s originations climbed to a new record in the first quarter amid higher rates and margin compression that contributed to lower consecutive-quarter net income.

Home loan volume jumped to $41.5 billion from $37.4 billion in the fourth quarter and $15.2 billion in the first quarter of 2020. Meanwhile, gain-on-sale fell to 2.71% from 3.38% in the previous three months and 3.5% in the first quarter of 2020. That left loanDepot with $427.9 million in earnings, down from $547.2 million in the fourth quarter of last year but up from nearly $89 million in the first three months of last year.

The unusually strong production numbers seen in the first quarter of this year show loanDepot is emerging as a contender in the battle for loan volume and market share amid an industry price war.

“We are well positioned, able to add new products and services, and consider acquisitions, no matter the market environment,” said CEO Anthony Hsieh during the company’s earnings call.

LoanDepot is counting on its brand recognition and business model that’s more diversified than some of its peers to help it to prevail in the price competition that’s set in as higher rates have reduced consumer demand.

The company not only has a low-cost direct-to-consumer channel driven by automation, but also has a network of local loan officers in key markets, and joint ventures with home builders such as Schell Brothers and AV Homes. In addition, in contrast to some of its peers, loanDepot is less exclusively focused on the wholesale market, where price competition’s been particularly intense.

At $19.26 per share, the company’s stock was down more than 3% on Monday from when the earnings were released, but the price was trending upward at approximately 1 p.m. in the Eastern time zone.

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