NovaStar Financial Inc. said it will resume funding loans through its wholesale channel today after disruptions in the secondary loan market forced it to suspend commitments for new loans last week.
The Kansas City, Mo.-based lender said it is adjusting its pricing and underwriting guidelines for the wholesale channel, but continues to honor all existing commitments and fund all loans that had already been approved.
NovaStar’s retail channel, which loans directly to homeowners, has continued to fund loans using “guidelines that are evolving to meet changing needs of the secondary market,” the company said in a statement Monday.
Wholesale loan production represented 73 percent of NovaStar’s loan originations in the first quarter, compared with 24 percent in retail and 3 percent through correspondent lending. NovaStar reported May 10 that it would have posted a $39.8 million loss for the quarter if not for a one-time tax-related gain of $84.2 million related to the termination of the lender’s status as a real estate investment trust (REIT).
Some lenders that securitize and sell their loans to Wall Street investors have had trouble unloading loans made to borrowers with flawed credit, as rising delinquencies and defaults have prompted ratings agencies to reevaluate how they assess the riskiness of such loans.
So far this year, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service has downgraded 431 classes of subprime mortgage-backed securities issued in 2006, or about 9 percent of those rated. The ratings agency has also downgraded about 3 percent of the subprime MBS it evaluated in 2005.
Standard & Poor’s has downgraded 46.3 percent of the second-lien loans rated in 2006, and 15.75 percent of those evaluated in 2005. A smaller proportion of Alt-A loans — .3 percent of the 2006 vintage, and .33 percent of those issued in 2005 — have also been downgraded, with similar numbers on CreditWatch negative for possible downgrades.