Several mortgage lenders issued reports this week detailing losses or cutbacks in operations as members of the Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee meet today to consider slashing the federal funds overnight rate.
Among the reports:
- Impac Mortgage Holdings said it will stop funding Alt-A loans, the company’s core business, citing market disruptions, illiquidity and lack of investor confidence.
- Accredited Home Lenders, which last month said it would close its retail lending business and lay off more than 1,000 workers, filing a belated report for the first quarter revealing it posted a $260.2 million loss.
- NovaStar Financial Inc. said it will relinquish its status as a real estate investment trust (REIT) because it could not pay the required $157 million dividend — a move that will subject the company to a retroactive tax bill.
- Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. said after adjusting for gains for hedging, it was forced to reduce by $700 million the value of fixed-income investments including leveraged loan commitments and residential mortgage-related positions.
Irvine, Calif.-based Impac announced layoffs of 350 workers Aug. 22, after reporting $152 million in losses during the second quarter and margin calls from creditors.
In a press release issued today, Impac said it had given layoff notices to another 144 employees, and was exiting “substantially all of its mortgage lending” except for some retail facilities it acquired from Pinnacle Financial Corp. in May that are originating conforming mortgage loans.
Impac said it will post third-quarter losses and does not expect to pay common stock dividends for the rest of the year.
Impac said the downsized company would concentrate on maximizing income from long-term investment operations, servicing past mortgage customers and making “selective strategic investments in companies like our investment in Arch Bay LLC, an acquirer of nonperforming mortgage assets.”
Accredited Home Lenders issued a belated report on first-quarter results today, blaming a $260 million loss on:
- a 47 percent drop in loan originations, to $1.9 billion
- a $150 million pretax loss on the sale of $2.7 billion in loans to pay creditors
- a 44 percent increase in operating expenses to $113.5 million from the company’s fourth-quarter merger with Aames Investment Corp.
At the end of 2006, Accredited employed 4,200 workers, including 1,177 added in the Aames merger. The company, which last month announced it was exiting the retail mortgage lending business and laying off 1,050 workers, said that as of Sept. 14, it employed 1,000 and “may implement additional reductions in our number of employees and other cost-saving measures.”
During the seven months ended July 31, 2007, Accredited said it repurchased approximately $207 million in mortgage loans and paid $67 million to resolve other repurchase claims, in some cases eliminating future repurchase requirements.
Last month, Accredited sued Loan Star Fund V over a June 4 merger agreement that Loan Star says it is no longer obligated to close. A trial is scheduled to begin later this month.
NovaStar Financial, which last month announced layoffs of 500 workers as it closed wholesale operations centers in California and Ohio, on Monday said it was unable to distribute $157 million in taxable income from 2006 to shareholders, and would lose its REIT tax status, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006.
Termination of NovaStar’s REIT status “will have a significant adverse impact” on the company’s third-quarter results, including income-tax expenses and charges for penalties and interest.
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. today reported third-quarter net income of $887 million, a decrease of 3 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Because of Lehman’s investments in securities backed by mortgage loans, that was less than some analysts had feared.
But Lehman reported “very substantial valuation reductions” in its Fixed Income Capital Markets unit, “most significantly on leveraged loan commitments and residential mortgage-related positions.” Large valuation gains on economic hedges partially offset the losses, reducing revenues by approximately $700 million.
Lehman Brothers announced the closure of its BNC Mortgage LLC subsidiary in August and layoffs of 850 workers on Sept. 6 as part of a restructuring plan for its residential mortgage origination business.