Planet Financial’s first quarter servicing portfolio up $3BN

In the first quarter of 2020,Planet Home Lending, LLC, the Meriden, Conn.,based subsidiary of Planet Financial Group, LLC, reported its servicing portfolio grew by $3 billion or 17%, quarter-over-quarter, to $21 billion, fueled by higher refinancing customer retention and new correspondent business.

Planet Home Lending recaptured approximately 53% of the servicing customers who refinanced their mortgages during the first quarter, up from 45% in the last quarter of 2019, according to two company releases.

The lender and servicer said it funded $2 billion in new correspondent lending volume. The increase follows an annual correspondent volume growth of more than $6 billion, 70% year-over-year, by the end of the fourth quarter 2019.

Quarter highlights include the addition of new retail branches in Upland, California and Henderson, Nevada, and new top producing hires in multiple markets across the company footprint.

Planet Home Lending responded to forbearance and loss mitigation challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during this challenging time, “seeking ways to go beyond the basics to help customers, business partners and sub-servicing clients,” said Planet Financial Group CEO and President Michael Dubeck.

COVID-19 response

In March, Planet Home Lending says it began offering forbearance relief, suspended foreclosures and evictions for affected customers during the forbearance period, along with negative credit reporting and late fees.

During Q1 2020, stranded customers were able to avoid in person loan closings by using Planet Home Lending’s Hybrid eClosings and Remote Online Notary services in select markets, and apply from the safety of their homes using secure online applications supported by a digital mortgage assistant, the company said.

“We also have stepped up our email, website, call center and social media responses to reach our borrowers,” Dubeck said. “When we speak with customers, we are taking more time to explain the nuances in the options available to them.”  

Servicing & loss mitigation

During the first quarter, the servicing team created additional short-term loss mitigation programs, and developed more volume and delinquency reporting for borrowers, investors and sub-servicing clients, said Planet Home Lending President, Sandra Jarish.

The company added data reports and workflows to its sub-servicing channel offering private clients immediate insights into the ways COVID-19 is influencing their residential and commercial loan portfolios.

“We are default experts,” she said. “Our seasoned servicing staff designed processes to track borrower impact and created a streamlined application process for loss mitigation.”

HouseCanary sees signs of new detached-home listings recovery

Although the number of weekly new listings of detached, single-family homes remains below the expected Spring-level, the decline rate is slowing down as new listings in 27 of the 41 states tracked increased week-over-week indicating “a bottom appears to be in sight,” according to home valuation fintech, HouseCanary.

HouseCanary’s Market Pulse tracks listing volume, new listings, and median list price for 41 states. The most recent report compared data between the week ending April 24, 2020, and the week ending March 13, 2020, along with the change in listing counts in recent weeks.

Data for the week ending April 24 – shows a continued decline across all categories: Weekly new listing volume, weekly volume of listings going into contract for single-family detached homes, median list price of newly listed single-family detached homes, and median list price per-square foot of newly listed single-family detached homes.

Even so, there also seems to be a bottom in sight.Compared to the week ending March 13, weekly new listing volume of single-family detached homes fell in all 41 states tracked; Down by more than 50% in Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Weekly volume of listings going into contract for single-family detached homes also fell in 35 of 41 states tracked, down by 50% in New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, “below expected levels for this time of the year.” The number of properties going into contract increased in 33 states.

“HouseCanary data this week showed the greatest impact to states in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast,” said Jeremy Sicklick, Co-Founder and CEO of HouseCanary. “New York continues to dominate the news with daily reports of more coronavirus cases. Other states in our study have begun showing stability and the bottom may be in sight.”

New website will track accountability of PPP relief recipients

Covid Stimulus Watch, a new website launched by Washington, D.C. based nonprofit, Good Jobs First pledges the data will make it easier for lenders and other parties to assess the accountability records of companies receiving Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) relief.

“Our new website enables users to quickly see if recipient corporations have received previous financial assistance from federal or state agencies, and whether they have been penalized for abuses of their workers, government contracts, the environment, or consumers,” said Philip Mattera, the nonprofit’s research director.

Covid Stimulus Watch currently contains data on active assistance authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act program for Small Business Administration (SBA), including the PPP and the Payroll Support Program (for airlines), which public companies have reported in their Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

The website also provides data on excessive Chief Executive Officer pay “and tax avoidance by large companies,” said Mattera. But, it is structured primarily to incorporate bulk assistance recipient data the nonprofit says “will hopefully be released in the near future” by the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and SBA.

Along with active awards, the site separately lists more than two dozen PPP loans some companies have announced they are returning, in response to public outcries, the nonprofit said.

Covid Stimulus Watch assembled the accountability data linked to the recipients in six categories.

The nonprofit used information from its Violation Tracker platform to create the first four data categories – Employment-related penalties; Government-contracting related penalties; Environmental, healthcare and safety penalties; Consumer protection, financial misconduct and unfair competition penalties.

The fifth category – relates to taxes and subsidies. It shows which large companies have paid very low federal income tax rates, or received large amounts of pre-pandemic financial assistance from federal, state and local programs.

The final category – shows which recipient companies have high levels of executive compensation, especially when compared to the salary of a typical worker.

The nonprofit’s executive director Greg LeRoy said, the founders hope is that their actionable information will be used widely by public officials, advocates, journalists and the wider public “to advance the debate over which companies deserve financial assistance amid the current crisis,” and as importantly, “what safeguards should be put in place.”

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