Nationstar Mortgage Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:NSM)
2014 Credit Suisse Financial Services Forum Conference Call
February 11, 2014 9:30 AM ET
Jay Bray – CEO
Tapfuma Chibaya – Credit Suisse
Tapfuma Chibaya – Credit Suisse
Good morning, everybody. My name is Tapfuma Chibaya, one of the Credit Suisse Research Analyst working alongside, Douglas Harter. I've pleasure of introducing Nationstar one of the top three non-bank mortgage services today joining us is CEO, Jay Bray and with that. I'll hand it over to Jay.
Thank you. Good morning, everyone thanks for joining the Nationstar session. I’m going to start by giving just a quick overview of the company and then we'll dive into the servicing business, origination business and Solutionstar services and talk a little about 2013 and 2014.
So to begin with, if you look at the business today. We have really have two primary businesses, the servicing business and the origination business and then Solutionstar really supports both of those segments. From a servicing standpoint, we are the sixth largest service from the country today.
We are $391 billion in UPB, over 2.3 million customers. In the origination business, we originated $24 billion in 2013, $5.3 billion of that was in the fourth quarter and today we are only originating government products. So Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie and then our Solutionstar business really supports both origination and servicing.
So Solutionstar provide services all across kind of the real estate value chain. Which would be appraisal, title, closing, property inspections as well as asset disposition? We started the company in 1994. We originally were part of Centex. Our original name was Centex Home Equity and then in July, 2006 Fortress acquired us then we changed the name to Nationstar.
If you move into the servicing business, I mean there is a lot of activity going on here and we are very excited about what the future holds. We are sixth largest servicers, I mentioned. If you look really at the original investment thesis in servicing that we may, we think it remains intact and it's probably stronger than ever.
When we started acquired service in 2008, we felt like that this asset would benefit over the long-term significant from rising rates ultimately and overall improving economy. We still feel that way and still feel like there is a tremendous runway from an overall asset performance standpoint.
In 2012, 2013 we were very focused on acquiring assets, and we will go into that in a little more detail in a second. We acquired over $385 billion in servicing since 2012 and we grew the balance with those assets and advances accordingly.
In 2014, it's all execution. I mean if you look at and we are going to go through this in some amount of detail, but we really feel like with the investments we've made over the last few years that we have significant upside from a profitability standpoint. We are going to drive the profitability from 6 basis points, which were the results in the fourth quarter to 11 basis points overall in 2014.
We are continuing to focus on acquisitions; we have a $1 billion that will generate in 2014 of investable cash. We will continue to focus on the investment pipeline. If you look at the acquisition pipeline today, it's right around $350 billion and that's a number of counterparties we are engaged in a variety of opportunities.
Those opportunities take longer than they used to, which we will touch on later due to regulatory environment etc., but we still feel very, very positive about what's possible as far as an acquisition stand point.
Bottom line is I think, servicing business is really turned into predominantly a fee-based business with a contractual servicing fees, the ancillary fees that are associated with that, we see those fees growing as the portfolio improves. To take a step back, if you look at 2012 and 2013 we grew the portfolio four terms and we made approximately $150 million in investments from technology, people, process improvements etc. and we improved profitability along the way.
If you look back from the fourth quarter, 2012 to the fourth quarter, 2013. You know we've improved profitability significantly. Probably what I'm most proud of with the team in 2013 is the successful boarding of the BoA portfolio and our team did a fabulous job and if you look at the highlights here over $200 billion was boarded over 1 million new customers.
And I think, the way we think about the business. You mean you have multiple stakeholders right, we always think about the customers, we think about the regulators, we think about the investors in both the underlying servicing and then obviously you guys and I think if you look at what we've done from a performance standpoint. Frankly, I don't think anybody could replicate this and I think we are the best in industry when it comes to improving performance.
If you look at first quarter, we bought 102,000 units. Since the boarding we've improved 30 plus delinquency 27% and you can see the rest of the stats there and I think that does a lot of things. More in it improves the profitability profile of those portfolios; two you're really helping customers. We are improving their lives via modifications and other solutions and so I'm extremely proud of what the team accomplished. 2014 is all about industrialization of the platform. We know have the scale, the size. We've acquired a number of portfolios and now it's about reaping the profits, if you will from that portfolio.
And this provides you with some insight into how we are going to do that. Again if you look at the fourth quarter, we are at 6 basis points. If you look at some of the major components of what's going to drive profitability, 3 basis points are going to come from blocking and tackling. Again improved technology, strategic sourcing from an employee standpoint.
Overall delinquency is coming down, better automation, better technology. When you just even look at a customer call and how the customer engages with us and there is many ways that we can improve that process and those are kind of the investments that we are making day-in and day-out and that's going to drive our cost down.
The other big opportunity is in our real estate services business, which is Solutionstar and some services within Nationstar and you can see there, that's where the other pieces of the profitability come from around 2 basis points.
So overall, we are going to march from that 6 to 11 basis points. The next page gives you more detail on exactly where those items are coming from 1.3 to 1.5 basis points again is going to come from automation and workforce management and that can be as simple as, when a customer calls in and they authenticate or they identify themselves in our phone system, making sure they get routed to the appropriate party or providing them the option to do self-service via make a payment etc., check on their escrow and there's just a number of technology tools that we can continue to deploy there to make the customer experience better and actually reduce the time that we spend with that customer to solve their problem.
Delinquency improvement, we saw significant improvement in delinquencies over the last couple of years. We saw delinquencies come down in the fourth quarter. We actually had a very strong January as well. Delinquencies again reduced in January and so we feel very confident about our ability to continue to drive delinquencies down, which ultimately when you drive delinquencies down, it's a win, win, win.
It's helps the customers, it reduces our cost to service that loan and it increases the revenue profile of that loan as well, from a vendor another at our size today. We have a lot of spin that we spin within the servicing organization. And when you look at our ability to leverage that spin, consolidate that spin and put pressure if you will on our vendors. I mean, we are going to drive those cost down and we've already done that.
Some of our major vendors have already come to the table with some significant reductions and again we will expect that to continue. And then the last is real estate services again. A lot of that is Solutionstar and our ability to sell properties through the Solutionstar. Homesearch site, we are now offering different services on the Homesearch site.
So if you come to the Homesearch site and you want to buy a property. Now we will provide you with financing as well, and so we are starting to get a significant number of leads for the origination channels, through that Homesearch site and I think that will be another big opportunity as we move forward.
Moving to Solutionstar. I mean Solutionstar is been nothing short of amazing. I mean we launched this really in the fourth quarter of 2012. It's obviously a fee-for-service business very capital-light. Couple of milestones in 2013, as we bought the Equifax Settlement business in February, 2013 and that business was really appraisal, title, closing.
Their customer base included a lot of the large financial institutions. So it's all third party business and we acquired Equifax to do a couple things. One to start capturing more Nationstar spin, so you know as we order appraisals, as we order titles, we order closing. We are now using this platform to do that.
And I think it does two things. One it allows us to capture that spin and the associated profits and it provides a better customer experience as well. And then in March, 2013 we launched Homesearch and Homesearch again is our portal to be able to sell and offer different services from a real estate standpoint to in consumers.
From a financial standpoint, you made revenue of $185 million in 2013, pretax income of $67 million and then we had a lot of one-time cost in the Solutionstar business as we build that business out from a corporate infrastructure technology investment standpoint and you can see kind of the different components of revenues.
One of the, I think the great things that Equifax did for us, is it brought in a number of third party clients and we've been able to keep those clients and actually expand market share with those clients. So one of the top four financial institutions that we do business with is now increasing their allocation to Solutionstar, they're ordering more appraisals through us, more title, more closing, etc. and I think that trend will continue in 2014.
Bigger is the focus in 2014 for Solutionstar. Obviously, we are going to sell lot more properties through Homesearch. We think, we'll sell close to 20,000 properties in 2014 and we are going to start rolling out more products within Homesearch. We are going to allow customers to be able to select a broker, they're going to be able to order appraisals order title, order closing themselves, if they need no services, order acquisition services.
And so there is a number of product offerings that they're going to roll out in 2014 as well. And I would say two, on the acquisition front. We are probably spending now, as much energy on Solutionstar acquisition opportunities as we are even in [indiscernible] opportunities because there's a number of things that we think we can bolt-on to Solutionstar that ultimately is going to make it premier provider in the industry.
If you look kind of drive dive into the different revenue percentages in 2014 of the different businesses and then the overall profitability. You can see from a property sale standpoint that's going to be 61% of the revenue, settlement will be 33% of the revenue, and asset recovery and other will be 6%.
Overall we expect Solutionstar to generate $400 million in revenue or $215 million in pretax income for 2014. And if you look at the bottom of the page. This is kind of the vision of ultimately where we're going to take this platform. There is a number of services that we are already providing today. Some of those were doing in scales and some of them those were not.
And we think, we can provide significant amount of services to our customers as well as third parties in all these different product lines. So that will be big focus in 2014. Ultimately, we think Nationstar or Solutionstar and Homesearch can kind of be the Amazon of the real estate business.
We would like all things real estate to come to Homesearch site and we would like to be able to provide those services to in-customers, to businesses etc., and so that is ultimately the vision for the company.
You know one thing I think that, folks get caught up on is, when is the next acquisition within Nationstar? Obviously we are active, we are looking for opportunities. What I tell our team everybody is we focus on what we can control, and if you look at the existing Nationstar portfolio. I mean there is significant opportunities and this will just provide you some insight into that.
If you look at, what's going to prepay over the next five years in our portfolio, it's significant 750,000 accounts on a voluntary basis at a modest prepay, that's going to prepay over the next five years. If we recapture 45% of that, it's 340,000 customers that we are going to keep and that's 340,000 originations that we are going to make 0.1 [ph] to 1.5 and so we feel extremely excited about that and I think it's something that we prove in time and time again that we can do drive that recapture up.
So I think again focusing on execution everyday within our business and what we can control, will ultimately be the highest and best use of our energy. From an involuntary standpoint, again there is a number of properties that are still and number of borrowers that are still in the foreclosure process, late stage foreclosure process.
So when you take a snapshot of what's going to transpire over the next five years. There's a 165,000 properties that we think will come out of the existing Nationstar portfolio that will use Homesearch and you know their auction service, another services to sell those properties.
So again these significantly large numbers and I think significant opportunity for us to continue to optimize and capture as much as that P&L, as much of that opportunity is possible and then globally. I mean the way we think about Solutionstar and Homesearch there's $8 million transactions in the real estate transactions in the United States.
Can we capture a piece of a lot of those transactions or most of those transactions and then what does that translate into revenue and P&L. So that's really how we are thinking about it from a macro standpoint.
Switching to originations, I think it's we are retooling the assembly line if you will. I mean we looked at in the third quarter, what made sense long-term in origination business. We refocused our energy really on the recapture channel, the consumer direct channel.
As you can see from the previous page. There's so much opportunity there and the profit there is significantly higher than the other channels. You know that's where we want to spend our time and energy.
So we refocused back to the core. We've made a number of operational changes in the third quarter, fourth quarter and early 2014 and kind of retooling that platform and retooling really means. We've right-sized it, I mean we've reduced expenses at least $15 million quarter-over-quarter from third to fourth quarter and that will be reduced even more from fourth quarter to first quarter.
And just get back to the basics; get a pipeline that's manageable. Focus on closing those loans in 45 to 60 days and if you look at the business in January it's profitable. I mean, so we've done a lot of good things. I think in the origination business to really retool it and get focused. Work down that pipeline and if you look at kind of the profile today. You have about 400 basis point revenue in the direct consumer channel.
So it's a still very strong revenue channel and those margins have stabilized. We are not seeing significant amount of volatility, when you look at overall revenue in that channel and in the cost. We are driving down, obviously we still had in the third and fourth quarter significant amount of expense as we work down the pipeline, but we are getting those expenses line.
Ultimately we think, the expenses will be in that 250 to 275 range and will drive that profit of 125 basis points. So I feel actually fantastic about where we are at from origination standpoint. We've spent a lot of time personally in that, in the last couple of months. I think we retooled it, we got it to the right size and return it to profitability.
Just like the rest of the market. Clearly we experienced some disruption there, but I think it's back online and it's doing well. Moving to kind of investable cash, we ended the year $442 million in cash. We have two more opportunities within our Z [ph] to sell advances which will generates another call it $350 million and then when you look at the business and the investable cash flow, it's going to generate should be in excess of $400 million.
So there is, a bit of a war chest to put the word and again we are focused on what are the right new investments and we've passed on a number of MSR opportunities given the complexity of the transactions, given the profitability of the transaction and we will continue to do that, but we are looking continue to be aggressive and looking for opportunities in the MSR space and then like I said, there also some opportunities within Solutionstar that we are spending more and more time on as well that we think, build out that platform from a real estate services standpoint.
Yes, I think it’s the capital is there and we are looking for ways to deploy. Other alternatives would be to pay down some debt, or deleverage a bit and we are looking at that as well. From the fourth quarter standpoint, I felt it was important to kind of share, at this conference the fourth quarter results. So that we could spend time in one-on-one etc. talking about what's going with the business, talking about the fourth quarter in more detail.
You can see overall, from a net income standpoint $49 million to $54 million loss. We had one-time expenses associated with shutting down, those originations platforms. Also we had some one-time expenses with the NRZ transaction as we wrote off previous debt financing cost etc. so on a pro forma basis, you know you're at $17 million to $22 million or $19 million to $24 million since.
And again in my mind, the fourth quarter was really a bit of a retooling especially in the origination business. I mean the servicing business actually delivered what we expected made 6 basis points in on a pro forma basis and overall profitability continues to hit the kind of goals and objectives that we lay out for them from a cost standpoint, profitability standpoint.
And the origination was a cleanup at the end of the day, we had to let go a number of people. We had to work our pipeline down and that's really what took place in the fourth quarter. So from 2014 and beyond, I think overall we are very excited about the opportunities. I mean when you look at, kind of how we finished out January. How we think, we're the run rates if you will today.
We think, we are going to continue to be on track to hit the guidance that we outlined. There's this significant amount of opportunity again in the existing portfolio and if we deliver, which we will on those different phases of profitability improvement, Solutionstar ramp etc. that will drive these results and so we remain extremely confident in that.
And we also remain very confident in our ability to go out and acquire more and I don't think it's going to be necessarily the $200 billion deals that people love. I think it will be more singles and doubles and we feel confident about that.
In the third quarter and fourth quarter alone, we acquired over $30 billion to $40 billion in MSRs and so we have been active, if you look at our replenishment rate. Run offers us what we replenished in the portfolio, it was over 300% between the bulk acquisitions and the flow acquisitions versus the run off.
We continue to run well ahead of the run-off pace and will continue to do that in 2014. So we are very, very focused ultimately on execution. Day-in and day-out operators are focused on heating the task that we've outline to achieve this overall profitability. So with that, I'll open it up for questions.
Tapfuma Chibaya – Credit Suisse
Jay, I'm about to kick it off. So with the recent news coming out Ocwen, the New York bank regulator, pulling the Wells Fargo deal. Maybe from what you see, can you just talk about the implications of that for the growth of the industry maybe specifically for you guys and also maybe just to talk about, whether you've gotten such type of inquiries from regulators as well?
Well, I think the New York situation is specific to Ocwen. I mean, I don't think we can comment on the details around that because we don't really know the details. I mean our approach is always been, this environment or this industry is regulated and you have a number of different folks that are involved in that.
The States, we are regulated by the States. We are regulated by the CFPB and then FHFA as far as Fannie and Freddie are concerned. And our approach is always been, again we have, you know multiple stakeholders and the regulators are a very important part of that, and so we have always approached that very seriously and we've always really invited the regulators into our organization and be very transparent with how we treat customers, how we work to improve customers lives etc.
And so we don't have any inquires around that, we haven't had that situation happen at Nationstar. We are going to remain very diligent and very focused on making sure that we keep all parties happy and we certainly have had a lot of visits and interaction, with every regulator known to man, but my personal view is that's part of the business and that's something that, we are always going to be I think engaged with that and our job is just to continue to focus on execution and taking care of customers and I think we done a good job at that.
I mean what impact does it have to the overall industry. I mean, I think there is scrutiny in the servicing space in general. I mean you've seen it, go back to 2007, 2008 there's been a significant amount of scrutiny. You know I think that's going to continue, but as long as we continue to deliver, continue to drive delinquencies down and do the right thing for customers and do the right thing for investors.
I think Nationstar will continue to be recognized as the premier provider in the space.
Well, it was profitable in January and you know again there is a little bit of noise obviously in the pipeline etc. but I mean our goal is to be profitable in first quarter. We've got, we've taken out 15 in the fourth quarter, we've got, we announced another series of reductions and some cost reductions actually in January and then some more this week and so I think we should be done with this material cost cutting now.
So I think that's on track and again when you look at the revenue piece of it, it's still very strong. It's 400 basis points and you think about the reason I think, this channel the direct consumer channel especially it's somewhat easier to control because it's your customers, right? It's a centralized platform, so you're not dealing with distributed retail branches etc.
So it's very in my mind easy or you're able to kind of focus on the cost and take them out and we couldn't really act sooner than we haven't acted because we had a significant pipeline that we grew in 2013 and that was intentional. I mean we really grew the pipeline to help us many customers as we could, to do as many HARP loans as we could for Fannie and Freddie, but now we are through the majority of that and so I think it's right sized and I think on the right path.
I mean, I think we are there now, right? I mean if you look at, I mean it's little. I think people, probably get a little confused and say, we are special service. We are really not a special service. I mean, my team are today. We are actually the best or among the best at servicing delinquent loans, but over 80% of our portfolio is performing right another, a third of the portfolio is really 700 FICO or better.
So I mean you've got a significant piece of the portfolio, is what you would call kind of traditional platform and I think that's where again when you look at our cost per loan. I do think there is lot of opportunity in that prime if you will kind of truly performing portfolio to reduce the cost and so I think we are there today and then as we acquire assets. I think it's going to be blend, just like it always has been, there will be a blend of some distressed if you will or credit sensitive assets that need extra love and care, but the majority of it will be performing customers that need really strong servicing on the front-end.
Thank you. I was hoping you would comment on the servicing pipeline and your expectation for pricing whether dynamics have changed it all?
Yes, on the pipeline itself. It remains large, the ability to get those to the finish line. It seems like it's always taking longer than we had expected and so it's not a lot different than what we've talked about previously. I mean you've got, it's predominantly financial institutions that are selling. You've got a couple of opportunities that are in, call it higher than $40 billion range and then the rest is a number of more in $10 billion to $15 billion range.
And so I think it's the profile itself really hasn't changed. I would say the majority of it still is probably 70%, 65%, 70% of it is Fannie and Freddie and Ginnie product. We are seeing more Ginnie come to market now and the pricing itself is, it can be steamed. You know at certain opportunities. You know and so it's definitely higher than it was a couple years ago and but I think with I mean, our view is that we are actually the best counter party for these transactions.
Especially if you're large financial institutions given what we've done with BoA, given what we've done with First Tennessee and some of these other institutions. You know we've been able to take those customers and prove time and time again to the regulators as well as to the seller that servicing that we can deliver the right amount of customer care, the right amount of performance etc.
And so I think we are the best counter party for that and we will ultimately be successful, but it is we are not going to acquire servicing and just to acquire servicing and if the pricing is not where it needs to be, then we won't acquire it. But I think there's enough opportunity and we are out of point now, where we are again I think from a credibility standpoint have a lot of credibility with these financial institutions that we can be kind of the go-to partner for them.
[Indiscernible] if you could comment the Wells Fargo portfolio that Ocwen. One was that something that you were interested in or?
Yes, we bid on that and we were outbid ultimately on that.
Hi, thanks very much. Just another question on pricing. How much can you pay, like how do you think about it? Like in terms of do you pay off multiple of the base servicing fee and when does it become uneconomic for an agent start a newer deal?
Yes, and the price at least is quoted off of a multiple of the servicing fee and so if you go back. I would say that range and again it depends. It's very, very portfolio specific, but it's range from 1.8 multiple to 2.5 multiple. If you look kind of over the last three or four years and it fundamentally comes down to what type of portfolio is it. So Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie and POS are all different.
They're different in a way, you know the revenue comes to the server serve. They're different in a way from a cost standpoint and so that's a big piece of the value and then also how delinquent is the portfolio. So the more delinquent, you know the lower the price and so there's the major driver.
Ultimately, the main variables in your valuation is going to be prepays and default. I mean you know it's that simple and so ultimately you have to make a decision based on history and based on what you think the market is going to do, around those two assumptions but that's how we think about it.
I mean, is it fair to say that like Ocwen is using our competitive advantage with lower tax rate, lower expense structure that they're trying to price out competitors from deals.
I don't think so, I mean there's again it comes down to effectiveness as well, right? And so cost clearly matters, but the overwhelming. I mean it's like leaps and bounds, driver of the value is prepays and default and so from a default standpoint. If you're more effective, which we think we are, if you're more effective at reducing delinquencies or driving 60 day back to current or keeping current from going to 30, that's a huge, huge component of the value.
And then the prepays, we have the ability to capture those loans as a prepays and so they're economics associated with that as well. So cost is always going to be a component, but we actually sensitize all the different assumptions, when we look at an opportunity and you know continuously the number one driver is defaults and how many of those loans are going to default in prepays.
Okay and just one last question. Just on the NRZ kind of financing transaction was announced in December, who gets the servicing fee, the 25 basis points.
Well it's a, the initial fees goes to NRZ and then piece of that comes back to Nationstar. So it's not dissimilar from some of the other structure that are out there. Where NRZ owns the right to the servicing, but then we get to share a fewer and piece of that fee and then we also get to share and more of that fee depending on the performance.
I mean the fundamentally, the way we looked at that transaction it certainly provides us with an ability to generate capital. It certainly reduces the overall assets on the balance sheet, which we think is a good thing and it eliminates the need, if you'll going forward for the advances that we sell for that funding obligation.
And ultimately, what really make that thing extremely valuable is driving those advances down. I mean, if we can drive those advances down. Which again, we are off to a very, very good start to the year. It's going to be significantly reduce the cost to us and ultimately to NRZ as well. So that's what we are focused on, is taking those advances from $6 billion to $3 billion and doing that in the right way.
And then I guess on the conference call you said that, it won't have an economic impact. Did you take out small mark this quarter on the NRZ transaction?
I'm not sure, if there's a small mark on the NRZ for this quarter. You mean the fourth quarter?
Well, the way accounting works is there will be some mark-to-market feature that but I don't know if it was, I don't know that it was material, but we'll follow-up on that.
Thanks very much.
[Indiscernible] by replacing the revenues, I'm sorry.
Well, so the question was on the Solutionstar business. Can you talk about, how are you, how fast is REO running off and how we are replacing that? Well I think, if you look at the slide that are referenced, right? We've got, we're going to sell 20,000 properties this year out of the Nationstar portfolio and then you've got another call it 175,000. I think 165,000 that were coming over the next five years.
So I mean, to me it's like a bit ridiculous when people like well the default trade [indiscernible], it over, it's not over. Right? Just take a step back, look at the number of loans that are in foreclosure and then where are those loans are going to go, right. Majority of those loans are going to REO and so when you look at our portfolio and the percentages are in foreclosure and kind of run that out. Based on the roll rates that we have actually seen over time.
You still got 165,000 properties coming over the next five years. Which is you know more than we are going to sell this year five times more and so I think that's, we are not losing a lot of sleep over that. And I think it's going to be a continuous revenue stream and a strong revenue stream.
I will say that, what we are focused on is doing that for other folks, right? And we've some good meetings with some of the government agencies. We've had a couple of good meetings with [indiscernible] institutions. It's a very compelling story, I mean if you think about the process itself and you look at selling the property. You're brining bidders to that property.
Right? On an average, we have I think 3.8 bidders per property and you get better results and so what we are trying to do now, is share those analytics with different parties and I think we will be successful in getting more third party business through that as well. So I'm not really, I mean the other thing, I would say is there is what, $30 billion in NPLs that are going to be sold this year and I think NRZ and Nationstar are looking for ways to participate in that market.
NRZ has tons of capability there and we do as well and that would be another opportunity for Solutionstar and those would be actually ones that acquire or the NRZ would acquire, we would participate in and that would run through the kind of Solutionstar factory as well. So I think there is number of ways to keep that train going for a long, long time.
Great, well. Thank you guys very much. I appreciate it.
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