Lenders See Average 98% Revenue Growth in 2020, Says Maxwell’s Mortgage Lender Outlook
DENVER, COLO. Dec 22, 2020 — This year’s unprecedented market drove an average 96% growth in loan volume and 98% growth in revenue compared to last year for lenders surveyed, says Maxwell’s newly released 2H 2020 Mortgage Lender Outlook. The study, which digs into how lenders have fared in 2020 and their sentiment towards next year, reveals dramatic gains over the past year and reflects the frenetic pace of 2020’s lending market.
While these numbers are impressive, especially against the backdrop of an economy struggling to regain viability, the increased production has come with costs. Among other hurdles, lenders cited economic uncertainty and operations recruitment and retention as two of the biggest challenges their businesses faced so far this year.
Sizable Growth in 2020
On average, lenders are projecting over 90% more earnings over 2019, with 86% expecting loan volume to exceed last year’s number. Overall, lenders surveyed anticipate that several important KPIs will have doubled year-over-year by the close of 2020.
These metrics emphasize a booming year where lenders have worked around lack of personnel and a burning-out workforce to achieve an unprecedented amount of work. “We have processors that have well over 100 loans in their pipelines,” said Jodi Hall, President of Nationwide Mortgage Bankers, at the recent MAXOUT conference, adding that her company has aggressively added new full-time employees and interns to meet volume demands this year.
Mixed Outlook on 2021
Despite optimism that refi volume will roll over into the first half of 2021, followed by a strong purchase market, lender sentiment is still dampening around next year’s performance. Most respondents (around 37%) said they were less optimistic in next year’s industry outlook. (A similar percentage expressed no change in enthusiasm from 2020 to 2021.)
Still, lenders surveyed tended to believe their individual companies were uniquely well-positioned to take on 2021. A little over 40% responded that they were more optimistic in their own business’s financial performance in 2021 compared to 2020. This finding may reflect these lenders’ strategies to take advantage of the coming growth market.
As MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni said at MAXOUT, “If you’re a purchase-focused lender, particularly focused on first-time buyers, I think the next several years are going to be very strong. We’re now forecasting $1.59 trillion in purchase volume in 2021. That’s an all-time record, and we think it’s going to keep going up from there.”
Market-Dictated Challenges & Aggressive Hiring Plans
The Maxwell 2H 2020 Mortgage Lender Outlook also unearthed the various challenges industry professionals face in a booming lending environment. Along with planning for an uncertain future, lenders struggled to recruit, retain, and motivate their operations teams. This challenge was also reflected in ambitious hiring plans. Specifically, most respondents reported they were looking to hire over 10% of staff.
Many of the most urgent challenges lenders face in 2020 relate to keeping their heads above water in a high-volume environment. Specifically, over 40% of professionals surveyed said economic uncertainty and operations recruitment and retention were keeping them up at night. These struggles were followed closely by operations morale (33%) and technology implementation (28%), reflecting a concern over employee productivity and burnout.
“The volume this year has been oppressive, really. It’s been nonstop, there’s been no letup,” reflected Rich Swerbinsky, COO of The Mortgage Collaborative, at MAXOUT. “It’s been great for the profit margins and profit totals of mortgage bankers, but there’s certainly been some consequences that come with that crush of volume.”
About Maxwell’s 2H 2020 Mortgage Lender Outlook
In October of 2020, Maxwell reached out to managers, VPs, SVPs, and C-suite executives at banks, credit unions, and independent mortgage banks across the country to understand how 2020 was performing compared to their expectations, how they expected the year to close out, and how they anticipated their businesses would perform in 2021.
During the survey period, Maxwell gathered the opinions of management and executive members from 46 unique lending institutions through the end of Q3 2020. The 15 questions were focused around expected 2020 performance, outlook and sentiments towards 2021, challenges and opportunities, and hiring plans and strategy.
Maxwell empowers mortgage lenders to be more connected, productive and successful by intelligently automating their workflow with homebuyers and real estate agents. A four-time HW Tech 100 winner, Maxwell’s digital mortgage platform leverages proprietary algorithms built on its network of data across hundreds of thousands of loans to enable lenders to accelerate the mortgage lending process from application to underwriting. Today, hundreds of lenders across the United States use Maxwell’s point-of-sale to originate $5 billion in mortgage loans each month at a cycle time 45 percent faster than the national average. Founded in 2015, Maxwell is a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association and a preferred partner of The Mortgage Collaborative. The company is proud to be built in Denver, Colorado.