Citigroup Says Goodbye to Mortgage Servicing

New Residential Investment Corp announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase nearly $97 billion in unpaid principal balance (UPB) of mortgage servicing rights from CitiMortgage Inc. The agreement represents an acceleration of Citigroup’s initiative to move out of mortgage servicing.

“Over the past several years, we have made significant progress transforming our business to deliver a sustainable annuity of growth,” stated CitiMortgage President and CEO C.D. Davies. “CitiMortgage remains a critical part of serving our customers, deepening relationships with existing and prospective retail bank clients and driving growth in our core markets. We will continue to originate loans for current and new clients.”

The move represents the company’s “increasing focus on retail banking customers,” Director of Citi Public Affairs Mark Rodgers told DS News. As the release notes, all loans sold to New Residential in the agreement were third-party loans, and CitiMortgage plans to maintain its focus on all loans which originated within the firm’s retail banking unit.

The New Residential and CitiMortgage agreement was accompanied by a Nationstar Mortgage Holdings subservicing agreement with New Residential for the mortgage loans in question. Of course, regulatory approval will forestall some of the expected proceedings. A release by New Residential states that: “Citi will continue to subservice the portfolio on behalf of NRM, pending receipt of GSE and regulatory approvals to transfer servicing to Nationstar Mortgage LLC.”

All involved parties apparently expect that the agreement will be approved by the respective regulatory bodies, with Nationstar releasing a statement in anticipation of the subservicing agreement. “This announcement further demonstrates Nationstar’s role as a leading subservicing provider to the residential mortgage servicing market,” stated Nationstar CEO Jay Bray. “We look forward to welcoming over 750,000 customers to Nationstar, and believe our strategic relationship with New Residential will create meaningful value for these customers and our shareholders.”

Moody’s had this to say of the subservicing agreement: “If not managed properly, the operational and integration risks to Nationstar of such a large servicing transfer have the potential to negatively impact the company’s credit profile. However, Nationstar has a solid track record of successfully boarding and integrating large servicing transfers.”

The move by Citi seems indicative of general trends throughout the banking industry. As Fitch Ratings aptly noted, “Mortgage servicing market share for non-banks has grown steadily over the past several years. A report from federal regulators noted that non-banks accounted for 32 percent of total mortgages serviced by the top 30 firms in 2015, up from just 7 percent in 2011.” The continuing growth of non-bank players in the mortgage servicing market will likely be a consistent factor driving the industry in upcoming years.

New Residential was not available for comment at the time this article was published.

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