Rithm Capital: Wells Fargo’s Exit An Alternative (NYSE:RITM)

Rising mortgage rate graph on a blackboard lying on a wooden table


The mortgage origination market is likely one of the areas most immediately affected by the now increased rates of interest. Pure-plays like Rocket Corporations (RKT) are down round 40% whereas these like Wells Fargo (WFC) and Rithm Capital (NYSE:RITM) that solely have partial publicity are down a bit much less.

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Many of the value declines within the area are essentially justified, however I feel Rithm Capital has been unfairly caught within the crossfire. The portfolio weights particular to RITM make it largely resistant to what has occurred with mortgages which locations the corporate in an opportunistic place to gobble up the market share vacated by opponents.

On January 10th, Wells Fargo introduced plans to largely exit the mortgage origination enterprise with exception to current WFC prospects. This, together with the shrinking of different mortgage originators, has introduced provide right down to be in steadiness with the now a lot decrease demand. Because the mortgage market recovers, RITM can be among the many finest positioned to cut back up on account of its comparatively higher monetary positioning and non-bank standing.

Let me start with an summary of the trade when it comes to what has occurred and the ahead outlook. We’ll then comply with with RITM’s particular positioning and its particular person outlook.

The Mortgage Trade

For many years, the mortgage trade has benefitted from new mortgage functions being closely supplemented by refinancing exercise. As charges dropped under the getting into charge of current mortgages, owners had been incented to refinance leading to large quantity and the charge earnings that comes with that.

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As rates of interest ticked up in latest quarters the alternative occurred. Now the vast majority of mortgages are at charges decrease than the prevailing market charge. Not solely are refinances not inspired, however they’re actively prevented as doing so dramatically will increase one’s carrying price. These with low-cost current mortgages are additionally much less prone to transfer so new mortgage origination quantity can be impaired.

As you possibly can see within the chart under, refinance quantity (shaded) is inversely correlated with mortgage charges and has now hit by far its lowest stage in many years.

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Mortgage origination is a profitable enterprise when it’s lively. Every refinancing generates charge income for the originator, however additionally it is a head-count intensive enterprise.

With the quantity largely shut off nearly all the trade is having to put off a considerable portion of its workforce. This cutting down has already been occurring repeatedly and helps provide of mortgage origination extra intently match demand for mortgages. It additionally helps protect margins.

Wells Fargo is a reasonably huge participant so its full exit represents a slightly giant step down within the provide that has in any other case been declining extra easily.


Finally, the quantity of origination will rebound to its regular ranges no matter what occurs to rates of interest. Merely put, individuals want properties and most want mortgages to purchase a house. A decline in rates of interest would speed up the rebound, however I do see quantity normalization as an inevitability.

Timing of rebound

Volumes have already been depressed for a couple of yr. I think they continue to be low for 1 to three extra years relying on the trail of rates of interest.

Relative positioning inside trade

Mortgage pure-plays need to endure an prolonged time period by which revenues can be severely decreased. Price reducing measures will probably see most of them by, however that doesn’t repair the income declines. So whereas the trade broad demand declines are short-term, the injury to earnings may be very actual.

For that reason, I feel the hybrids are a lot better off and Rithm Capital takes the cake as finest positioned. It has 4 distinct benefits that I feel will result in vital market share seize.

  1. Low total income focus in mortgage origination
  2. MSR portfolio worth positive aspects totally hedged the rise in rates of interest
  3. Robust enterprise segments will hold earnings flowing whereas it waits for the return of mortgage market
  4. Non-bank standing makes scaling again up a lot simpler

Rithm’s largest portfolio weight is in mortgage servicing rights (MSRs) and the earnings from this section outweigh these from mortgage origination.

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In some ways it kinds an ideal hedge as a result of the identical enhance to rates of interest that damage originations precipitated their MSR portfolio to considerably acquire in worth. The best way these work is that RITM buys the rights to service mortgages after which collects the servicing charge for the remaining period of the loans.

As refinancing charges declined, prepayment charges of those loans dropped from about 28% to eight%.

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This dramatically extends the lifetime of the servicing income inflicting every MSR bought earlier to ship much more whole earnings than initially anticipated. Reflecting this now longer life stream of revenues the market worth of MSRs rose considerably, greater than offsetting the hit to the remainder of RITM’s enterprise from increased rates of interest.

Consequently, RITM’s guide worth is definitely up reasonably through the rising charge cycle.

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That could be a substantial distinction between RITM and far of the mortgage trade which broadly skilled guide worth declines.

This places RITM in good monetary positioning relative to friends. Additionally it is nicely positioned to attend for the mortgage market to recuperate as it’s nonetheless producing wholesome revenues from its different segments. RITM’s curiosity earnings has elevated, partially from its actual property and mortgage backed securities portfolio.

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I additionally discover its single household rental section promising as RITM’s properties are nicely positioned in areas with job development.

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Since RITM just isn’t reliant upon originations to generate its earnings, it was ready to very swiftly scale down its headcount in that space. Origination primarily based G&A declined by $900 million from This fall 21 to 3Q22.

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Continued cashflows from different enterprise segments together with price reductions hold RITM wholesome by the downturn, however the actual alternative is what occurs when the mortgage market comes again.

Non-bank standing makes it simpler to cut back up

Banks are over-regulated. Because the monetary disaster there are SIFI guidelines and intensive oversight on the whole lot they do. Maybe one may argue that that is useful to the economic system total, however from a aggressive standpoint it’s a large drawback.

As a non-bank mortgage REIT, the regulatory burden on RITM is sort of lax as compared permitting it to function extra swiftly and at decrease price. I consider this can result in market share seize for the non-banks.

The market share that was vacated by Wells Fargo can be up for grabs and RITM is nicely positioned to maneuver in.


Regardless of RITM’s MSR portfolio totally offsetting the challenges of rising rates of interest, there’s a common malaise round house mortgages which I feel has incorrectly dragged RITM down by affiliation with its group.

As a result of value decline together with the guide worth acquire, RITM now trades at 74% of guide worth. Since its earnings have largely remained intact on account of energy in its different enterprise segments, RITM is now buying and selling at 6.7X ahead earnings.

That could be a low-cost inventory and I discover the ahead outlook to be considerably stronger than what’s implied by that pricing. I feel RITM will outperform the market.

A fair higher option to put money into it

Whereas bullish on the widespread, the preferreds appear to supply a better return on account of excessive discounting to par.

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Portfolio Revenue Options – most popular desk – information as of 1/12/23

RITM’s preferreds are a bit uncommon in that the convert to floating charge yields and the phrases of those had been written when rates of interest had been significantly decrease. Consequently, the floating charge coupons upon conversion are at wherever from 496 to 622 foundation factors above LIBOR (quickly to be SOFR). Given how a lot the brief finish of the curve has risen it leads to some astronomical yields.

Taking a look at the popular C for instance, it has a coupon of 6.38% in opposition to a $25 par worth however because it trades at $18.80 that makes it an 8.48% present yield. In 2025 it can convert to a floating charge of SOFR + 496 foundation factors which at at present’s rate of interest is a coupon of 9.78% which once more on account of low cost could be a carrying yield of 13.00%.

On prime of the large dividend, one has the potential to seize 33% capital appreciation within the return to par. I discover that to be a extremely engaging return profile for the popular tranche of a giant mREIT in wholesome monetary situation.

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