The numbers are all in for our members that submit data to TMC Benchmark and March was the biggest month ever for new application volume in the three years we've been analyzing data as part of it. Other highlights from this month's report were a reduction (as a % of total business) in government lending as lenders tightened the credit reigns, as well as sharp increases to operational productivity despite lenders moving their staffs totally remote mid-month. We also saw big increases to the non-third party lender fees charged to borrowers.
Application volume was up 54% (units) in March from February, which was a strong app month in its own right. Equally as notable was the drop off in government lending to just 18% of total apps taken, down 6% from last month and down 12% from last year's %.
Closed loan production in March was also up, increasing 28% (units) over February. 46% of March closings were refinances, up from 40% in February.
Operational efficiency skyrocketed in March. Closed loans per FTE processor in March increased from 8.7 to 13.2 (versus the month prior), closed loans per underwriter rose from 28.3 to 41.8, and closed loans per closer increased from 34.8 to 50.8. The average loan originator closed 5.8 loans in March after closing 4.0 loans on average in February. Loans closed fairly quickly in March, with the average "app to clear to close" time frame coming in at 33.3 days, up slightly from February's TMC Benchmark record low total of 31.7 days.
The average LO comp on March closings came in at 95.7 bps, down from 99.3 bps on February closings. We also saw our lenders substantially raise their non-third party lender fees, from $1,213 in February to $1,389 in March on conventional loans and from $1,132 to $1,196 on govies.
Average salaries paid to processors ($51,944), underwriters ($84,107), and closers ($52,749) all increased in March, up 2-4% from the month prior. We saw reductions (likely volume based) on the average cost per closed loan our members paid for their LOS ($110), POS ($60), and CRM ($104).
53% of participants this month were IMB's and 47% were depositories. 45% of February participants originate $500M or less in annual production, 18% are in the $500M-$1B annual originations range, and 37% of March TMC Benchmark submissions were from companies that originate more than $1B/year.
TMC - Chief Operating Officer