August was another spectacular volume month for TMC's national network of best-in-class mortgage lenders that submit data to TMC Benchmark. We saw a pretty substantial drop-off in efficiency and productivity during the month, most likely due to operational staff vacation time and general burn-out - so there are no stops in sight for The Volume Train as we emerge from the dog days of summer and head into the fall months. Better problems to have than the problems of two winters ago, but problems lenders are faced with nonetheless as we enter the latter part of a year that looks like it could be the biggest production year ever for the mortgage industry.
Starting with closed loan production, August was a strikingly similar month to July. Closed loan units were nearly identical (-0.05%) as was the mix of conventional (75%) and government (21%) business. The purchase/refinance mix on closed loan units in August was 55%/45%. Let's take a look at that mix for the last four months, which have been the four biggest closing months we've seen in the four-year history of TMC Benchmark:
May - 42% purchase, 58% refinance
June - 51% purchase, 49% refinance
July - 58% purchase, 42% refinance
August - 55% purchase, 45% refinance
Like with the closed loan data, new applications taken were also nearly identical in August to the prior month (-1.7%), as was the production mix - 77% conventional, 19% government, 4% other.
What was not consistent from July to August was operational productivity and efficiency. On average, it took our members 2.3 days longer to close loans in August versus July, with the average "app date to clear to close date" time frame rising from 37.2 days to 39.5 days in the most recent month. And after seeing all-time highs in operational employee efficiency in June, we saw our second straight month of decline in August.
Here's the closed loan unit totals per FTE (full-time employee) for the last four months (May/June/July/August):
Processor - 16/17.2/16.8/15.2
Underwriter - 51.8/54.8/52.1/50.1
Closer - 63.8/64.8/62.7/61.8
Loan Originator - 7.0/8.1/8.2/8.1
The average LO comp on August closings came in at 96.8 bps, down 5.1 bps from July's 101.9 total but in line with the 97.1 total two months prior on June closings. We've seen this number vacillate between 95-105 bps these first eight months of 2020. We saw decreases in the average non-third party lender fees per loan our members charge their customers, with conventional loans coming in at $1,119 and government at $1,072.
On the compensation side, we saw fairly steep drop offs in processor and underwriter average annual compensation but an increase in closer compensation most likely due to lenders using more outsourcing services for processing and underwriting functions. Processor average annual comp fell from $56,790 in July to $52,992 (-6.8%) this past month while underwriter average annual comp fell from $94,294 in July to $89,104 (-5.5%). Closer comp increased from $54,212 to $55,376 (+2.1%).
The average cost per closed loan our members paid for their LOS ($95), POS ($51), and their CRM ($89) was remarkably consistent with the prior month and the monthly averages for 2020.
53% of companies that submitted August data to TMC Benchmark were depositories and 47% were IMB's. 35% originate $500M or less annually, 26% originate between $500M-$1B, and 39% originate $1 billion per year or more in total volume.
Chief Operating Officer - The Mortgage Collaborative
TMC - Chief Operating Officer