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Liberty Reverse parent receives shareholder approval for rebranding

Ocwen Financial Corp, the parent company of PHH Mortgage Corp. and its reverse mortgage subsidiary Liberty Reverse Mortgage, announced on Tuesday that its shareholders have approved the company’s planned rebranding initiative to Onity Group.

The initial phase of the rebranding will first go into effect for the parent company on June 10 and will roll out to other subsidiaries — including Liberty — by this fall.

“We are very pleased that our shareholders have approved our name change to Onity Group,” Glen Messina, CEO of Ocwen Financial, said in a statement. “We look forward to this new chapter in our company’s history and to operating under the Onity brand, which reflects the evolution of our culture and the transformation of our company.”

Glen Messina

Messina added that the vote of approval shows the confidence of shareholders in moving forward under the new banner.

“Rebranding to Onity signifies the confidence we have in our business, our capabilities and our team, as well as our unwavering focus on delivering on our commitments to our stakeholders,” he said.

On Monday, Ocwen filed articles of amendment to its articles of incorporation in Florida, which is the first step to formally change the name, effective June 10. Starting that day, the company will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under its new ticker symbol, “ONIT.”

Shareholders do not need to take any action, the company said.

“Ocwen’s primary brands, PHH Mortgage Corporation and Liberty Reverse Mortgage, will retain their names at this time,” the company added, saying it “expects to begin rebranding PHH Mortgage Corporation and Liberty Reverse Mortgage to Onity Mortgage in the fall of this year to align their names with the new name of the company.”

When announcing the rebranding initiative at the beginning of April, company leaders said they arrived at the new name after what they called “a rigorous research and brand strategy development analysis.” The company added that it “believes its new name reflects the capabilities of a hard-working team with a can-do attitude and problem-solving culture. Within the name Onity is the phrase ‘on it,’ which conveys action and the promise of dependability, performance and support.”

Included in the wider rebranding effort will be a refresh of the company’s brand voice, which is designed to support “the company’s commitment to getting the job done,” the announcement stated.

In its earnings call earlier this month, Ocwen reported an overall improvement in its business performance for the first quarter of 2024, including better reverse mortgage performance attributed to servicing and higher gains on loans held for sale.

Ocwen leadership touted the company’s reverse mortgage division and the continued positive performance of the forward and reverse mortgage servicing operations.

“Reverse servicing increased its profitable contribution with higher gains on loans held for sale, even as volume contracted,” Sean O’Neill, Ocwen’s chief financial officer, said on the call. “Underlying the strong results is the ongoing effort on continued cost improvements, driven by technology […] and traditional process improvements across both forward and reverse servicing, as well as lower advances on our legacy book, which have decreased 14% year over year.”

The company’s origination segment also returned to profitability, O’Neill said, despite challenges presented by persistently high mortgage rates and a contraction in reverse mortgage volume, which has largely been felt industrywide.

According to Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsement data compiled by Reverse Market Insight (RMI), Liberty was the fourth-largest reverse mortgage lender in the country with 1,363 endorsements during the 12-month period ending in April 2024.

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