Matrix Bancorp is reorganizing its various business lines that provide consulting services to mortgage banks.
In an interview last week, Carl de Rozario, president and chief executive of the $1.3 billion-asset Denver thrift company, said the divisions are succeeding in their respective areas but failing to refer clients to the other units, and thus are forfeiting opportunities to maximize client relationships.
For example, Matrixs United Financial Inc. subsidiary is a leading broker of mortgage servicing rights. Thomas P. Cronin, Matrixs vice chairman, said he believes United Financial handles more transactions than any other servicing brokerage; it has brokered 44 deals this year, representing servicing rights on $40 billion of loans.
Another unit, United Special Services, specializes in selling off foreclosed properties. Founded five years ago, it has about a dozen clients and manages a portfolio of about 1,500 properties.
Both subsidiaries provide services that mortgage servicers need to run their businesses. But United Financial never represented United Special Services product line, even though [the servicing brokerage has] relationships with 800 financial institutions that deal with foreclosed real estate, Mr. de Rozario said. Conversely, USS never represented UFI to its stable of clients.
Another example: Matrix has a whole-loan trading and analytics operation that originally bought unsecuritized loans for the companys bank subsidiary, Matrix Capital Bank, and was later moved under United Financial. If one of Matrixs mortgage-bank clients is having trouble selling an illiquid loan sitting in inventory, the whole-loan desk can help out either by buying the loan or brokering it. But the servicing brokerage never bothered marketing this service to the clients for whom it arranges servicing sales, Mr. de Rozario said.
The solution, he said, is to consolidate. Matrix put United Special Services under the United Financial umbrella two months ago. It has done the same outside its mortgage consulting business lines. It has a mortgage bank in Phoenix, called Matrix Financial Service Group, that it has placed under Matrix Capital Bank, and it has consolidated its trust businesses under a third unit.
Instead of 10 to 12 different subsidiaries reporting separately up to the holding company, they will be channeling up through three, said Mr. de Rozario, who joined Matrix in April from U.S. Bancorp.
The changes go beyond reporting lines. Mr. Cronin said Matrix is reconfiguring its trading floor so that the brokers and advisers sit in a common open space and are no longer sequestered by product line. And they will all be trained to be conversant in and able to conduct business in a multitude of products and represent our full menu.
While employees will still specialize in specific areas, each client will have one point-person at Matrix for all inquiries, rather than having to ask one person about servicing trades and another about whole-loan trades and another about servicing valuation, Mr. Cronin said.
In August, Matrix sold United Capital Markets, a unit that advises mortgage banks on how to hedge their servicing portfolios, to its managing director, Austin Tilghman. Mr. Tilghman wanted to expand into fixed-income money management, something that thrift regulators tend to frown on, Mr. Cronin explained. The parting was amicable: Matrix still refers clients to Mr. Tilghman and United Capital still uses Matrixs analytics.
While cross-selling is a mantra in banking these days, Mr. Cronin said it applies better to what Matrix does than to consumer banking. While every consumer doesnt necessarily need a credit card and a money market account and a mortgage and a home equity loan, he said, nearly every mortgage bank does need a means to dispose of foreclosed real estate and tools to manage interest rate risk and an outlet for illiquid loans and a yardstick for valuing servicing rights.
Ninety-nine percent of our clients need to use every one of our products, Mr. Cronin said.