A Missouri thrift's nimble strategy shift has helped it reap the benefits of a recent industry cycle.
"In 1995, we had the goal to be a purchaser of servicing," said Stanley J. Bradshaw, president and chief executive of Roosevelt Financial Group Inc., Chesterfield, Mo. But when prices became irrational last year, he said, Roosevelt shifted its strategy to take advantage of high prices.
Anat Bird, chief operating officer at Roosevelt, said the thrift sold $500 million in servicing last year.
"Now the market has turned and has become more rational, so we became a buyer," Ms. Bird said, adding that Roosevelt would continue to buy servicing rights.
Roosevelt bought $550 million of mostly Ginnie Mae servicing rights when their prices declined recently, executives said.
The purchases from various sellers bring the company's servicing portfolio to about $5.5 billion.
Ms. Bird said the thrift has a goal to sell an average of two additional products to the homeowners whose mortgages Roosevelt services, and a strategy to reach that goal.
"When you go to McDonald's, you can get just a hamburger, or you can get a Happy Meal," Ms. Bird said, referring to the fast-food restaurant's package of a sandwich, french fries, soda, and a children's toy. "When customers come to us, they can get a stand-alone, adjustable-rate loan or a fixed-rate loan. But they can also get a checking account with an automatic debit service, account overdraft protection and an application for an annuity."
Customers who opt for all those services get a discount on their loan interest rate, Ms. Bird said, saving most customers about $15 a month.
Chris Reichert, vice president in charge of loan production at Roosevelt, said that, in the three months since the cross-selling effort was begun, 40% of Roosevelt's mortgage customers had opted for the package.
"Our loan officers find it an easy sell when they tell customers they will save $15 a month," Ms. Bird said.
Ben B. Crabtree, an analyst at Minneapolis-based Dain Bosworth Inc., said Roosevelt Financial is converting from a one-dimensional thrift to a commercial bank with a broader product line. Roosevelt executives have been enthusiastic about cross-selling bank products to mortgage customers, Mr. Crabtree said, but the program is still small, and it is too soon to tell whether it is profitable.
"They'll have to do this successfully if they want to be anything more than a thrift," Mr. Crabtree said.
Mr. Bradshaw said the company's acquisition of a servicing center when it bought Farm and Home Financial Corp. in 1994 gave it the capacity to service 100,000 loans. The center now services 80,000 loans.
"We plan to acquire more mortgage servicing." Mr. Bradshaw said. "We hope to build that area of our business." The goal, he said, is to increase Roosevelt's mortgage servicing portfolio to $7.5 billion as market prices for servicing get softer.
"We realized we've gotten into a commodity business," he said, "and if we want to be a market share leader, we have to build."