Nationstar: Servicer’s Stock Price Closes at New Low… Look Out Below!


I don’t care what you say about capitalism’s obvious shortcomings and inequities, there’s still a lot to be said for the wisdom of the markets.  I know, it’s not always the case… every so often everyone misses the boat, but for the most part the markets are pretty darn smart.

Today’s case-in-point… Nationstar Mortgage

It seems like only yesterday that I was writing about mortgage servicing’s latest disaster-in-the-making, Nationstar Mortgage, a Texas company spiraling downward in so many ways.  As I pointed out, the company’s stock price has been falling fast since its high of $57.45 on September 30, 2013… all the way down to $13 per share on December 30, 2015. 

Well, now the company stock price has found a new low in its race to the bottom: $8.99

(SIDEBAR: Darn it… I meant to call my broker yesterday after I posted my article on Nationstar to take a short position in Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. (NYSE: NSM), but before I could even take a nap, it drops like a hot rock to under $9 a share.  It just proves the old adage… if you snooze you lose… LOL.)

Actually it WAS only yesterday that I was writing that Nationstar needed to straighten up and fly right if it wanted to survive the next round of multi-billion dollar settlements with the federal government over cruel and unusual foreclosure practices, and faster than I could say “we need a pooper scooper for Mr. Cooper,” their stock falls to its new low of $8.99.  (I’ll be explaining the whole Mr. Cooper thing below.)

Yes, it’s true… Nationstar’s CEO Jay Bray is now a member of the single-digit club and based on their absolutely goofy plans to re-brand the company, combined with their callous ineptitude as a mortgage servicer tasked with finding alternatives to foreclosure, it looks to me like there’s nowhere for the company to go from here but down.

I looks to me like Nationstar was a classic opportunist that jumped to take advantage of what appeared to be the chance to become a major mortgage servicer essentially overnight, but failed to see that it was really an opportunity to catch a falling knife by entering an industry at the same time Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, One West Bank and everyone else with a brain were trying to get out.

It was sort of like watching a company rushing to enter the nuclear industry after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011.  I mean, I know there’s probably an opportunity there somewhere, but are we sure it’s safe to go back in the water?


A Pooper Scooper for Mr. Cooper!

Okay, are you sitting down?  You probably should consider doing so, I don’t want to be responsible for you injuring yourself after reading this next part. 

As I also mentioned yesterday in my article about Nationstar, the company is so pleased with itself that instead of concentrating on getting better at helping borrowers find alternatives to foreclosure, and in general learning to treat homeowners like their actual people instead of potted plants, the company is planning to launch a newly created “flagship brand” as part of its new growth strategy.

Ben Lane over at Housingwire has been all over this story, reporting in December…

Nationstar has “recently engaged” a Los Angeles-based “brand strategy firm” called Phenomenon to assist in “defining a bold new brand strategy and validate it through direct consumer research.”

Then Ben found a job posting on Nationstar’s job board that stated…

“As a result of this strategy, it is likely that Nationstar will consolidate multiple existing brands and create a new flagship brand for the company.”

Okay, so would anyone care to guess at the BIG IDEA here… the “BOLD NEW BRAND STRATEGY” for which Nationstar undoubtedly paid the trying-way-too-hard-to-be-hipsters at Phenomenon a pretty penny to develop? 

Come on… one guess?  Anyone? Anyone?

Nationschmuck?  No.  Nationbuilder?  Not even close.  How about a Star Wars sort of thing… Death Star?  No, too close to home?  Okay… give up?

It doesn’t matter, you’d never guess it in a million years.  Nationstar’s new flagship brand is… drumroll please, let’s bring the lights up…

Mr. Cooper!

Yes, you read that correctly. 

Now stop laughing… I can hear you all the way over here.  Don’t be rude… stop it.  The not-quite-fully-developed brains at Phenomenon… in where else but LA… came up with this NEW Coke sort of idea, so let’s take a breath and give it a chance, okay?

NOPE, I CAN’T.  Hahahahahahaha!  It’s just too stupid for words.

Whose your mortgage company? 

Mr. Cooper.

No, really…

Mr. Cooper.

Where do you go to find a house?

Mr. Cooper.

Excuse me?

Mr. Cooper.

Why do you keep saying Mr. Cooper?  It’s kind of creepy.

Why, he’s a bold new flagship brand, of course.

Well, that’s just stupid.

Well, you’re obviously not hip enough to get the vibe.

Oh, really.  Well, your stock price just fell below $9.

check please images

I can’t do any more of this… it’s too easy.  I like challenges and this is like playing tee-ball.  Besides Ben Lane is doing a fine job covering it for Housingwire.  And Ben’s articles play it straight, which makes it even funnier, I think.  You can find Ben’s latest piece here:

Want some Mr. Cooper swag?  Nationstar opens online store for new brand

That’s right… until Nationstar… I mean Mr. Cooper… made the website private following Ben’s piece for Housingwire, the company was actually selling Mr. Cooper branded crap… like polo shirts, a fleece or sweatshirt, along with coffee mugs, note pads, et al… and all feature the company’s hot new slogan…

“We exist to keep the dream of homeownership alive.”

OMG, I should get hazard pay for this sort of thing.  I laughed so hard that I feel backwards in my chair, spilled my Yoplait all over my shirt and may have just injured my spleen.

Stop it, Jay Bray… please, you are killing me.  When I set out to write about your overly underwhelming performance helping borrowers avoid foreclosure I had no idea you’d be anywhere near this funny.

We exist to keep the dream of homeownership alive?

Is that why you exist, Mr. Jay Bray?  

Okay, I’m going to go ahead and call it right now… I see no reason to wait for the results of any sort of official contest… Nationstar’s new slogan (or I should say Mr. Cooper’s slogan, but it gets me all giggly again which makes it hard to type) “We exist to keep the dream of homeownership alive,” is second only to Fox News’ all-time winner…

“Fair and balanced.”

I can’t keep this up.  I’ve finally met my match.  There’s just nothing I can think of to make this any funnier… and I can’t even see a way to add sarcasm here.  Mr. Cooper and his new slogan has done it all for me in a single package… there’s just nothing I can do to add to it so you’re on your own.


Mandelman out.

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