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DITECH HOLDING CORP filed this Form 10-K on 04/16/2019
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Negative public opinion could damage our reputation and adversely affect our earnings.
Reputational risk, or the risk to our business, earnings and capital from negative public opinion, is inherent in our business. Negative public opinion can result from our actual or alleged conduct in any number of activities, including lending, loan servicing, debt collection practices, corporate governance, our WIMC Chapter 11 Case and DHCP Chapter 11 Cases, and from actions taken by government regulators and community organizations in response to those activities. Negative public opinion can also result from complaints filed with regulators, social media and traditional news media coverage, whether accurate or not. Negative public opinion can adversely affect our ability to attract and retain customers, counterparties and employees and can expose us to litigation and regulatory action. Although we take steps to minimize reputation risk in dealing with our customers and communities, this risk will always be present in our organization.
By combining our servicing and originations businesses under the single "Ditech" brand, we may have increased the risk that adverse publicity in one area of the business could hurt the performance of other parts of the business. In particular, our ability to grow our originations business (which is a key part of our business strategy) could be limited by negative publicity arising from our servicing business, which now operates under the same Ditech brand. Our servicing business has generated a significant number of complaints filed with regulators such as the CFPB and also negative publicity in the press and social media. Further, the reverse mortgage business generally has generated adverse publicity, in part because reverse mortgage borrowers are relatively elderly and are perceived as vulnerable. Although the terms and requirements of the HECM product have been changed from time to time to address perceived origination abuses, we continue to service older HECM loans originated under different requirements. As the servicer of HECM loans, from time to time we are required to foreclose on and evict delinquent borrowers, who are likely to be elderly. This has attracted, and may continue to attract, adverse publicity.
The industry in which we operate is highly competitive, and, to the extent we fail to meet these competitive challenges or otherwise do not achieve our strategic initiatives, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
We operate in a highly competitive industry that could become even more competitive as a result of economic, legislative, regulatory or technological changes. We compete with a great number of competitors in the mortgage banking market for both the servicing and originations businesses as well as in our reverse mortgage and complementary businesses. Key competitors include financial institutions and non-bank servicers and originators. Many of our competitors are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial, technical and marketing resources, and typically have access to greater financial resources and lower funding costs. All of these factors place us at a competitive disadvantage. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and establish more favorable relationships than we can. Competition to service mortgage loans may result in lower margins. Because of the relatively limited number of servicing customers, our competitive position is impacted by our ability to differentiate ourselves from our competitors through our servicing platform and our failure to meet the performance standards or other expectations of any one of such customers could materially impact our business. We cannot assure you that the competitive pressures we face will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
From time to time, we embark upon various strategic initiatives for our business, including without limitation initiatives relating to acquisitions and dispositions of MSR and other assets, changes in the mix of our fee-for-service business including by entering into new subservicing arrangements, reducing our debt, improving our servicing performance, developing and growing certain portions of our business such as our mortgage originations capabilities, the use of capital partners, cost savings and operational efficiencies, and other matters. Our ability to achieve such initiatives is dependent upon numerous factors, many of which are not in our control. Our failure to achieve some or all of our strategic initiatives in a timely and efficient manner, or at all, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations.
We may not realize all of the anticipated benefits of past, pending or potential future acquisitions or joint venture investments, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our ability to realize the anticipated benefits of past, pending or potential future acquisitions will depend, in part, on our ability to integrate these acquisitions into our business and is subject to certain risks, including:
our ability to successfully combine the acquired businesses with ours;
whether the combined businesses will perform as expected;
the possibility that we inaccurately value assets or businesses we acquire, that we pay more than the value we will derive from the acquisitions, or that the value declines after the acquisition;
the reduction of our cash available for operations and other uses;
the disruption to our operations inherent in making numerous acquisitions over a relatively short period of time;