Consider the plight of third party mortgage administrators, who between 2000 and 2006 gorged on a regular supply of new lenders, particularly in the sub-prime or specialist lending space.
These lenders had no interest in building expensive infrastructure to service the loans they created – all their energy went into product distribution. And because they were more than likely to sell or securitise their assets, an outsourced servicing arrangement worked perfectly for them.
Now, almost all these lenders have disappeared. Their unfunded warehouse assets have been sold and the books are running off.
A lot of the assets were bought by private equity houses or hedge funds. Some of these left the assets where they were but many took them in-house for more intensive special servicing.
With the trade in assets slowing to a trickle and no new lenders coming to market, the future for third party administrators does not look particularly rosy.
While a couple of servicers are enhancing their reputation even as others struggle to survive, the overall picture is far from vibrant.
So servicers are unlikely to come through this downturn completely unscathed.
But the more energetic and creative will survive and it would be good to know in advance who is up to the mark and who is not.