Mortgage News May 17, 2023
Despite the sluggish housing market at the beginning of the year, Fidelity National Financial managed to generate a profit.
Fidelity National Financial, one of the Big Four title insurers, reported revenue of $2.474 billion in Q1 2023, a decrease from $3.167 billion in the same period the previous year. The company’s net income also decreased to $59 million from $400 million in Q1 2022. Fidelity’s title segment generated $1.6 billion in revenue during the quarter, a decline from $2.4 billion in the prior year, and a net income of $128 million compared to $191 million in Q1 2022.
Despite these financial results, CEO Mike Nolan acknowledged that they came at a significant cost. Fidelity had to lay off 26% of its field staff in 2022, one of the largest cuts in the company’s 175-year history. The layoffs continued into 2023, as an additional 2% of staff were let go in Q1.
The personnel cost for Fidelity’s title segment alone decreased by 23% year over year for the quarter, thanks to these layoffs. This was a positive development for the segment, which saw significant annual decreases in the daily number of purchase orders opened (29%), refinance orders opened (67%), and commercial orders opened (27%).
Along with the decline in order count, there were significant drops in direct title premiums, which fell 44% to $428 million from the previous year, agency title premiums, which decreased 50% year over year to $550 million, and commercial revenue, which saw a 36% annual decline to $241 million.
Despite the annual decreases in various areas, there were some positive developments. The number of purchase orders opened during the quarter increased by 20% compared to Q4 2022, and the average total fee per file grew by 19% year over year to $3,446.
Furthermore, executives reported that in April, purchase order volume was the highest Fidelity had seen since August 2022, despite being down 23% year over year.
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