PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (PMT), Two Harbors Investment Corp (TWO): Why This Mortgage REIT Can Do What No Others Dare

After a brutal earnings season during which most mortgage REITs reported second-quarter declines in book value, PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (NYSE:PMT) swam against the tide. In addition to beating revenue estimates, the company reported an actual gain in book value from the previous quarter, of 1.6%. With that victory under its belt, the company is embarking on a secondary offering of 11.3 million shares, with an option for its underwriters of almost 1.7 million additional shares.

Diversification was key How did PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (NYSE:PMT) achieve such a triumph in the current climate? Much like Two Harbors Investment Corp (NYSE:TWO), which reported lower book value damage than most of its peers, PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (NYSE:PMT) owes its success to a varied business stream -- particularly its correspondent lending business, which contributed revenues that increased by 42% from the first quarter.

Mortgage servicing income was robust in the second quarter, as well. Fees jumped from $6.6 million in the first quarter to $7.9 million, and PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (NYSE:PMT) notes that mortgage servicing rights are positioned well for the rising interest rate environment because of a drop in prepayments.

One of PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (NYSE:PMT)'s specialties is the acquisition of pools of distressed loans. The company purchases these assets at a discount, then either liquidates them, or returns these mortgages to profitability through loan modifications. Troubled loans engender higher servicing fees, as well -- another feather in PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (NYSE:PMT)'s lucrative cap.

The jumbo-loan business is taking off PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (NYSE:PMT), like Two Harbors, is moving into the jumbo market, including securitization activity. During Q2, the trust agreed to buy $393 million of prime jumbo loans, which it plans to blend with jumbos it purchases through its correspondence channel -- which it will securitize and sell sometime during the third quarter.

PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (NYSE:PMT) considers jumbo securitization a profitable opportunity for the company, and it seems to be catching on with mREITs. Two Harbors participated in a prime jumbo securitization earlier this year and has plans to do so again very soon.

Annaly Capital Management, Inc. (NYSE:NLY)Even Annaly Capital Management, Inc. (NYSE:NLY), which was a pristine agency-only player for so many years, has recently revealed an interest in securitization and jumbo loans -- though, at least for now, as separate activities. With its recent acquisition of CreXus, Annaly Capital Management, Inc. (NYSE:NLY) and CEO Wellington Denahan acknowledged plans to securitize some of its corporate debt, and the company noted that, sometime in the future, it will likely be originating jumbo loans through one of its affiliates, Shannon Funding.

Flexibility will protect yields PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (NYSE:PMT) proves that variety is the stuff of profits, and it looks like other mortgage REITs are finding the same to be true. As the unstable economic environment continues to rock the sector, it seems obvious that the mREITs that are willing to change and adjust will deliver the best value to their investors.

Fool contributor Amanda Alix has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

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