Wells Fargo Extends Lead as Top Mortgage Lender

May 18, 2009 No Comments »

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San Francisco-based bank and mortgage lender Wells Fargo saw loan originations exceed $40 billion in March as it extended its gap at the top, according to figures from the Treasury’s Capital Purchase Program.

Bank of America, which should be stronger given its acquisition of Countrywide, came in a distant second with $33.6 billion in first mortgage originations.

And it was clearly a two-horse race, as JP Morgan Chase was nowhere close to the pair, with just $15.7 billion in loan originations.

However, Bank of America did report the top home equity line volume, doubling that of Wells Fargo’s, with $1.4 billion in new or increased lines of credit.

Overall, loan originations were up 27 percent from February, which could partially be attributed to a larger number of days in the month and seasonal strength at quarter-end.

Meanwhile, outstanding loan balances fell one percent in March, as most institutions indicated that borrowers paid down outstanding debt, offsetting the rise in originations.

“The median percentage change in mortgage refinancing was an increase of 6 percent between February and March,” the report said.

“For new home purchases, the median percentage change from February to March was an increase of 38 percent, which was an increase from the comparable January to February figure (a 2 percent decrease).”

Of the 18 banks active in residential mortgage business, originations increased at 12 banks and decreased at six, with a median 11 percent increase in total originations.

The increase in first lien mortgages during the month was smaller than the gain February, meaning things could be settling down.

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