Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, the two largest mortgage originators in the United States, disclosed on their latest financial reports that their mortgage volume rose significantly from a year earlier. Respectively, they produced $62 billion (a 32% increase) and $29 billion (a 74% increase) for the second quarter of 2015.
Wells Fargo’s volume was comprised of $36 billion from retail mortgage lending and about $25 billion from correspondents. Purchase loan mortgages made up more than half of the totals, whereas in the first quarter of 2015 they were at 45% of the totals. Despite these increases, the bank’s net income dropped slightly from a year ago, at slightly under $6 billion, which matched analysts’ earnings estimates for the second quarter. Also, Wells Fargo has lost mortgage market share, with 13% of the nation’s total mortgages in the first quarter, less than half of the share it enjoyed just three years earlier. With 10-year Treasury yields and thus 30-year fixed mortgage rates rising about a half percentage point in the last couple of months, mortgage volume may begin contracting, especially when the new CFPB rules go into effect later this year.
Despite these encouraging figures and still-low mortgage interest rates, homeownership remains a tough goal for many Americans, even those with good credit, to achieve. Underwriting standards are still tight, unemployment and underemployment continues to plague large numbers of potential buyers and debt loads are heavy for many young recent college graduates struggling with high student loan balances.