Wells Fargo Earns Largest Market Share of Home Lending Ever Recorded

by 03 May 2012

(Bloomberg) -- Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), already the largest U.S. home lender, won the biggest market share ever recorded as competitors led by Bank of America Corp. (BAC) pulled back after suffering more than $65 billion in combined mortgage losses.

Wells Fargo made 33.9 percent of the $385 billion of mortgages originated in the first quarter, up from 30.1 percent in the preceding three months, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. That’s more than triple the share of the closest competitor, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), with 10.6 percent. U.S. Bancorp moved into third place from fifth, with 5.2 percent, ahead of Bank of America, with 4.2 percent.

“They pulled back while others hit the accelerator on subprime so now they are able to take advantage,” Joseph Morford, an RBC Capital Markets analyst, said of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo in a phone interview. “They’ve always been disciplined.”

The lender is dominating mortgage markets as housing shows signs of bottoming after a six-year slump and homeowners benefit from record-low borrowing costs. Wells Fargo, also the biggest home-loan servicer, posted $2.9 billion in mortgage-banking income in the first quarter, a $506 million increase from the fourth quarter. Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf, 58, has posted a profit in 13 straight quarters.

Wells Fargo’s control raises concerns that U.S. consumers and the housing market may suffer if the bank falters, said Glen Corso, a managing director of the Community Mortgage Banking Project, a coalition of smaller independent lenders.

Read full article from Bloomberg

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