Big banks face lending environment aftershock

Julie C. Nichols General

HousingWire – Christina Mlynski

With mortgage purchases and refinance volumes on a steep slope, mega banks continue to pull out of the mortgage finance space. Mortgage application fillings are continuing to tumble, falling 13.5% from last week, coupled with the refinance share of mortgage activity dropping 20% from the same time period. Big banks are feeling the aftershock of the dynamic shift in the lending environment, with many of the heavy hitters — Wells Fargo (WFC), Bank of America (BAC) and SunTrust (STI) — cutting hundreds to thousands of mortgage-related positions. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) chief financial officer Marianne Lake presented at a U.S. financial services investor conference this week and noted that the mortgage market volume reduction has been "dramatic and rapid." Primary and secondary mortgage rates have increased more than 100-basis points since the lows in the second quarter of 2013, driving more than 60% reduction in market refinance applications relative to peak levels in May.

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