|Quarterly residential originations nearly doubled at Bank of America Corp., which said it is hiring thousands of employees to handle the increase in its mortgage business. Quarterly earnings, meanwhile, jumped $6 billion.
First quarter originations were 382,000 loans for $89.3 billion -- soaring from $$49.9 billion in the fourth quarter, earnings data released today indicated. During the first-quarter 2008 -- before the July 1, 2008, acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp. -- production was just $38.6 billion.
Included in the latest originations were $4.0 billion in home-equity fundings, falling from $5.3 billion in the fourth quarter and tumbling from $16.6 billion in the first-quarter 2008.
The period-end mortgage servicing portfolio increased to $2,112.8 billion from $2,057.3 billion three months earlier and $529.7 billion 12 months earlier.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based company said it owned $261.6 billion in residential mortgages at the end of the first quarter, higher than $248.1 billion three months earlier. Home-equity assets were $157.6 billion, up from $152.5 billion, and discontinued consumer real estate loans were $19.0 billion.
Modifications were completed on 119,000 home loans during the quarter. BoA noted it has 6,400 people on staff to handle loan modifications.
Nonperforming mortgages -- including residential mortgages, home-equity loans and discontinued real estate -- were $14.6 billion at the end of the first quarter, jumping from $9.8 billion at the end of the prior period and $4.4 billion 12 months earlier.
Commercial mortgages owned as of March 31 were $75.3 billion, climbing from $64.7 billion on Dec. 31, 2008.
Nonperforming commercial mortgages were $5.7 billion, increasing from $3.9 billion on Dec. 31, 2008, and $1.6 billion on March, 31, 2008.
Total consolidated mortgage banking income was $3.3 billion in the latest period, better than $1.5 billion during the fourth-quarter-2008 and $0.5 billion in first-quarter 2008.
First-quarter earnings across the entire financial conglomerate were $4.2 billion, reversing a fourth-quarter loss of $1.8 billion and jumping from a $1.2 billion profit a year earlier. Earnings excluded $0.4 billion in preferred dividend payments to the U.S. government.
BoA employed 284,802 people on March 31 -- jumping from 240,202 on Dec. 31, 2008, and reflecting the Jan. 1 acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. On March 31, 2008, before Countrywide was acquired, the number of full-time employees was 209,096.
The institution said it is adding 5,000 "fulfillment" positions to meet rising refinancing and first mortgage application volume.