Community bankers are expanding mortgage products and services and remain optimistic about their lending activity this year, despite declining volume. The group saw the share of bankers using automated applications nearly double.
Those were findings derived from the responses of 239 community banks to the 13th annual Real Estate Lending Survey by America's Community Bankers.
In the single-family category, 41 percent expect increased volume, down from 48 percent in the 2005 survey. But 37 percent anticipated stability in single-family originations, compared to 31 percent a year ago, according to the announcement.
ACB said 90 percent of the respondents expect to do as much or more home equity business in 2006, down from 97 percent in the previous survey.
The share of fixed-rate mortgages fell to 58 percent from 78, with the 30-year loans accounting for the majority. Fifteen-year loans were outpaced by 5/1 ARMs, which had an 18 percent share. Interest-only loans comprised 8 percent of originations, according to the announcement.
The percentage of bankers accepting applications online jumped 16 percent annually to 37 percent, ACB reported. Those who said they could render decisions online grew from 9 percent to 17 percent, while 1 percent offered online closings.
Rising home prices helped fuel a surge in jumbo mortgages, as these accounted for 23 percent of overall production. Other nonconforming loans also represented a growing portion of community bankers output last year, with the share for Alt-A loans at 3 percent and for subprime at 1 percent, the announcement said.
One-third of respondents retained all loans in portfolio, ACB reported.
Sales into the secondary market as a percentage of originations remained stable in 2005, with 34 percent sold. About two-fifths of this volume was sold to conduits/wholesalers, with the most often used identified as Countrywide, CitiMortgage, Washington Mutual, SunTrust and Wells Fargo. One-fifth was sold to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and the rest to the Federal Home Loan Banks and other financial institutions.