Despite decreased volume in the final quarter of 2005, First Horizon National closed more loans last year than in 2004.
Fourth quarter mortgage originations of $8.0 billion plunged about 24% from the prior three-month period, although they were nearly 3% better than in the same period for 2004, according to First Horizon's latest earnings announcement.
Production for all of 2005 totaled $35.7 billion, up 17% from the prior year, the Tennessee-based lender said.
Refinances represented 41% of the latest quarterly fundings and the remainder consisted of purchase loans, which First Horizon noted grew 8% from the fourth quarter 2004 due to its "success in executing its strategy to grow the purchase market and reflects a sales force of 2,600, which increased by 200" during last year.
"As we look to 2006, we are encouraged about the opportunities in our business, even in this flat yield curve environment," said Chairman and Chief Executive Ken Glass in the announcement. "Mortgage banking will continue to expand its sales force and improve servicing portfolio profitability."
The $95.3 billion servicing portfolio as of Dec. 31, 2005, grew 10 percent over the year, First Horizon reported.
Mortgage banking net income of $27.7 million in the latest three-month period was off about $11.7 million from the third quarter, the report said.
The Memphis-based company says it ranks within the nation's top 20 mortgage originators and top 15 servicers.