Thrifts pumped out more originations in the first quarter amid rising delinquencies.
Thrifts originated $149.6 billion in one- to four-family mortgages during the first quarter, the Office of Thrift Supervision reported. The total is $37.4 billion higher than in the linked quarter and $6.9 billion better than the same period a year ago.
Savings and loan institutions' contributions reportedly accounted for 23 percent of all one- to four-family originations made nationwide in the first three months of the year.
Refinance loans represented 47 percent of the thrift quarterly originations, up from 39 percent in the fourth quarter and 35 percent a year ago, OTS said.
Of one- to four-family mortgages, 1.14% were noncurrent as of the end of March, up from 0.88% at yearend 2006, according to the thrift regulator.
The agency noted that about 4 percent of industry assets are held in subprime loans, with relatively few thrifts engaged in programmatic subprime lending. But, as a group, those thrifts have manageable levels of problem loans, diversified operations and strong capital.
"Although problem asset levels continued to rise, reflecting the slowing housing sector and other economic conditions, they remain at relatively low levels," OTS noted, adding that it continues to encourage thrifts to find solutions for loan delinquencies to avoid foreclosures and that thrifts continue to hold strong capital and increase provisions for loan losses.
Thrift net income of $3.6 billion increased 15 percent from the fourth quarter but was off 14 percent from the near-record $4.2 billion a year earlier, OTS reported.