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Chase Correspondent Channel Drags Down Originations

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Despite a jump in negotiated transactions, residential originations fell for the third consecutive quarter at JPMorgan Chase & Co. The culprit was the correspondent channel, where volume tumbled $4 billion and appears headed lower. Meanwhile, quarterly delinquency improved.

First-quarter residential originations were $32.0 billion, earnings data released today indicated. Volume was lower than the fourth-quarter 2009’s $35.2 billion and the first-quarter 2009’s $38.6 billion.

Mortgage originations accounted for $31.7 billion of first-quarter activity, lower than $34.8 billion the prior period and $37.7 billion the prior year. Home-equity loan production eased to $0.3 billion from the fourth quarter’s $0.4 billion and last year’s $0.9 billion.

Retail originations represented $11.4 billion of first-quarter fundings, down from $12.3 billion. Wholesale production was $0.4 billion, lower than the fourth quarter’s $0.6 billion.

“CNT negotiated transactions” accounted for $3.9 billion — surging from $1.9 billion. But correspondent business tumbled to $16 billion from $20 billion.

Loan application volume fell to $39 billion from the fourth quarter’s $43 billion, suggesting business in the current period is down. Retail applications rose nearly $3 billion, but correspondent applications plummeted more than $7 billion.

The New York-based bank’s third-party servicing portfolio finished the first quarter at $1.0750 trillion, lower than $1.0821 trillion at the end of last year and $1.1488 trillion 12 months earlier.

Mortgages owned within financial services were $246.6 billion at the end of last month, including $79.3 billion in purchased credit-impaired loans from JPMorgan’s acquisition of Washington Mutual Bank. The latest total was lower than $251.8 billion at the end of December and $280.4 billion a year ago.

March 31 holdings included $123.7 billion in HELs, $66.0 billion in prime mortgages and $19.0 billion in subprime mortgages. Option-payment adjustable-rate mortgages accounted for another $36.9 billion.

Excluding purchased credit-impaired loans, delinquency of at least 30 days on real estate-secured loans was 7.28 percent, falling from 7.73 percent. A year previous, the late-payment rate was 5.87 percent.

Net income from mortgage banking and other consumer lending was $257 million, falling from $730 million a year earlier. A decline in noninterest revenue and an increase in noninterest expense drove the deterioration.

JPMorgan earnings edged up to just over $3.3 billion from just under $3.3 billion in the fourth quarter and jumped from $2.1 billion in the first-quarter 2009.

Chase employed 112,616 people in its retail financial services unit as of March 31, more than 108,971 on Dec. 31 and 100,677 on March 31, 2009.

Company-wide headcount finished last month at 226,623, higher than 222,316 three months earlier and 219,509 one year earlier.

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