Mortgage Daily

Published On: January 14, 2011

Driven by a one-third leap in correspondent originations, residential loan production was up nearly a quarter at JPMorgan Chase & Co. But business will likely turn lower this quarter. The volume of repurchase demands at the venerable institution grew — especially for 2007 vintage loans.

Fourth-quarter home loan fundings were $50.8 billion, according to earnings data reported Friday. Business jumped from $40.9 billion in the prior period. Volume was 46 percent higher than during the same three months in 2009.

Fueling the rise in originations was the correspondent channel, where fundings shot up to $25.5 billion from the third quarter’s $19.1 billion. Retail production climbed to $22.9 billion from $19.2 billion, and wholesale activity inched up to $0.3 billion from the prior period’s $0.2 billion. The volume of negotiated transactions fell to $2.1 billion from $2.4 billion.

But the outlook for upcoming business grew less bright.

Fourth-quarter mortgage applications retreated to $57.7 billion from the third quarter’s $65.9 billion. Correspondent applications led the decline, falling to $24.9 billion from $30.7 billion. Retail applications fell to $32.4 billion from $34.6 billion.

Home-equity fundings of $0.3 billion were unchanged from the previous period and slightly lower than $0.4 billion reported for 12 months earlier.

For the whole year, residential production — including home-equity volume — amounted to $156.8 billion, better than $153.1 billion originated in 2009.

The third-party mortgage servicing portfolio ended 2010 at $0.9675 trillion, falling from $1.0127 trillion three months earlier. The portfolio was $1.0821 trillion on Dec. 31, 2009.

JPMorgan said it owned $223.1 billion in residential real estate loans. Holdings were trimmed from $230.7 billion owned as of September’s end and lower than $251.8 billion at the end of the previous year.

The Dec. 31, 2010, total included $112.9 billion in home-equity assets, lower than $116.7 billion in the previous three-month period. Prime mortgages slimmed down to $59.0 billion from $60.8 billion, and subprime holdings were cut to $16.7 billion from $17.5 billion. JPMorgan also reduced its option-ARM holdings to $33.7 billion from $34.8 billion.

Residential 30-day delinquency, excluding purchased credit-impaired loans, improved to 6.45 percent at the close of last month from 6.77 on Sept. 30. The rate was also lower than at the end of 2009, when it finished the year at 7.73 percent.

On all loan types in the retail financial services division, 1.69 percent were at least 30 days delinquent at the end of last month. Delinquency deteriorated from 1.54 percent at the end of the third quarter but was lower than 1.75 percent on Dec. 31, 2009.

Repurchase liability finished last year at $3.3 billion, edging down marginally from the third quarter. But the total was way up from $1.7 billion at the end of the previous year.

Repurchase demands received in the fourth quarter climbed to $1.2 billion from $1.0 billion three months earlier and were much higher than the $0.8 billion received in the last three-month period of 2009. JPMorgan said $0.5 billion of fourth-quarter demands were from the 2007 vintage — more than double the level of the next worse vintage (2008). In fact, repurchase demands from the 2007 vintage have been more than double the next-worse vintage for each of the past five quarters.

Fourth-quarter earnings for all of JPMorgan Chase & Co. climbed to $4.8 billion from the prior quarter’s $4.4 billion. In the last quarter of 2009, earnings were $3.3 billion.

In just the retail financial services division, net income fell to $0.7 billion from $0.9 billion but was far better than the $0.4 billion loss a year earlier. Mortgage banking and other consumer lending income came in at $0.6 billion — up 117 percent from the fourth-quarter 2009.

JPMorgan said it employed 239,831 people company-wide as of Dec. 31, more than the 236,810 employees it had as of Sept. 30. U.S. job additions were more than 8,000 for the year. Headcount at the end of 2009 was 222,316.

For only the retail financial services, headcount climbed to 121,876 from 119,424 in the third quarter and 108,971 in the fourth-quarter 2009. Retail Financial Services added more than 5,000 salespeople for the year.

Branch count at JPMorgan rose to 5,268 from 5,192. The company operated 5,154 branches in the final quarter of 2009. Retail branch count grew by 150 new branches last year.

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