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Pockets of Strength for Some Originators

While most home lenders saw a recent decline in originations, a few players are reporting strength in their production. The good news is being delivered by residential and commercial real estate lenders. Meanwhile, credit unions have gained market share.

First-mortgage originations and U.S credit unions were $84.5 billion during 2010, falling from $95.0 billion the prior year, Callahan & Associates reported. But the market share for credit unions climbed to 5.4 percent from 4.5 percent.

Residential origination volume fell to $1.6 billion at Regions Financial, the company reported in its first-quarter earnings data. Production was $2.0 billion in the prior quarter and $2.8 billion during the first-quarter 2010.

Home-loan holdings fell to $14.4 billion from $14.9 billion at the end of December, while home-equity loans declined to $13.9 billion from $14.2 billion. Regions said its commercial real estate portfolio fell to $27.1 billion from $28.4 billion at the end of last year.

Residential loan delinquency of at least 90 days improved to 2.18 percent from 2.41 percent three months earlier, and HEL defaults declined to 1.26 percent from 1.39 percent.

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., which previously reported first-quarter retail originations of 2,948 loans for $584 million, issued a statement indicating that its first-quarter production was 10 percent higher than a year earlier.

“Fairway is off to another really good start in 2011,” Steve Jacobson, chief executive officer of the Sun Prairie, Wis.-based lender, said in a statement. “We are experiencing solid growth and are very grateful to have this positive start.”

Last year’s production at Fort Worth, Texas-based Cendera Funding was more than $500 million, a news release Monday indicated.

RP Funding reported on May 13 that first-quarter volume was up 223 percent from the fourth-quarter 2010. The Orlando, Fla.-based company declined to provide specific funding numbers.

Originations in Central Florida were around $105 million, during the first quarter, falling from nearly $150 million three months earlier. The data were included in the FBC Central Florida Mortgage Report. Volume in the region has strengthened from around $75 million a year earlier.

February fundings were up 15 percent over January at Foundation Financial Group, a press release said. Business increased 11 percent from the same month in 2011.

Northern Trust Chief Executive Officer Frederick Waddell reportedly told members of the press after the company’s annual meeting last month that “The mortgage pipeline is beginning to fill up,” the Chicago Tribune reported. He added that “There’s more interest in housing,” including refinancings.”

News of Northern Trust’s strength comes as the industry saw originations fall by a third.

In the commercial real estate arena, HFF Inc. said first-quarter volume jumped to 183 transactions for $5.380 billion from $2.803 billion in the first-quarter 2010. The most recent activity reflected 113 debt-placement transactions for $2.3 billion, 60 investment sales for $2.8 billion, four structured-finance deals for less than $0.1 billion and six loan sales for $0.2 billion.

Pittsburgh-based HFF serviced 2,055 commercial mortgages for $25.591 billion as of March 31.

Cambridge Realty Capital Companies reported that 10 transactions for $103 million were closed during the first three months of this year. The loans were backed by senior housing and healthcare properties.

In addition, Cambridge said another 54 transactions for $976 million were in process during the quarter. Much of the recent activity has been with HUD programs.

Last month, Walker & Dunlop Inc. issued a news release boasting its standing as the 11th largest commercial mortgage lender in the Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual origination rankings. The Bethesda, Md.-based company also claims to be the second-biggest Fannie Mae DUS lender, the third-largest originator of health-care property loans and the eighth-biggest originator of financing on hotels and motels.

Walker & Dunlop’s total 2010 originations were $3.2 billion. Its commercial-mortgage servicing portfolio was $14.6 billion as of Dec. 31, 2010.

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