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Wells Increases Originations

Mortgage News

Quarterly home-loan production increased at Wells Fargo & Co., contrasting results from the No. 2 originator. The bank has increased its mortgage investments and mortgage servicing portfolio.

Residential mortgage fundings at the San Francisco-based lending giant were $129 billion, according to first-quarter earnings data.

Production climbed from $120 billion in the fourth quarter. The quarter-over-quarter improvement contrasts JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s report of a slight slowing to $38.7 billion from the fourth quarter’s $38.9 billion. Chase ranked as the second-biggest residential originator during the fourth quarter.

Like Chase, however, Wells reported an increase in home mortgage applications to $188 billion from $157 billion in the earlier quarter. The application pipeline closed out the first quarter at $79 billion, $7 billion more than at the end of the fourth quarter.

Loan production at Wells also improved from $84 billion in the first-quarter 2011.

Retail originations represented $61 billion of first-quarter production, improving from $58 billion three months earlier. Correspondent production was $68 billion, up from $61 billion.

The residential mortgage servicing portfolio was $1.840 trillion. Three months earlier the company serviced $1.822 trillion, while the portfolio was $1.808 trillion at the same point last year.

The March 31 number included $1.483 trillion in loans serviced for investors, $0.350 trillion in servicing on loans it owns and $0.007 trillion in sub-servicing.

Wells owned $228.885 billion in one- to four-family first mortgages, almost identical to the $228.894 billion it owned at the end of 2011. But the portfolio has grown from $226.509 billion as of the same date in 2011.

Junior lien assets were reduced to $83.173 billion from $85.991 billion. The balance was $93.041 billion in the first-quarter 2011.

The non-strategic, liquidating loan portfolio was cut to $108.2 billion from $112.3 billion at the end of 2011 and $126.8 billion in the first quarter of last year.

The commercial mortgage servicing portfolio grew to $526 billion from $518 billion and was also more than $521 million last year at this point. The most recent figure included a third-party servicing portfolio of $407 billion, $106 billion in owned-loan servicing and $13 billion in sub-servicing.

Wells Fargo said it acquired $858 million of asset-based commercial loans on Feb. 1.

Its total commercial real estate outstandings finished last month at $124.423 billion, off from $125.357 billion at the end of December but up from $123.952 billion a year prior. The March 31 figure included $105.874 billion in real estate mortgages and $18.549 billion in real estate construction.

Repurchase demands outstanding eased to $1.856 billion from the prior quarter’s $2.010 billion. Repurchase stress was relieved from a year prior, when the total was $2.493 billion.

Losses from repurchases were $312 million, worse than $272 million in the prior quarter but better than $331 million in the same quarter the prior year.

Net income before taxes was $6.648 billion at the bank-holding company. Prior-period earnings were $6.057 billion and same-period prior-year income was $5.386 billion.

Net income after taxes was a record $4.2 billion.

Wells Fargo & Co. said it employed 264,900 team members as of the end of last month. Headcount finished last year at 264,200 and was 270,200 as of March 31, 2011.

Branch count exceeds 9,000 “stores.”

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