July 25, 2012 / 6:50 PM / in 6 years

Wells Fargo remains top US mortgage lender but share slips

July 25 (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co remained the largest U.S. mortgage originator in the second quarter, but ceded market share to its biggest rivals, Inside Mortgage Finance said on Wednesday.

The fourth-largest U.S. bank made 32.4 percent of mortgages, down from a record 33.9 percent in the first quarter. The next three largest lenders -- JPMorgan Chase & Co, U.S. Bancorp and Bank of America Corp -- all gained share, according to the industry publication.

A surge in mortgage banking income helped Wells and other banks boost profits in the second quarter as homeowners continued to refinance at low interest rates.

Bank of America has fallen to fourth from second in the rankings since deciding last year to stop buying loans from smaller banks and mortgage companies, which is known as correspondent lending. But in the second quarter it showed the biggest increase in new loans, more than 18 percent, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

Wells Fargo still has nearly three times the market share of its closest competitor, JPMorgan, but some of its rivals stepped up their efforts in the second quarter, said Guy Cecala, Inside Mortgage Finance’s publisher. Bank of America, for example, has said it is adding more loan officers.

“Wells Fargo has a huge lead over other lenders, but the notion that they would take it from 30 percent to 40 percent was a little over optimistic,” Cecala said.

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