The average profit of each loan originated by mortgage banks has been cut in half, with the average profit of each loan originated in 2013 at $1,242.

That's drastically down from $2,199 in 2012, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Mortgage Bankers Performance Report.

But the numbers don't tell the whole story. The timing of when profits began to tank is what's most telling.

“Full-year 2013 net production profits were respectable,” said Marina Walsh, MBA’s vice president of industry analysis. “In fact, they were the second-highest recorded since inception of the Performance Report in 2008.”

However, Walsh added, “Net production profits in the second half of 2013 were substantially lower than those in the first half of 2013.  While secondary marketing gains remained relatively strong throughout the year, per-loan production expenses escalated in the second half of 2013.”

In the last quarter of 2013 especially, the amount of closing a mortgage became astronomical and profits to close averaged closer to $150.

That's due in part to total loan production expenses, which include commissions, compensation, occupancy, equipment and other production expenses and corporate allocations, increased to $5,948 per loan in 2013, up from $5,137 in 2012. 

Furthermore, in the first half of 2013, total production expenses averaged $5,743 per loan, then rose to $6,539 per loan in the second half of 2013.

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