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CitiMortgage takes a beating in Q3

Mortgage originations fall 29% and its mortgage division succumbs to scandal

Citigroup released its earnings report this morning, and mortgage originations are down. Way down.

The bank reported a 29% decrease in originations year over year and an 8% decrease in originations from the second quarter.

Squeezed by declining affordability and rate hikes, Citi’s origination nosedive is indicative of what the rest of the mortgage industry has been feeling in the past year as originations have fallen for just about everyone.

This is a tough blow for the bank because it has been stepping on the gas in the digital mortgage department this year, partnering with Digital Risk and Black Knight to form a digital mortgage origination platform after scuttling its servicing operations in early 2017.

It’s been a bad year for CitiMortgage, mostly because it keeps shooting itself in the foot.

Citi’s mortgage operations are under the magnifying glass as the bank got itself in trouble earlier this month with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for charging affluent minorities more for their mortgages, a bad call by any measure but especially unwise during a dip in the market, when consumers with the appetite for a mortgage are few and far between.

Citigroup spokesman Drew Benson acknowledged the problems in a statement to Reuters, saying the bank “firmly believes it has not engaged in discrimination or violated fair lending laws.”

“In 2014, Citi self-identified errors implementing its relationship pricing program which affected a small percentage of our mortgage customers,” Benson wrote in an email. “We conducted a comprehensive review, reimbursed affected customers and have strengthened our processes and controls to help ensure correct implementation going forward,” he added.

Before that, in August, the Federal Reserve slapped Citi with an $8.6 million fine for sloppy mortgage documentation practices.

If CitiMortgage wants to weather the regular market headwinds, it needs desperately shape up and fly right.

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