Fifth Third Mortgage Co. added some 38,000 customers in the past year and now has a loan servicing portfolio worth more than $65 billion. In a press release Thursday, the unit of Fifth Third Bank (FITB) said it has made a push the past two years to increase its mortgage origination business. The mortgage company also said it has refinanced more than 23,500 mortgages worth about $4 billion through federal programs since they launched almost two years ago, reiterating what the bank said in late July. The Treasury Department started the Home Affordable Modification Program in the early spring of 2009, providing incentives to servicers for the modification of mortgages on the verge of foreclosure. The Obama administration initially touted the program as a way to keep 3 million to 4 million Americans in their homes. But through December, less than 580,000 mortgages have been permanently modified, and the Treasury recently cut in half its estimate of eligible borrowers. Bob Lewis, president of Fifth Third Mortgage, called the company's efforts "an incredible feat, especially with the economic downturn that we've just been through." In late October, the bank shed roughly half of its troubled mortgage portfolio through the sale of $228 million in nonperforming residential mortgage loans for $105 million, or 44% of what the loans were originally worth. Fifth Third now services more than 477,000 customers in 12 states and ranks as the 14th largest mortgage originator in the country. Write to Jason Philyaw.