In April, with the coronavirus pandemic raging across the country, leaders at JPMorgan Chase made the call: the bank was going to significantly tighten mortgage lending standards. Borrowers weren’t going to get a new mortgage without a 700 or higher credit score and at least 20% down. Instead, JPMorgan Chase said it would focus on its existing customers, primarily handling refinances.
Despite early jitters, fears of a housing market slump proved unfounded. Instead, the housing market has been a bright spot for the economy, and some experts now project $4 trillion in originations before New Year’s day.
Now, Manhattan-based JPMorgan Chase decided it’s time to step up residential lending and recapture some of the purchase business it’s ceded to competitors.
“In the case of home lending in particular, we’ve walked back some of our constraints in a reflection of the fact that we’ve seen home prices continue to improve,” Marianne Lake, the bank’s head of consumer banking, said at a virtual investor conference Monday. “We have loosened some of our criteria there,” she said, according to Bloomberg.
Exactly which credit standards have been loosened remains unclear. Lake did not elaborate, and representatives for the retail bank did not immediately respond to HousingWire’s requests for comment.
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Lake, who was promoted to head consumer banking in April 2019, has been pushing branch managers to trim costs and sell more mortgages to customers who do their retail banking with JPMorgan. The lender also amped up its push toward digital mortgages.
Through the third quarter, JPMorgan Chase originated $96.4 billion in mortgages, up 23% from the prior year. Its home-lending business sported $1.71 billion in revenue in the third quarter, up 17% year-over-year. While originations picked up, gain-on-sale margins fell by 43 basis points during the third quarter to 264 basis points, according to the bank’s investor presentation last month.
Even if JPMorgan Chase lowers credit, downpayment and reserve standards to increase purchase business, it will likely be in suburban markets. With demand flagging and a glut of luxury product, the bank actually increased lending standards in Manhattan, now requiring at least a 30% downpayment on condominiums and co-ops.
We tried to refinance some investment property in Atlanta with 70% LTV and were told they were only accepting applications for refinancing if the loan was a JP Morgan Chase loan. We have 800+ scores and that didn’t make a difference. If we took it out of the LLC they still wouldn’t do it.