Number of mortgage lenders dwindling
The current economic crisis is continuing to claim mortgage lenders, with the number of active originators down for the fourth year in a row. Financial institutions reporting compliance with the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act were down below 8,000 in 2010, according to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, which tracks the data. The FFIEC reports 7,923 lenders complied with the act last year, down from 8,124 in 2009. In 2006, there were 8,886 mortgage originators nationwide. "The figures reveal a dramatic and troubling trend toward industry consolidation and less competition in comparison to the number of reporters for prior years," said Debby Lindsey-Taliefero, associate professor at Howard University in Washington. "Less competition rarely, if ever, benefits the consumer," she said. According to the FFIEC, "the 2010 data include information on 12.9 million home loan applications (of which nearly 8 million resulted in loan originations) and 3.2 million loan purchases." Mortgage applications are less than half 2005 levels, the FFIEC estimates. In 2010, there were around 16.2 million mortgage applications, worth nearly $4 billion. In 2005, there were 36 million applications, worth more than $6.4 billion. Write to Jacob Gaffney. Follow him on Twitter: @JacobGaffney.