The Mortgage Bankers Association crowned Wells Fargo (WFC) as the top multifamily mortgage originator in 2011, despite flagging commercial originations. What's more, the mega-lender will likely hold the top spot for some time.

The San Francisco-based bank was the top originator by volume for various entities and related-secondary market players, including Fannie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration and Ginnie Mae, commercial banks and real estate investment trusts. 

Wells Fargo produced $357 billion in commercial mortgages, down 7.5% from $386 billion in 2010.

Residential mortgage originations by the nation's largest four banks fell 20% in 2011 to a combined $717 billion from $902 billion in 2010, according to a HousingWire analysis in January of their financial statements. When excluding Bank of America (BAC), overall mortgage production among the big banks fell 6.3% in 2011.

As multifamily housing's popularity grew in 2011 as a byproduct of the housing crisis, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac boosted multifamily lending business in the year $44.7 billion, marking double-digit increases for the two government-sponsored enterprises.

Fannie Mae provided $24.4 billion of multifamily debt financing in 2011, a 44% jump from $16.9 billion in the previous year. Freddie Mac had a similar experience, increasing to $20.3 billion from $15.4 billion in the same period. However, CBRE Capital Markets originated the most Freddie Mac-backed multifamily mortgages.

About 98% of Fannie's business came from its delegated underwriting and servicing platform, which relies on shared risk with commercial lenders.

It looks like Wells Fargo, one of the top users of the platform, will top the MBA list in 2012 as well. The bank finalized a new division in February that originates mortgages outside of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines. The new business will work with Wells Fargo community banks, wealth brokerages and retirement groups. The nonagency, jumbo and home equity loans will be kept on Wells Fargo's portfolio.

The other originators in the top 10 are HFF, Meridian Capital Group, PNC Real Estate, MetLife Real Estate Investments, Deutsche Bank Commercial Real Estate, Prudential Mortgage Capital Co., Northmarq Capital and JPMorgan (JPM).

JPMorgan headed the MBA's list of originators of commercial mortgage-backed securities. MetLife Real Estate Investments and HFF topped the list of life insurance and credit companies, respectively.