Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC:US), already the largest U.S. home lender, widened its lead in the first quarter by originating a third of all residential mortgages in the nation as some of its biggest rivals retreated.
Wells Fargo controlled 33.9 percent of the U.S. mortgage market in the three months ended March, more than three times the share for No. 2-ranked JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM:US), according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry publication based in Bethesda, Maryland. The first quarter’s market share expanded from 30.1 percent in the fourth quarter, which was already the highest ever posted by a single company, according to Guy Cecala, publisher of IMF.
“Wells Fargo finished the first quarter with a record high,” IMF said in an e-mail sent to subscribers. “Perhaps more significantly, Wells widened the mortgage lending gap among its competitors.” The tally for San Francisco-based Wells Fargo exceeded the combined total for the next seven largest lenders, IMF said.
Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf, 58, is taking advantage of weakness at competitors such as Bank of America Corp. to boost mortgage lending, which helped Wells Fargo post 13 straight quarters of profit. Bank of America, once the largest home lender, has cut back after recording more than $40 billion of costs tied to faulty home loans and foreclosures.
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