U.S. home lenders managed to boost origination volumes in the third quarter from the prior period, but lending activity in 2014 remains weak compared to last year's numbers.
Mortgage lenders originated an estimated $320 billion in loans throughout Q3, according to information collected by Mortgage Daily. While up nearly 8 percent from the second quarter's total of about $300 billion, third-quarter volumes fell short of year-ago levels by 31 percent.
Year-to-date through September, total production came to an estimated $890 billion.
Once again, Wells Fargo stayed in the top spot as the country's biggest home lender, originating $48 billion. The next biggest originator—Chase—posted a little less than half of that: $22 billion.
Rounding out the top five were Quicken (which moved up a rank with $16 billion in new loans), Bank of America (sliding to fourth at $15 billion), and U.S. Bank Home Mortgage ($13 billion). Figures for all of the top firms were up from the second quarter.
Year-over-year, Freedom Mortgage posted the greatest increase, with business jumping 148 percent. At the other end of the scale, Fifth Third reported a 56 percent drop-off in lending compared to last year.
On the servicing side, Wells Fargo was also the biggest name, boasting a portfolio of $1.8 trillion in outstanding mortgages.
Chase came in second with a portfolio worth $933 billion, with BofA following at $722 billion.
The only change in position among the top 10 servicers, according to Mortgage Daily, was a switch between Nationstar and Ocwen for the No. 4 and 5 spots. Nationstar ranked fourth with a $378 billion portfolio, while Ocwen was fifth with $361 billion.
While both non-bank servicers have come under scrutiny from state and federal regulators in the last year, Ocwen has experienced a greater share of headwinds. In October, it was revealed that the Atlanta-based servicer had sent backdated notes to borrowers, an error the company said was caused by software problems in its correspondence systems.
Weeks later, Wells Fargo announced it had canceled a planned sale of mortgage servicing rights to Ocwen in a deal placed on hold by New York's top financial watchdog.