WASHINGTON — Direct costs for mortgage servicing operations held steady, and mortgage banking servicers continued to reap steady profits in 2000, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported.

At $71 per loan, direct costs in 2000 were consistent with those of 1999, the association’s 2001 cost-of-servicing study found. The largest servicers had the lowest direct cost per loan, $65; other servicing groups incurred costs ranging from $70 to $101.

“With refinancing activity at only 19% of mortgage originations, servicers as a group were profitable in 2000 and even slightly more profitable than in 1999,” Doug Duncan, MBA’s chief economist, said in a release.

As the group looks forward to the study for this year, he said, “we may have come full circle. Refinancing activity is currently estimated at 43% for 2001.”

The MBA issued results of the annual study Tuesday.

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