Independent mortgage banking firms' origination profits rose 28%, to $1,358 per loan, in the second quarter thanks to rising loan volumes, in particular a swell in refinancings.

According to a study released Monday by the Mortgage Bankers Association, 96% of the 292 lenders surveyed posted a pretax profit for the second quarter, compared with 85% in the first quarter and just 53% in the fourth quarter.

The profit study focused on what the trade group calls "independent" mortgage bankers, a universe that includes both nondepositories and subsidiaries of banks.

None of the nation's "mega" banks — Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. — are included in the MBA's survey, said a spokeswoman.

"The big increase in production volume allowed lenders to spread their fixed costs over a larger number of loans, thus increasing net profits," said Marina Walsh, the MBA's associate vice president of industry analysis.

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