The country's biggest banks are again making handsome profits from buying and servicing home mortgages. The smaller institutions that produce the loans have not been so fortunate.

That imbalance, which many believe is likely to endure, has irked a wide range of loan originators, some of whom argue that the big banks are not only underpaying them for mortgages but also effectively driving up mortgage rates for consumers. The big banks service around 70% of the nation's home mortgages, and their margins on mortgage purchases, around 25 basis points during the boom years, are routinely four times that now.

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