The mortgage industry’s leaders are once again betting they can grab a bigger slice of a shrinking pie.
The Mortgage Bankers Association has projected refinancing volume will tumble 75% over the course of this year. Analysts doubt cuts in lender overhead can keep pace. Most banks acknowledge the slowdown in mortgages, which supplied blowout profits last year. But some insist buildups in capacity have positioned them to take market share and sustain revenues, and that in any event a strong mortgage operation is essential for a full-service bank and worth the investment. (The following graphic shows data on loan volume and profit margins. Interactive controls are described in the caption. Text continues below.)