Even though it appears that loan applications and fundings swelled in the first quarter of this year, 2008 was one of the bleakest ones on record with all of the nation's top ranked firms suffering, according to a new annual tally by National Mortgage News (NMN).

NMN found that the top five residential funders — Wells Fargo & Co., Chase, Bank of America, Countrywide (pre-BoA), and CitiMortgage — suffered large declines in originations. BoA's full-year origination volume suffered the least (down 4%) — but only because it had Countrywide under its corporate umbrella in the second half of the year. The purchase closed on July 1.

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