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

According to a new study by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), 96% of the 292 lenders surveyed posted a pre-tax profit in 2Q compared to 85% in 1Q and just 53% in four quarter.

The profit study focused on what the trade group calls "independent" mortgage bankers, a universe that includes both non-depositories and subsidiaries of banks. None of the nation's "mega" banks — Bank of America, Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup — are included in the MBA's survey, said a spokeswoman.

According to figures compiled by National Mortgage News and the Quarterly Data Report, all lenders funded $583 billion in residential loans in 2Q compared to $480 billion in the first quarter — a 21% increase in volume.

Commenting on the results, Marina Walsh, MBA's associate vice president of industry analysis, said, "The big increase in production volume allowed lenders to spread their fixed costs over a larger number of loans, thus increasing net profits. At the same time, purchases picked up as homebuyers with good credit took advantage of low interest rates."

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