Thanks to record low interest rates, residential lenders funded $466 billion in product during the first quarter, a 68% jump from the dismal fourth quarter, according to exclusive survey figures compiled by National Mortgage News.

Refinancings and fixed-rate production dominated the business and many lenders are now reporting strong profits. Also, this newspaper found that among the mega-lenders, firms that still use loan brokers were out-producing their competitors.

For instance, Wells Fargo & Co., and Bank of America, ranked first and second, respectively, in originations during the period, with gains of 50% and 133% compared to the 1Q08. Both still have a wholesale/broker presence. But the number three and four ranked funders — Chase and CitiMortgage — saw their volumes fall 28% and 40%, respectively.

Chase has exited wholesale with Citi scaling way back.

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