Retail originations by commercial banks and savings institutions fell 30% in the first quarter, on a sequential basis, according to new figures compiled by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).

FDIC reported that 767 banks funded $134 billion of single-family loans in the first quarter compared with $192 billion in the fourth quarter, a period in which refinancing volume was heavy.  

The agency said wholesale-related lending fell 30% to $218 billion.   

But there was good news on the loan buyback front. FDIC said repurchases and indemnifications for bad loans totaled $3 billion in the first quarter, compared to $9.5 billion a year ago.  In the fourth quarter, banks bought back $3.9 billion of problem loans.

The 767 banks are required to report origination figures to FDIC because they have $1 billion or more in assets or they originated more than $10 million of residential loans in the quarter.

In its FDIC Quarterly Bank Profile, the agency said insured depositories held $1.69 trillion of single-family loans as of March 31. But roughly 10% percent of these (closed-end/first lien) mortgages are 90 days or more past due, or what the agency considers “non-current.”  A year ago, the non-current rate was 10.8%.

Meanwhile, banks and thrifts reduced their holdings of 1-4 family construction loans by 36% to $52.9 billion. The comparison is to the year ago. The non-current rate on these loans remains high at 17.9%, but down from 22.2% a year ago.

Charge-offs on construction loans during the first quarter totaled $618 million dollars.

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