Mark Oman, a senior executive at Wells Fargo who helped build the bank’s mortgage business into one of the most competitive in the industry, announced that he will retire by yearend.

Mike Heid and Cara Heiden, who report to Oman, will remain in their roles as co-presidents of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (WFHM).

Originally, Oman had planned to retire in 2008 but Wells bought the troubled Wachovia Corp. and chairman John Stumpf asked him to stay on. “We needed Mark’s expertise to help guide us through the integration of our mortgage businesses and to provide executive oversight for our newly acquired Wachovia Pick-A-Payment portfolio,” Stumpf said in a statement.

Stumpf added that now that the combined mortgage units of the two banks are “are completely integrated and achieving record levels of market share, and the Pick-A Payment loan portfolio is outperforming expectations, Mark will be able to enjoy the retirement he has planned for so long and he so well deserves.”

Oman first made his name in the industry as president of Norwest Mortgage three decades back. (Norwest Bancorp eventually merged with Wells.)

For years, Norwest and its successor firms have ranked among the top three lenders and servicers in the nation. WFHM currently ranks first among lenders with a market share north of 22%, according to figures compiled by ASR sister publication National Mortgage News and the Quarterly Data Report.

Among servicers, it ranks second with $1.8 trillion in receivables and a market share of almost 19%.

Oman has made few mistakes as the head of Wells’ mortgage business, though the bank did enter the subprime market early last decade and became a top player before beginning its abrupt exit from that business in 2007.

His official title at Wells is senior executive vice president, and head of the bank’s home and consumer finance group.

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