Big banks continue retreat from mortgages

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The housing picture

Big banks are lending less to homebuyers, or they're making less on loans — and sometimes, it's a combination of both.

Some are making less on home loans, in part owed to the Fed and its yearslong zero interest rate policy. But the trend also coincides with a rise in nonbank lenders, like Quicken Loans, that have been gobbling up market share in mortgages in recent years.

"The mortgage market is coming off the highs it realized in 2012," said Erik Oja, S&P Capital IQ banking analyst. "A lot of it is expected, in terms of origination."

JPMorgan Chase reported net income of $266 million in its mortgage banking division, a 21 percent drop when it announced fourth-quarter earnings last week. The bank also posted a quarterly drop of 25 percent in mortgage originations, which were down 2 percent year over year as well.

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"A lot of operational complexity to complying" with servicing regulations led to "origination volumes [being] a little lower than we would have otherwise seen," JPMorgan CFO Marianne Lake said on the company's earnings call.