Shadow banks are on the cusp of taking the lead from their commercial counterparts in the mortgage market, new data suggests, a phenomenon that hasn't been seen since the 2008 financial crisis.
Non-bank lenders, which inhabit the comparatively lightly regulated industry, accounted for 48 percent of mortgage activity in 2015 — and there's reason to believe that when all is said and done for 2016 that number will grow.
The implications, while good for an industry that is believed to hold about $80 trillion in assets, carry some dark undertones.
"The last time nonbanks accounted for that much mortgage activity was 2006, the year before the subprime crisis began," a report from SNL Financial said this week. (NOTE: The post is behind SNL's pay wall.)
Shadow banks accounted for 55 percent of mortgage activity in 2006; the number was 45 percent in 2014 before growing to 48 percent in 2015, according to SNL, citing data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.