Chart: How Wells Fargo Dominates the Mortgage Market


Data source: Inside Mortgage Finance. Chart by author.

Wells Fargo has long focused on home loans. Even before the crisis, when the bank's branch network was confined principally to the Western half of the United States, it had mortgage offices spread across the country. When Wells Fargo purchased Wachovia and its sprawling East Coast branch network in 2008, this only added to its competitive strength.

Additionally, unlike many of its peers, Wells Fargo didn't have to retreat and retrench in the wake of the 2008 crisis. Bank of America offers a case in point. For much of the past decade, the North Carolina-based bank has been more concerned with slaying legal liabilities, reining in expenses, and restructuring its operations than with trying to compete with Wells Fargo in the mortgage market.

Consequently, while Bank of America and its legacy companies (namely Countrywide Financial) went into the crisis atop the mortgage industry, it has since emerged as a second-rate player.

JPMorgan Chase passed it, thanks to that bank's crisis-era acquisition of Washington Mutual. Quicken Loans passed it as well, and even the much smaller U.S. Bancorp is closing in on Bank of America. The nation's biggest regional bank by assets originated $26.2 billion in mortgages in the first half of the year, only $3 billion worth less than Bank of America.

In sum, there are many ways to gauge Wells Fargo's success over the years, but its commanding position in the mortgage market is one of the best.

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John Maxfield owns shares of Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp, and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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