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HomeBank LoanHigh Mortgage Lenders by Quantity in 2021: Rocket Zooms Highest As soon...

High Mortgage Lenders by Quantity in 2021: Rocket Zooms Highest As soon as Once more with $100 Billion Hole


Now that the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data is out, we can check out the top mortgage lenders of 2021.

As you may have guessed, Rocket Mortgage took the top spot yet again, beating out its long-time adversary Wells Fargo.

Coming in third was Rocket’s crosstown rival United Wholesale Mortgage, which also secured the third position in 2020.

Chase remained in 4th for 2021, as it did in 2020, while loanDepot usurped Freedom Mortgage to take fifth.

Collectively, residential mortgage lenders had a banner year with more than $4 trillion in loan volume last year.

Top Mortgage Lenders Overall in 2021

Ranking Company Name 2021 Loan Volume
1. Rocket Mortgage $342.7 billion
2. Wells Fargo $228.6 billion
3. United Wholesale Mortgage $227 billion
4. Chase $205 billion
5. loanDepot $136.7 billion
6. Pennymac $124.7 billion
7. U.S. Bank $115.6 billion
8. Freedom Mortgage $113.1 billion
9. Homepoint $96.2 billion
10. Newrez $92.9 billion

Rocket Mortgage mustered a staggering $342.7 billion in loan volume last year, up from roughly $314 billion a year earlier, per data deconstructed by Richey May.

Once again, it was more than enough to hold off depository bank Wells Fargo, which could only come up with $228.6 billion.

The San Francisco-based bank actually saw its production fall year-over-year from $267 billion.

But it was just enough to hold off United Wholesale Mortgage ($227B), which works exclusively with mortgage brokers via the wholesale lending channel.

Chase ($205B) was one of just three banks to land in the top ten, and came out well ahead of loanDepot ($136.7B) in fifth.

Big correspondent lender Pennymac grabbed the sixth spot, followed by U.S. Bank, Freedom Mortgage, Homepoint, and Newrez.

There’s a good chance this list will look quite a bit different after being fairly steady, thanks to much higher mortgage rates.

That will tip the scale toward home purchase loans, which not all banks specialize in.

Speaking of, let’s break down 2021 volume by product type to see what that looked like.

Top Mortgage Lenders for Purchases in 2021

Ranking Company Name 2021 Loan Volume
1. Wells Fargo $95.3 billion
2. United Wholesale Mortgage $87.4 billion
3. Chase $85.9 billion
4. Rocket Mortgage $63.2 billion
5. U.S. Bank $57.0 billion
6. Pennymac $53.3 billion
7. Fairway Indpt. Mortgage $44.6 billion
8. Caliber Home Loans $41.1 billion
9. Guaranteed Rate $39.4 billion
10. loanDepot $39.0 billion

While Wells Fargo no longer sits atop the overall rankings, it’s still the trusted choice of home buyers nationwide.

This is evidenced by their $95.3 billion in home purchase loan volume, which bested UWM’s $87.4 billion and Chase’s $85.9 billion.

The nation’s #1 mortgage lender, Rocket, was pretty far behind in the category with $63.2 billion in purchase loans.

Another depository, U.S. Bank, took the fifth spot with $57 billion in loan volume, another sign that consumers seem to like big banks when it comes to home purchase loans.

Pennymac, Fairway Independent Mortgage, Caliber Home Loans, Guaranteed Rate, and loanDepot made up the rest of the best in this category.

This list could well resemble the overall top mortgage lenders list in 2022 given the strong purchase market expected this year.

However, we might see more of an effort from the big guys to pivot to purchase, knowing refinance apps won’t be what they were in recent years.

Top Mortgage Lenders for Refinancing in 2021

Ranking Company Name 2021 Loan Volume
1. Rocket Mortgage $274.7 billion
2. United Wholesale Mortgage $139.6 billion
3. Wells Fargo $125.5 billion
4. Chase $113.2 billion
5. loanDepot $97.7 billion
6. Freedom Mortgage $94.1 billion
7. Pennymac $71.4 billion
8. Homepoint $65.6 billion
9. Nationstar Mortgage $64.9 billion
10. Newrez $57.9 billion

When it came to refinances, Rocket Mortgage was also king, with total loan volume ($274.7B) not far off $300 billion.

They more than doubled their nearest competitor, UWM, which brought in a strong $139.6 billion via only the wholesale channel.

Wells Fargo once again had a strong presence, bringing in $125.5 billion, followed by fellow bank Chase with $113.2 billion, and nonbank loanDepot with $97.7 billion.

The top VA lender (and #2 FHA lender), Freedom Mortgage, chalked a solid $94.1 billion, but that didn’t leave much left over for purchases.

In fact, roughly 83% of their total production was made up of refis, which we all know aren’t going to keep flowing as they have with mortgage rates now closer to 5.5%.

Completing the top ten list were Pennymac, Homepoint, Nationstar, and Newrez.

Nationstar has also been pretty refi-heavy, with about 77% of production coming via such loans.

As noted, with mortgage rates a lot higher, rate and term refinances will be hard to come by, and even cash out refinances will be a tough sell.

Do I Need to Use a Big, Household Name Lender to Get My Mortgage?

I always take the time to differentiate biggest and best, as the two aren’t always synonymous.

It’s interesting to know who originated the most home loans in a given year, but this isn’t necessarily a customer satisfaction list.

Sure, you can have a great experience using one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders.

But there are also countless smaller companies out there that are also perfectly good choices, including mom-and-pop mortgage brokers.

Ultimately, it will come down to preference, and if you’re a home buyer, perhaps who your agent recommends.

The key, whichever path you choose, is to put in the time to comparison shop and vet the lenders.

That way you’ll know if there’s a better deal out there, or simply a better fit.

Some folks may prefer the personal touch of a mortgage broker, while others may take comfort in using a big household name to get their home loan.

There is no universal right answer as long as you do your due diligence.

(photo: JD Hancock)

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