While it's been a bit of a task to pick out good news releases in the mortgage markets in the last couple of years, now and then something interesting on a positive note pops out. It seems that some of the larger banks are hiring and gearing up for an anticipated increase in mortgage loan applications.
JP Morgan Chase, one of the nation's largest banks is now hiring 1200 new mortgage officers. While some housing experts are expecting mortgage activity to remain flat for a while due to a lack of refinancing activity, a spokesman for Chase says "We may not be inundated with applications tomorrow, but we are confident the the need will be there."
While the Mortgage Bankers Association expects refinancing to drop considerably for the next two years, a recent announcement stated that loans for home purchases are expected to steadily increase in the same period. Chase is primarily staffing the Washington Mutual branch offices the bank recently acquired. This branch-based lending build-up is said to be because Chase sees fewer defaults coming from direct branch lending.
While Chase and other large banks are increasing mortgage lending staff, the Mortgage Bankers Association predicts less lending this year than last. This could be due mostly to a decline in refinancing, and the slow build-up expected in new home loan origination. The uncertain employment situation is also a factor, with more fear about jobs, as well as more scrutiny of employment stability in granting loans. It's a "glass half empty/full" situation, depending on who is quoted.