This weeks' National Mortgage News (September 7, 2009) top residential originator summaries suggest that Wells Fargo and Bank of America accounted for 44% of all residential funding. If this is true then where is the Justice Department on antitrust law enforcement? These types of market shares potentially give these lenders pricing and service powers to squeeze out the competitors. Well not so fast!
We used mortgage data for Virginia (later this can be extended too many more markets) and compared the competitive landscape today to the Virginia mortgage market in 2006. Virginia is a typical mortgage market for this experiment. 2006 was a good year to compare because the major turmoil in mortgage markets showed their ugly face in 2007. We calculated the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) as a statistic to measure mortgage market concentration. Conventional purchase and refinance mortgage recordings for the first six months of 2006 was compared to 2009.
In 2006 the HHI value was 235 indicated a very competitive mortgage market having dozens of mortgage lender participants. In 2009, HHI climbed to 552. This is hardly a concentrated mortgage market and values of 552 would not be possible with 2 lenders having 44 percent of the market. No way Jose!
Even with mega mergers of Countrywide / Bank of America and Wachovia/ Wells Fargo, we still have competitive mortgage markets. It is true that the markets are much less competitive than they were just a few years ago but they are still competitive.
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