Mortgage Bankers : A true Mortgage Banker is a lender that is large enough to originate loans and create pools of loans. Any company that does this is considered to be a mortgage banker. They can very greatly in size. Some may service the loans they originate, but not all of them will. Most true mortgage bankers have wholesale lending divisions. Mortgage Brokers : Mortgage Brokers are companies that originate loans with the intention of brokering them to wholesale lending institutions. A broker has established relationships with these companies. Underwriting and funding takes place at the wholesale lender. Many mortgage brokers are also correspondents, which is why many of them also claim to be mortgage bankers. Mortgage brokers deal with lending institutions that have a wholesale loan department.
Wholesale Lenders: Most mortgage bankers and portfolio lenders also act as wholesale lenders, catering to mortgage brokers for loan origination. Some wholesale lenders do not even have their own retail branches, relying solely on mortgage brokers for their loans. These wholesale divisions offer loans to mortgage brokers at a lower cost than their retail branches offer them to the general public. The mortgage broker then adds on his fee. The result for the borrower is that the loan costs about the same as if he obtained a loan directly from a retail branch of the wholesale lender.
Portfolio lenders: An institution which is lending their own money and originating loans for itself is called a “portfolio lender.” This is because they are lending for their own portfolio of loans and not worried about being able to immediately sell them on the secondary market. Usually these institutions are larger banks and savings & loans. Quite often only a portion of their loan programs are “portfolio” product. If they are offering fixed rate loans or government loans, they are certainly engaging in mortgage banking as well as portfolio lending.
Direct/Private Lenders: Lenders are considered to be direct lenders if they fund their own loans. A “direct lender” can range anywhere from the biggest lender to a very tiny one. Banks and savings & loans obviously have deposits they can use to fund loans with, but they usually use “warehouse lines of credit” from which they draw the money to fund the loans. Smaller institutions also have warehouse lines of credit from which they draw money to fund loans.
Correspondents: Correspondent is usually a term that refers to a company which originates and closes home loans in their own name, then instead of selling those loans in pools, they sell them individually to a larger lender, called a sponsor. The correspondent may fund the loans themselves or funding may take place from the larger company. Either way, the loan is usually underwritten by the sponsor. It is almost like being a mortgage broker, except that there is usually a very strong relationship between the correspondent and their sponsor.
Banks and Trusts: Banks and Trust Companies usually operate as portfolio lenders, mortgage bankers, or some combination of both. Credit Unions: Credit Unions usually seem to operate as correspondents, although a large one could act as a portfolio lender or a mortgage banker .