A Dive Into HMDA Data

Newly released mortgage data offers insights into refinancing, credit union market share, and millennial and Gen Z borrowing.


Congress passed the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) in 1975 to ensure lenders observe fair lending practices and, particularly, to shed light on the availability of credit in urban neighborhoods. The act requires lending institutions — including credit unions, banks, mortgage finance firms, savings associations, and other lenders — to report HMDA data if the institution:

  • Has greater than $46 million in assets.
  • Has a branch or home office in a metropolitan statistical area.
  • Originated at least 25 closed-end mortgage loans or at least 500 open-end lines of credit in the prior two calendar years.

Today, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) publishes HMDA data on an annual basis. The data set for all loans originated in the calendar year 2019 serves as the basis for this analysis. According to the FFIEC, 5,508 institutions met the criteria required to report originations in 2019. Collectively, the industry lent $2.7 trillion via 9.3 million mortgages. As a result, total loan amounts funded grew 33.5% year-over-year. 

Continue reading to see a detailed breakdown of credit union mortgage lending in 2019. 


Funding Bounces Back Amid Favorable Interest Rates

© Callahan & Associates | CreditUnions.com

Both the number of loans and the dollar amount granted increased significantly at U.S. credit unions in 2019. From 2018 to 2019, the number of mortgages funded grew 13.6%; the dollar amount lent grew 29.8%. Comparatively, banks recorded 23.9% growth in loans funded, 5.9 percentage points less than their cooperative counterparts.

Despite record low unemployment, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times in the second half of 2019 in an effort to spur growth as inflation fears waned, the trade war with China persisted, and economic growth slowed abroad. A 90.3% increase in the amount of refinancing industrywide in the 2019 HMDA data reflects the effects of changing monetary policies. Credit unions recorded a 95.4% increase year-over-year in the amount of loans granted for traditional refinancing and a 59.9% increase for cash-out refinancing.

Credit Unions Grow While Minimizing Costs For Borrowers 

The average loan balance across all lending institutions was $285,400. The average credit union loan was $171,100 as cooperatives continued to lend smaller dollar amounts to more people. In fact, credit unions originated 13.6% more loans in 2019 than in 2018 and accounted for 1 in every 10 mortgages originated.

The year’s HMDA data also shows how credit unions return value to their members. Mortgage costs at credit unions averaged 1.6% of the total loan amount. By contrast, the average cost was 1.7% and 2.5% at banks and mortgage finance companies, respectively. Across all types of lenders, credit unions offered the lowest loan costs.

As discussed, cooperatives tend to loan smaller dollar amounts to more people. HMDA data from 2019 suggests they also employ a more conservative approach when it comes to a borrower’s financial circumstances. Mortgage finance companies reported an average loan-to-income ratio of 358.1%; credit unions, on the other hand, posted an average ratio of 173.2%. The credit union industry also reported a smaller average loan-to-value ratio. 

Despite this conservative approach, credit unions still approved 76.5% of completed applications, including preapproval applications. Such an approval number is a testament to credit unions’ commitment to serving their members’ needs. By comparison, banks approved 74.1% of their completed applications — 2.4 percentage points less than credit unions.

Credit Union Market Share Leaders

Midwestern credit unions led the way in property-secured lending in 2019. Eight of the top 10 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) for credit union market share were located in Midwestern states. Explore the map below to gain a more detailed understanding of credit union market share across the country.

© Callahan & Associates | CreditUnions.com

Mortgage Demographics: Millennials And Gen Z

HMDA data allows mortgage lenders to keep an eye on the evolving demographics of their mortgage products as well as identify industry trends. As the data below shows, credit unions have strong relationships with borrowers in the upper age bracket and reported the strongest growth in origination numbers among borrowers older than 74. Origination growth in the 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 age groups also crossed 10.0% .

“Millennial” as defined by HMDA includes borrowers who range in age from 25 to 34; Gen Z borrowers are those younger than 25. Together, these generations comprise 23.2% of the industry’s borrowers. Although these two groups are not the largest property-purchasing cohort, credit unions must seek to better understand these young borrowers to position themselves to serve tomorrow’s borrowers and gain a larger foothold in the mortgage market. 

According to HMDA data, credit unions are growing their relationships with millennial and Gen Z borrowers slower than older age groups. Nonetheless, 19.8% of all mortgage dollars originated at credit unions went to millennial or Gen Z borrowers. Comparatively, loans originated to this cohort at banks and mortgage finance firms accounted for 15.8% and 23.4% of dollars originated, respectively. 

To gain a better understanding of millennial and Gen Z borrowing, click around the interactive graphic below. 

© Callahan & Associates | CreditUnions.com

The millennial group includes borrowers who range in age from 25 to 34. The Gen Z group is composed of borrowers younger than 25. These are HMDA-defined groups, and Callahan cannot divide these age ranges into smaller categories.

Staying Strong For The Future

Credit unions turned out a record year for mortgage growth in 2019. Borrowing spiked when the Fed cut interest rates, and although credit unions lost several basis points in market share, cooperatives stayed true to their mission by minimizing costs and extending smaller loans to more members. As the mortgage lending marketplace continues to evolve and digitize, credit unions would be well-served to evaluate their processes to ensure they are positioned to serve future generations.

Callahan & Associates recommends Peer-to-Peer and MortgageAnalyzer to uncover deeper, more personalized insights. To find out more about Peer-to-Peer, click here. To find out more about MortgageAnalyer, click here.

Aug. 24, 2020


  • The tableau hove table is incredible. Is there a way to put in a search box so one could go right to Peoria, Il rather than hover around till you find your local town. I would think that a tableau map like this per state would be something every cu would be interested in. Look at their immediate market shares. Call up your state map and then go find your market.
    chip Filson
  • Hi Chip! Thanks for reaching out regarding the search box. If you hover over the upper left-hand corner of the map, there should be a magnifying glass. Click the magnifying glass and a search bar should appear where you can type into to find the location you are looking for.
    Nicole Sanders