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Wells Fargo Is Beating Us in Mortgages, Dimon Tells Cramer

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO James Dimon in an interview on CNBC with Jim Cramer on Friday expressed confidence that the New York banking giant could compete in the mortgage business with Wells Fargo.

Cramer pointed out that Wells Fargo's second-quarter mortgage revenue held up from the previous quarter, while JPMorgan saw a "7% origination decline."

Cramer added "Wells is not seeing those numbers."

JPMorgan reported a 7% drop in mortgage originations from the previous quarter to $49 billion as interest rates rates rose, while Wells Fargo still managed a slight 3% increase to $112 billion.

JPMorgan said the sharp rise in interest rates had hurt refinancing volume more than expected. If rates stay at this level or move higher, the refinance market could fall by 30% to 40%, CFO Marianne Lake told analysts during the conference call following results.

While the purchase market was still doing well, it was unlikely to offset the decline in refinancing.

Referring to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, Cramer asked Dimon "Is he just out-mortgaging you?"

Dimon said "Yes he is. I love John Stumpf, they do a better job in the mortgage business than us," but added that following the acquisitions of Bear Stearns and the failed Washington Mutual, "our systems weren't great." Dimon went on to say "we [have] a new management team in place, and at the end of the day we're going to have a great mortgage business."

"We believe like John that it is an important product. We are really good at production, we are really good at servicing, we just have more wood to chop than he does."

"We've gone from 9% to 10% to 11%" mortgage market share, Dimon said, adding that "I think you'll see our share go up over time."

When Cramer asked about anemic small business lending, even in light of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke "doing everything he can" Dimon said "small business will recover with the economy. When the economy starts to grow, you're going to see small businesses take off, and their credit needs grow."

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