Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) is widely known for its commanding position in the $1.7 trillion mortgage market, but the degree in which it completely crushes its peers will surprise you.

Massive size
In 2013 alone it had $8.8 billion in revenue delivered from its mortgage banking operations, which was nearly as much as the revenue of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) combined:


Mortgage Banking Revenue

Total Net Revenue

% of Total Revenue

Wells Fargo




JPMorgan Chase




Bank of America




Source: Company SEC Filings

A recent presentation revealed just how much of a commanding grip it has on the entire mortgage industry itself.

Commanding lead
At the latest annual meeting, Wells Fargo showed that it issued more mortgages in 2013 for the purposes of buying homes than the next seven companies combined

Source: Company Investor Relations.

An important point to note is that this volume is based on purchase money mortgages, not refinances. Although Wells Fargo held a commanding lead there as well, this is a shrinking market, at least for the near term: the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) predicts refinancing volume will fall to $425 billion this year, a decline of more than $1 trillion from the $1.5 trillion seen in 2012.

Source: Mortgage Bankers Association 

On the other hand, MBA notes the purchase volume may take a slight dip in 2014, it still expected to rise in the coming years.

Since JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America saw significant gains from mortgage refinancing, they've seen much steeper declines in the total mortgage revenue through the first quarter of 2014:

Source: Company Investor Relations

While the revenue from mortgages has fallen by 46% at Wells Fargo, the tumble at both JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America stands above 65%.

All too often, we think the businesses at the biggest banks are all the same. Yet as Wells Fargo shows here, its commanding lead in the mortgage space will continue to be one more way it stands above its peers.

Big banking's little $20.8 trillion secret
While Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase are the three biggest banks, they're all afraid of the brand-new company that's revolutionizing banking, and is poised to kill the hated traditional brick-and-mortar banks. That's bad for them, but great for investors. And amazingly, despite its rapid growth, this company is still flying under the radar of Wall Street. To learn about about this company, click here to access our new special free report.

Patrick Morris owns shares of Bank of America. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo and has the following options: short June 2014 $50 calls on Wells Fargo and short June 2014 $48 puts on Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.