LOWELL, Ark. — Arvest Bank announced today its mortgage division has originated more than $1 billion in mortgage loans, which includes both purchase money loans and refinance loans, for the 13th consecutive year.

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“The Arvest Bank team continues to show tremendous commitment and service to the communities we serve through consistency in making home loans to as many families as possible,” said Steven Plaisance, president and chief executive officer of Arvest’s mortgage division.

Additionally, Arvest revealed it reached the $1 billion milestone more than a month earlier this year than it did in 2014. As of Aug. 21, Arvest had closed a total of 6,380 loans with total loan value of $1,008,591,434. In 2014, Arvest didn’t hit the $1 billion mark until Sept. 30.

“Low mortgage rates in early 2015 really stimulated this year’s mortgage activity and complemented the improved home buying season through the early spring and well into summer,” Plaisance said.

Plaisance said 2015 is the second consecutive year in which purchase money loans account for more of Arvest’s total mortgage loan volume than refinances. Through Aug. 21, purchase money loans accounted for 61 percent of the company’s total loan volume. That’s up from 33 percent and 43 percent in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

“We are very pleased to see our overall volume being led by existing home sales and new construction activity in many of our markets. Homeownership continues to be the choice for the majority of people in the markets we serve.”

Steven Plaisance

Through Aug. 31, 2015, Arvest made 4,110 purchase money loans with a volume of $652,846,736. That’s up from 4,073 loans and $610,847,597 in volume as of Aug. 31, 2014.

Arvest’s overall volume of $1,056,891,055 – on 6,672 loans as of Aug. 31, 2015 – is up from $899,843,757 on 6,053 loans as of Aug. 31, 2014. That 17.5 percent increase is higher than the Mortgage Bankers Association forecast of a 14.9 percent increase.

The average loan size at Arvest as of Aug. 31, 2015, also increased compared to the same period last year, from $148,661 to $158,407, reflecting improving values in the real estate market.

“Average loan sizes have increased as home prices continue to appreciate modestly,” Plaisance said. “Refinancers have also benefited from recovery in their values to take advantage of the very low mortgage rates.”

Arvest is unique among most local lenders in that it services 99 percent of its mortgage loans, meaning that customers make their payments to Arvest and deal with Arvest for any needs after their loan closes.