The Orange County (Calif.) Register columnist Jeff Lansner reports that the region is once again the mortgage center of America.

The latest stats show the local bosses at “real estate credit” businesses–private lenders, not banks or credit unions–employed 9,599 people in June, just topping Dallas County, Texas, for the county with the most workers in this employment niche.

That sounds like good news, but Lansner offers a word of caution:

This history of lending innovation turned ugly a decade ago. High-risk mortgage-making practices, including tactics popular with several large Orange County-based lenders, helped create a housing bubble and subsequent collapse that devastated the real estate industry.

But as the housing market recovered in recent years, the local mortgage business rebounded, too.

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