The point that stood out for me was the fact that Bank spreads are about 1% higher now days than they were in the past, say about 5 years ago.
However the things you mentioned were also in the article and I would assume that the bottle neck in making loans that has caused higher delays will also get resolved in time as banks employ more people.
Quote from the article.
"Lenders profit on the gap, or spread, between their cost of obtaining money and the rate they charge when lending it out. Before the financial crisis, this spread averaged around 0.5 percentage point and widened to about 1 percentage point in the years after 2008. In October, after the Fed embarked on a new round of mortgage bond purchases, the spread leapt to 1.6 points and currently is hovering around 1.3 points."
And there is this issue as well.
"Lenders say they are reluctant to staff up given the prospect that any uptick in rates would choke off refinancing, leaving them with lots of overhead but little new business. Staffing also takes longer than it used to thanks to new state licensing requirements.
Mortgage industry officials say that rising litigation expenses, federal and state investigations, and new regulations have created a cost structure that is difficult to predict. "Until we have a rational, articulated plan where institutions know they can extend credit in a way that protects them as well as the consumer, I think we're going to see these spreads stay wide," said David Stevens, chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association. For a bank, "almost any other investment is a better choice right now [than mortgages], unless margins create a cushion to protect against this huge uncertainty premium.""
Many of these law suits are being filed by the Federal government and thus they are causing lending cost to go up as a result. Of course this gets passed onto the borrower.