Photo of a home for sale in Miami. A home for sale in Miami, Florida. Photographer: Scott McIntyre/Bloomberg

The U.S. mortgage industry is seeing its first lenders go out of business after a sudden spike in lending rates, and the wave of failures that’s coming could be the worst since the housing bubble burst about 15 years ago.

There’s no systemic meltdown coming this time around, because there hasn’t been the same level of lending excesses and because many of the biggest banks pulled back from mortgages after the financial crisis. Nonetheless, market watchers expect a string of bankruptcies broad enough to trigger a spike in layoffs in an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of workers, and potentially an increase in some lending rates. More of the business is now controlled by independent lenders, and with mortgage volumes plunging this year, many lenders are struggling to stay afloat.

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