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Bloomberg: Wells Fargo to Cut 1,800 Jobs in Mortgage Business

rttnews.com | September 19, 2013

Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC: Quote), the fourth-largest bank in the U.S. by assets, will cut about 1,800 jobs in its mortgage business, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. The company's reported move to cut jobs comes as higher mortgage interest rates slow down refinancing activity.

According to the Bloomberg report, the job cuts will occur in Wells Fargo's home-loan production business, and is in addition to about 3,000 job cuts by the company earlier in the quarter as it braces for a further drop in demand for new mortgages. The workers whose positions are being cut have reportedly received 60 days' notice.

Wells Fargo is the largest originator of home mortgages in the U.S. and under a federal program, has the mandate to originate, underwrite, and certify mortgages for FHA insurance. The San Francisco-based company had 274,300 employees at the end of the recent second quarter.

The bank had been bolstering its mortgage operations in 2012 to reflect an increase in refinancing activity due to historically low interest rates. However, the increase in long-term interest rates in June 2013 is now slowing refinancing activity and is expected to end a mortgage refinancing boom.

Interest rates have been rising after the U.S. Federal Reserve indicated in May that it may start to scale back its massive bond-buying program later this year. The rising interest rates are expected to end a mortgage refinancing boom.

Wells Fargo's mortgage-banking income for the recent second quarter declined 3 percent from the year-ago period to $2.80 billion and total mortgage applications were down 30 percent. Refinances as a percentage of applications were 54 percent in the quarter, compared to 69 percent in the prior-year period.

In late July, Wells Fargo said its wholly-owned operating subsidiary Wells Fargo Ventures LLC planned to withdraw from its eight joint ventures in mortgage lending.

The company noted at that time that the decision was based on the current regulatory and market environment as changes in state and federal oversight have increased the complexity and difficulty of operating mortgage joint ventures. About 300 employees would be impacted by the move.

According to media reports earlier in September, Bank of America Corp. (BAC) plans to cut 2,100 jobs across the U.S. at its mortgage division. Lending at Bank of America, the third-largest mortgage lender in the US, is reportedly down about 9 percent from January 2013.

In June, JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) announced plans for nationwide job cuts in its mortgage servicing unit that would eliminate about 1,800 jobs. This was part of the larger plan announced earlier to pare 15,000 mortgage-related jobs by the end of 2014.

WFC closed Wednesday's regular trading session at $43.31, up $0.46 or 1.07 percent on a volume of 23.93 million shares.

 

Back to September 2013 Archive

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