Mortgage layoffs continue: this time it's BofA
In the latest round of downsizing for the incredible shrinking home-loan business, 1,500 Bank of America Corp. loan processors and underwriters will lose their jobs.
The Charlotte, N.C., bank is closing half of its 200 small loan fulfillment centers across the country, including 27 in California, where 128 employees have been notified of layoffs, spokesman Dan Frahm said Thursday.
"This is really an effort to align ourselves to the new reality of a significant downturn in mortgage origination volume," Frahm said.
Bank of America expects its mortgage lending volume to drop about 25% this year from 2010, when the refinance business was booming as interest rates dropped.
Most of the home-loan operation originally was part of Countrywide Financial Corp., acquired as the mortgage meltdown took hold in 2008.
Frahm said an additional 350 workers in the bank's closing processing centers will be assigned new jobs -- in the outreach unit to assist distressed borrowers.
There was no formal announcement of the latest layoffs, which came as no surprise.
With the purchase loan business still slow and refinancings off sharply, many lenders have been eliminating mortgage jobs, including a recent round by Wells Fargo & Co., the No. 1 originator of home loans.
As reported here recently, overall employment in the business is down 50% from its peak at the end of the housing boom, and the Mortgage Bankers Assn. is reporting little sign of a pickup in loan demand as the housing market enters the spring home-buying season.
-- E. Scott Reckard
Photo credit: Los Angeles TImes / Ricardo DeAratanha