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Aurora Exits Third Party Originations

1,300 jobs cut

January 17, 2008


Following its exit from subprime wholesale lending last September, Lehman Brothers is now abandoning conforming and Alt-A third party originations. The move will impact 1,300 people.

Subsidiary Aurora Loan Services has posted a message on its Web site that it will no longer accept new business from mortgage brokers and correspondent lenders.

The unit will, however, continue direct lending originations and mortgage servicing, the notice indicated.

"Aurora Loan Services' parent company, Lehman Brothers, announced today that it will substantially reduce its resources and capacity in the U.S. residential mortgage origination space in light of the dislocation in the mortgage markets," the message said. "As a result, Lehman Brothers is suspending all Wholesale and Correspondent mortgage originations at Aurora."

Around 1,300 employees will be let go as a result of the move, Lehman said in its announcement. In addition, regional operation centers in Lake Forest, Calif., Sunrise, Fla., and Florham Park, N.J., will be shut down. Colorado operations will be consolidated into a Littleton office.

Lehman said it will take a $40 million charge in connection with the actions.

"It was necessary for us to structure our mortgage origination businesses in the U.S. to reflect the change in industry dynamics," Ted Janulis, Lehman's global head of mortgage capital, said in the press release. "We will continue to make technology and infrastructure investments in this space, as we reposition the business to reflect the changing industry."

A summary of programs offered by Aurora indicated it offered a full line of conforming agency products, Alt-A programs and jumbo loans to $2 million.

In September, Lehman announced it restructured its mortgage units, laying off 850 employees in the process. That announcement said Aurora would begin operating under the name Lehman Mortgage Capital.

"We now have a business that is sized correctly for the current environment and positioned for long-term success," Janulis said in September's announcement. "In addition, we will continue to look at other origination opportunities in global markets."

In August, Lehman shut down subprime wholesale subsidiary BNC Mortgage LLC -- resulting in 1,200 layoffs and the closing of 23 offices. That unit had restructured in June, with that move resulting in 400 layoffs.

"We truly appreciate your business and support over the years," Aurora's Web site stated today. "We hope you will consider how Aurora may be able to help you meet your needs in the future."

Sam Garcia worked in mortgage lending for twenty years prior to becoming publisher of

e-mail: [email protected]

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