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Alt-A Job Cuts

1st National lays off 212 people

April 23, 2007


photo of Coco Salazar

An Arizona-based Alt-A wholesaler has scaled back operations and eliminated hundreds of employees.

Earlier this month, 1st National Bank of Arizona laid off 212 employees across all operational functions of its mortgage division, Pat Lamb, the division's president, told MortgageDaily.com.

"With the retrenchment that the industry has seen, we wanted to make sure we were staffed appropriately with what the market sees for the rest of the year," Lamb said.

The April 10 job cuts, which occurred throughout Arizona, Virginia, North Carolina and San Diego, Calif., left the banker with about 800 mortgage employees, according to the executive.

Just last August, 1st National said it was in "a hiring mode," with plans to hire 83 mortgage employees in 11 states by yearend. At the time, laid off employees from Bank of America were among prospective targets.

In 2006, mortgage volume rose to $7.25 billion from the previous year's level of $6.9 billion. The wholesale channel delivers about 80 percent of 1st National's mortgage originations, while correspondent and retail channels evenly contribute the rest, Lamb said. This year he projects $6.0 billion in production.

Right-sizing mortgage crew to reflect its expectations for the mortgage market is part of 1st National's efforts to realize efficiencies in its operations for the opportunity to grow, the mortgage division president added.

Among the efforts, the company recently completed implementation of a new loan origination system and also outsourced some servicing and post-closing functions that eliminated several temp and contract worker positions.

The staff reductions are not related to subprime fallout occurring in the market.

"We're an Alt-A lender," Lamb said, noting that Alt-A loans account for 90 percent of its production, while subprime originations contribute only 1 percent to 2 percent.


AZ Company Seeks BoA Refugees
An Arizona-based banker is looking to expand mortgage staff across 11 states.

Coco Salazar is an associate editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.

e-mail: [email protected]

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