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Subprime Decline, Layoffs at WaMu

120 CA layoffs

June 18, 2007


photo of Coco Salazar

Tumbling subprime volume continued to take its toll on Washington Mutual Inc. employees.

On June 1, about 120 employees in Dublin, Calif., received layoff notices, according to an e-mail statement from WaMu spokesman Tim McGarry. The affected employees performed subprime loan processing duties that will be transferred to a similar center in Anaheim.

The Dublin center closure "reflects both reduced subprime volume and a continuing program of increasing efficiency by consolidating back-office support space nationally," McGarry said in the statement.

In the first quarter, subprime volume, from Long Beach Mortgage originations and mortgages purchased from recognized subprime lenders, amounted to $3.48 billion -- down from $6.07 billion in the prior quarter and from $7.09 billion in the comparable period a year earlier, the Seattle-based thrift reported.

Overall residential production fell as well during the latest period, to $37.6 billion from the fourth quarter's level of $42.3 billion, WaMu said, citing a number of "prudent actions" to reduce its exposure to the subprime mortgage industry as the reason for the quarterly downfall. The company said its exit from the correspondent business contributed to the annual downturn.

The Dublin layoffs will be completed July 31, McGarry said.

This round of consolidation in the subprime arena follows WaMu's mid-April completion of 250 layoffs in support staff for Long Beach loan fulfillment activity. Most recently, the Seattle based thrift cut approximately 60 mortgage records center jobs in Houston, Texas.

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

e-mail: [email protected]

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