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2nd Wave of WMC Layoffs

771 workers notified Thursday

April 20, 2007


photo of Coco Salazar

The latest round of job cuts at WMC Mortgage bring to more than a thousand the number of layoffs the subprime wholesaler has made this year.

WMC made an internal announcement yesterday of a layoff action that impacted 771 workers -- 50 percent of its staff, spokeswoman Brandie Young told MortgageDaily.com.

The nonprime lender closed three offices located in Addison, Texas, and San Ramon and Costa Mesa, Calif., she said. Two sites remain -- its Burbank, Calif., headquarters and a branch in Orangeburg, N.Y.

The trimmed operations "reflect the current environment in subprime lending," Young said, adding that companies industry-wide are taking a look at their business strategy and restructuring appropriately.

WMC remains "very committed to subprime lending," she added.

WMC's mortgage production has spiraled down -- with first quarter originations of $3.4 billion off 62 percent from the fourth quarter, according to a recent conference call. March fundings contributed only 15 percent of the latest period's volume.

"We've tightened up a lot of our guidelines and really curtailed a lot of the business activities," said Mark Begor, president and chief executive officer of GE Money, Americas, in the call.

He said the company is underwriting loans to its own guidelines and "no longer writing to Wall Street guidelines." And, in addition to increasing the price of loans, WMC has eliminated mortgages with stated income and also those with loan-to-values greater than 85.

The latest round of layoffs comes after 450 job cuts on March 8 and an unspecified number of sales employee reductions about three weeks later.

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

e-mail: [email protected]

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