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Wells to Add 100 L.A. Loan Consultants

Bank catering to Hispanic market

February 19, 2004


With the opening of six new mortgage centers, a mortgage banking behemoth will buck the current declining trend in mortgage employment.

Wells Fargo & Co. recently announced that its mortgage lending arm -- Wells Fargo Home Mortgage -- will open six new centers in low-to-moderate income and multicultural areas of Los Angeles and that it plans to hire more than 100 home loan consultants this year.

The move is part of the company's plan to deepen its presence in Los Angeles as it is the largest and fastest growing market in which it operates, reported Wells. The expansion includes the opening of at least 25 new banking centers that will give room for over 300 additional jobs. Half of the centers will be located in multicultural concentrated communities as this is where Wells says it sees increasing demand for financial services.

The San Francisco-headquartered banking behemoth, which reported mortgage volume of $71 billion during the fourth quarter, indicated that a strong influential factor boosting its business and expansion plans is the large Hispanic population, which made up 46% of the Los Angeles population in the 2000 U.S. Census. Wells noted that since it started accepting the Mexican matricula card as valid identification two years ago, the majority of new accounts stemmed from the Los Angeles area. Additionally, Wells pointed out that only half of the 40 million Hispanics in the U.S. have bank accounts and credit cards, although the group has annual purchasing power of $600 billion and has the fastest growth rate in home and business ownership.

The lender's announcement delivers a break from numerous reports about mortgage job layoffs -- Wells itself announced an undisclosed amount of layoffs within its home loan division late last year, Washington Mutual said it would slash 2,000 mortgage jobs by the second quarter this year, while Fairbanks Capital Corp. reported it would cut 204. Furthermore, the government's latest report showed the number people working in the mortgage industry declined by 5,000 to 438,900 during December.

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

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