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Wells Trims Wholesale Staff

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A decline in anticipated originations has Wells Fargo & Co. trimming its California wholesale lending staff.

In its fourth-quarter 2010 earnings report, the San Francisco-based company said home mortgage applications fell to $158 billion from the third quarter’s $194 billion. The activity pointed to lower first-quarter production.

Jason Menke, a spokesman for Wells Fargo, confirmed in a telephone interview today that lower production is anticipated for 2011.

So the lender is eliminating 145 wholesale lending positions, according to Menke. The impacted jobs include wholesale fulfillment positions such as underwriters and processors.

Wells Fargo was the biggest residential originator during 2010, with $386 billion in production. Wholesale and correspondent originations accounted for $172 billion of last year’s activity.

The impacted jobs are located in Irvine, Calif.

The employees were originally hired on a short-term basis to handle an unusually high volume of refinance transactions. But volume is tapering off — prompting the decision to end the employees’ assignments.

As of early last year, Wells had 10,400 home mortgage consultants, a servicing staff of 16,500, and 1,993 people at its home-equity group’s servicing operation. Company-wide headcount finished last year at 272,200.

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