Mortgage Daily

Published On: September 28, 2004
U.S. Bank to Add 700 Mortgage Jobs500 originators to be added by next year

September 28, 2004



With industrywide production substantially below the record levels reached last year, many careers in the mortgage industry have been cut short. But Minnesota-based U.S. Bank sees opportunity in the current pool of people looking for mortgage jobs.

Layoffs have hit a broad group of lenders as refinancings have come down from their hi-ho days when mortgage companies aggressively recruited employees to handle volume generated by record low rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA’s) latest forecast has mortgage originations in 2004 totaling nearly $2.7 trillion — down significantly from last year’s record of $3.8 trillion. While refinance volume will reportedly plunge by more than half from its record figure in 2003 to $1.1 trillion, purchase originations will jump to a new record of $1.5 trillion.

Refi fallout has led Washington Mutual Inc. to announce a series of mortgage staff layoffs in an effort to make the unit profitable. WaMu said it eliminated the equivalent of 4,500 full-time mortgage positions in the fourth quarter last year, planned to reduce 2,000 by the end of this year’s first quarter, and expected to cut another 2,500 by the end of this year.

Due to its merger with Bank One, JPMorgan recently cut over 100 mortgage jobs, which are part of the 12,000 jobs it plans to eliminate companywide. JP Morgan has not departmentalized the number and therefore does not have an estimate of how many from the massive reductions will be mortgage employees.

National City recently announced it planned to close a subprime unit it acquired from Provident Bank and cut 110 jobs.

Yet others, such as Wells Fargo and Countrywide, have announced plans to recruit sales people in the coming years.

The latest news of hirings comes from Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank Home Mortgage, the mortgage unit of U.S. Bank, a division of financial services holding company U.S. Bancorp.

“Generally speaking, our industry, because of lower volumes, is in consolidation mode,” Dan Arrigoni, president of U.S. Bank Home Mortgage, told “Those of us that are committed to [the mortgage] business look at this as a great opportunity to pick up a lot of good people from companies that question whether they are going to get out of mortgage.”

U.S. Bank plans to hire over 700 employees by the end of 2005 to support mortgage origination and processing functions — over 500 will be specifically mortgage originator positions and about one-third of these will be added within the next quarter, according to company spokeswoman Teri Charest.

The home loan unit currently has 2,400 mortgage employees, 28 processing centers and has plans to open 5 additional centers, Arrigoni said.

A majority of the new hires will be placed in U.S. Bank branches located across 24 states, with an emphasis in the Western region of the country, Arrigoni said. Some will be placed in U.S. Bank Home’s mortgage-processing centers.

U.S. Bancorp reported second quarter mortgage production of $5.2 billion jumped 37% the previous quarter.

“We’ve been very successful developing products for first-time homebuyers and emerging markets,” Arrigoni added. “That is going to be a big driver of our production volumes.”

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for [email protected]

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