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Merger Driving Layoffs at Chase

Merger Driving Layoffs at ChaseHome equity unity to cut 350 jobs

July 20, 2005

By COCO SALAZAR

The home equity lending division of Chase Home Finance will layoff hundreds of employees when it closes the doors to its Houston operation and downsizes a New York office.

Chase Home Equity will cut 350 loan processing jobs in Houston from now until the end of the year, company spokesman Greg Hassell told MortgageDaily.com. The shutdown will leave the division with three loan processing operations.

“We’re trying to align for more efficiency,” Hassell said, noting that the lender is at the same time trying to place the affected employees in other positions within Chase in Houston. “They’re good employees. We want to keep them.”

The employees’ skills in customer service, sales, underwriting, document preparation, loan origination and processing, are useful throughout other areas of the company, he explained.

Chase has notified workers of its intentions. Employees will have 60 days from the layoff notice before it becomes effective, which gives time to locate them jobs elsewhere in the company or outside, Hassell said. The minimum severance package is four weeks paid for affected employees, even those who have been there less than a year.

In eliminating the Houston site, specific channel focus was assigned to the continuing operations in Rochester, N.Y., Phoenix and Milwaukee. Rochester will process the loans of mortgage lending offices, Phoenix will be in charge of loans by phone and Internet loans while Milwaukee will handle retail, the spokesman said.

“Greater focus allows for more efficiency, better job performance and customer service,” Hassell said.

However, 300 more job reductions will occur in Rochester, according to the spokesman.

But although Chase will downsize in Rochester and Houston, it will increase staff in Phoenix and Milwaukee by about 150 and more than 200 employees, respectively, thus making the net amount of layoffs 300 within the home equity division, Hassell noted.

The home equity loan processing layoffs are part of a realignment related to the Bank One merger, which was acquired by JPMorgan Chase over a year ago, the spokesman said.


Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.E-mail: CocoSalazar@MortgageDaily.com

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