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Countrywide Cutting Jobs

Countrywide Cutting Jobs

5%-10% of admin jobs to be cut

September 22, 2006

By COCO SALAZAR

 

photo of Coco Salazar
In response to the mortgage market slowdown, the nation’s largest originator will reduce some of its workforce and temporarily slow the pace of hiring production personnel.

Countrywide Financial Corp. recently sent a memo to employees informing that 5 percent to 10 percent of general and administrative jobs will be cut nationwide in the coming months to meet with changes in the industry, spokesman Rick Simon told MortgageDaily.com. He did not know the number of employees in these areas and could not provide a headcount.

Simon noted that the reduction, which the company expects a good portion will be accomplished through normal attrition, does not affect sales force or operations personnel that directly support mortgage production activity.

The job cuts are a “reflection of today’s falling marketplace,” Simon said. “For 38 years, Countrywide has always reflected the mortgage marketplace and adapted to cycles. It’s no surprise there’s a market slowdown and that there would likely be a reduction in workforce.”

While the Calabasas, Calif.-based lender reported it increased mortgage volume from the first quarter to $116 billion last quarter, it was at the lowest level since the first quarter 2005.

“Numerically, it is a modest reduction,” when comparing to the 22,000 jobs or 63.5 percent growth Countrywide has experienced in the last 2 and a half years through January 2006,” he added.

Overall, Countrywide reportedly has about 56,000 employees.

Simon emphasized that Countrywide continues with its strategy to add sales force and hire top producing people who become available through consolidation of the industry in order to retain market share, even though it will temporarily slow the pace of doing so.

In Texas, for example, there will be a slowdown for about a year and a half, but Countrywide still intends to reach its commitment of creating 7,500 jobs in six years. So far, it has hired over 3,000 in Texas ahead of schedule and has “no doubt” it will meet and exceed the goal, according to the spokesman.

In Fort Worth, Texas, Countrywide has already started filling one of two properties that are under construction and have the potential for 2,800 employees, Simon said. The second property will start occupying late this year and into first quarter 2007.

A data center in Plano, Texas, will be complete later this fall and hold 1,300 to 1,500 employees.

While most of the facilities in Texas will have multiple uses, the jobs are primarily mortgage related, Simon said.


Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.e-mail: MortgageWriter@aol.com

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