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Florida Layoffs at Block

Florida Layoffs at Block

141 jobs to be cut by June

April 4, 2007


photo of Coco Salazar
A restructuring at H&R Block Inc.’s prime retail mortgage origination group will result in hundreds of layoffs.

H&R Block Mortgage Corp. gave layoff notices on Thursday to 141 employees at its mortgage origination office in Tampa, Fla., spokeswoman Nancy Mays told The jobs, which include loan officers and processors, will be phased out until the office closes on June 2.

The layoff notices follow the company’s decision to build its prime retail mortgage origination business under H&R Block Bank, which was opened a year ago and is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo, according to the spokeswoman.

“It will be a gradual process,” Mays said. “Anytime we do a decision like this, it is difficult, but this will be a better business model for prime retail mortgage operations.”

Including the Tampa site, the Irvine, Calif.-based mortgage company currently has 12 offices nationwide, including in Chicago, Ill., and Denver, Colo., the spokeswoman said today. Some of the offices house mortgage origination operations and others client retention services.

The Tampa office closure is the only one the company has confirmed, but other mortgage origination offices may be closing, Mays said. She did not have further details as to how many mortgage origination offices and employees may be affected. The decision to build under the bank will not affect client retention group offices.

Mays noted the decision regarding Block’s prime retail mortgage origination group are not related to Option One Mortgage Corp., the wholesale nonprime arm.

Last May, the president of Block’s consumer financial services group, Steve Nadon, told attendees of a nonprime conference in Washington, D.C., that everything from sales to back-end operating processes will be redefined.

Because the operating models in place for the last decade were not going to work in the future, the company was taking a critical look at everything from the use of titles to the utilization of technology, Nadon said.

Block is still looking a buyer for Option One, which has defaulted on multiple warehouse lines.

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