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Bank of America to cut more than 3,000 mortgage jobs

Bank of America will lay off more than 3,000 workers in its mortgage division in the fourth quarter, according to several reports, the latest result of the Charlotte bank’s work to clear delinquent loans off its books.

This week, the bank told about 1,200 workers they’d be let go. They included servicers in the legacy mortgage division, as well as mortgage processors who work in new loans.

As many as 3,000 more workers that service troubled mortgages could also be laid off. Many of them are contractors brought in when delinquent loans were at their peak. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the layoffs Thursday.

The layoffs will primary come in California, Texas and Florida. It is unclear how many, if any, are in the Charlotte area.

Both groups have been whittled over the past year. Bank of America announced that it laid off 1,000 mortgage processors in the third quarter as rising interest rates dramatically reduced the number of refinancings handled by the bank. Mortgage banking income fell 70 percent from the same period a year ago.

On a conference call with analysts earlier this month, Bank of America executives said the fourth quarter would likely be even slower and said more job cuts would follow. They declined to provide a target number of layoffs.

Bank of America has also been cutting its unit that services delinquent loans as the bank works the mortgages off its books. About one-third of its workforce has been slashed in the past year.

The bank would not confirm the number of layoffs or say where they would be located.

“As we continue to resolve the needs of customers with delinquent loans, we are reducing the size of the operations that support these specialized programs,” spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens said in a statement.

“Additionally, in line with the industry, we are realigning our cost structure in response to lower customer demand for mortgage refinancing. We are working with employees to identify opportunities both inside and outside the bank.”

Industry shrinking

Thursday’s reports are the latest in a months-long retrenchment in big banks’ mortgage businesses.

Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage originator, said earlier this month that it had laid off 5,300 workers across the bank as home loan rates rose. At least 430 came from the Charlotte area. SunTrust, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase have all announced mortgage staff cuts.

BB&T has also signaled that it would begin laying off mortgage workers, likely beginning in early 2014.

Dunn: 704-358-5235; Twitter: @andrew_dunn
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