Wells Fargo said it has given layoff notices to 37 employees in Fort Mill, the latest round of job cuts to hit the Charlotte area’s mortgage industry.
The layoffs are among 323 cuts nationwide the lender announced Wednesday, as it continues to reduce headcount amid declines in loan delinquencies and shrinking demand from borrowers to refinance home loans.
Besides the Fort Mill layoffs, no other jobs in the Charlotte region were affected, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Emily Bauman said in an email. Wells Fargo employs roughly 22,100 in the region, she said.
The layoffs are the most recent example of mortgage-related cuts in the U.S. banking industry. In recent months, Wells Fargo and other banks, including Charlotte’s Bank of America, have slashed thousands of employees in their mortgage operations as fewer home loans go sour and fewer borrowers refinance.
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Since last year, Wells Fargo has laid off hundreds of mortgage employees in the Charlotte region. Bank of America has also cut mortgage jobs in the region, although the exact number is not known as Bank of America typically does not provide layoff figures by market.
Before mortgage rates began rising last year, banks’ mortgage revenues were boosted as large numbers of borrowers sought to refinance their home loans at historically low rates. Demand to refinance has waned amid the higher rates, costing banks billions in revenue.
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo’s latest job cuts come after the lender reported last week that refinance applications fell to 39 percent of its mortgage applications in the first quarter from 65 percent a year ago. Wells Fargo said it laid off approximately 1,100 full-time equivalents in its mortgage staff during the quarter, as it reported a $1.3 billion drop in mortgage banking revenue from the first quarter of 2013.
Banks also continue to shed employees who work with troubled borrowers, as delinquency rates for home loans improve. Wells Fargo said first mortgages that are 90 days or more past due fell to $333 million in the first quarter, a drop of 41 percent from $563 million the same quarter last year.
The Fort Mill employees were given 60-day notices on Wednesday, Bauman said. The bank, “where possible,” will try to find other positions within the company for them, she said.