Nearly 90,000 Mortgage Jobs Eliminated in 2007

Countrywide shed most jobs in mortgage disaster;California hit hardest; more cuts expected.

DALLAS (AP) — More than 86,000 mortgage jobs were cut in 2007 because of the weakening real estate market, according to a new report released Monday by MortgageDaily.com.

Countrywide Financial Corp., (CFC, Fortune 500) the nation’s largest lender, shed the most staff in 2007. Net job losses at the Calabasas, Calif.-based lender totaled 11,665, or about 14 percent of all mortgage jobs lost during the year.

The numbers would have been worse, if not for JPMorgan Chase & Co. adding 4,465 mortgage jobs in 2007.

The mortgage industry faced a tumultuous year as housing prices declined and delinquencies and defaults rose rapidly, especially among subprime mortgages given to customers with poor credit and among home equity products.

California, where dozens of mortgage lenders are based, was the state hit hardest by the downturn. Nearly 16,000 mortgage jobs were cut in California in 2007. California was home to one of the nation’s largest subprime lenders, New Century Financial Corp., before it filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2007. New Century’s closing led to 5,200 lost jobs.

MortgageDaily.com expects the job cuts to continue but slow in the coming year.

“While more layoffs are anticipated for the mortgage sector during 2008, we expect the pace of job cuts to slow significantly,” Sam Garcia, publisher of MortgageDaily.com, said in a statement. “In addition, employment growth is projected in mortgage servicing as delinquencies and foreclosures rise.”

MortgageDaily.com analyzed layoffs and hirings involving at least 50 people at 205 mortgage companies in 2007 for the study. To top of page

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