Wingspan furloughs Florida employees

Company admits it's just part of the mortgage servicing business

Two days ago, reports surfaced that Wingspan Portfolio Advisors laid off a number of employees at its Monroe, Louisiana, customer service center last week, but it appears that Wingspan's Monroe employees weren’t the only ones who recently received bad news from the company.

Sources tell HousingWire that Wingspan also laid off dozens of employees at its Melbourne, Florida, location last week. As with the Monroe layoffs, the Melbourne employees were reportedly told they were being “furloughed” by the company and could potentially rehired if Wingspan acquires more business.

When contacted about the layoffs, Wingspan Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Industry Relations Guy Davis told HousingWire in an email that the company “remains committed” to its presence in Melbourne.

“It is in the nature of our work with large financial institutions to wrap up specific contracts for services and to have brief periods of time before new contracts begin,” Davis said in his email.

“Last week, a number of employees were impacted at our Melbourne location,” Davis continued. “Wingspan continues to focus on servicing our existing clients and new clients, and we are committed to the Melbourne location for key growth, and use of top talent in the mortgage, banking, customer service and default servicing industries.”

Wingspan acquired the Melbourne location in February 2013, when it purchased the JPMorgan Chase’s (JPM) mortgage servicing operations center.

At the time, Wingspan said that it would offer positions to the more than 400 Chase employees that staffed the Melbourne location. In the deal, Wingspan also acquired the lease of the Chase office building.

"This is big news for us and we see it as indicative of where our industry is headed," Wingspan CEO and President Steven Horne said at the time. "We are now fully equipped to meet the needs of clients as they downsize the scale of their default servicing operations."

The details of the Melbourne location acquisition were very similar to the acquisition of the Monroe location, which Wingspan also acquired from JPMorgan in September 2013. At the time, Wingspan also offered positions to the 400 employees that staffed the Monroe location.

The company also promised to bring 500 additional jobs to the location in the next ten years. But according to the initial report from The News-Star in Monroe, Wingspan’s Monroe workforce was down to less than 100 after the recent round of layoffs.

In May 2013, Wingspan said that it was planning to expand its Florida operations and centralize its Florida workers in the Melbourne location. “Having the working groups together in our facilities brings a missing component to the mortgage processing and underwriting value proposition," Wingspan Senior Vice President Jim Gallagher said at the time.

“With the expansion into Florida, we’ve developed a strategic reserve that allows us to deploy 30 to 35 highly experienced people within 30 days, if required, for multiple clients," Gallagher added.

Just three months ago, Wingspan said it was looking to “significantly” expand its Melbourne presence again.

In July, Wingspan announced that it had open positions in Melbourne and was looking for employees with experience in customer service/call centers, mortgage underwriting, originations, collections, mortgage bankruptcy, loss mitigation, loan modifications, foreclosure and default escalations.

“We’re looking for professionals experienced in several aspects of our business to join Wingspan’s dedicated team in Melbourne,” Wingspan’s Executive Vice President of National Operations Jason Spooner said in July. “We welcome all qualified applicants to come and learn about the exciting opportunities with Wingspan Portfolio Advisors.”

But just three months later, Wingspan has reportedly laid off dozens of employees in Melbourne. “It appears Wingspan does not care for their employees, families nor the community as they also did not inform Brevard County workforce of the layoffs,” one former Wingspan employee told HousingWire.

The former employee, who wished to remain anonymous, also told HousingWire that Wingspan created a hostile work environment in Melbourne, which caused clients to abandon the extension of their contracts, leading to the layoffs.

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