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Ocwen closing residential servicing operations in Houston

Facility was company’s smallest call center in U.S.

Ocwen Financial (OCN) announced Wednesday that after conducting a “strategic review” of its operations, the company is shutting down its residential mortgage servicing operations at its facility in Houston.

In a release, Ocwen said that the decision to close the Houston facility’s residential servicing operations was made to “streamline the number of call center sites, eliminate redundancies, and increase effectiveness” of the company’s servicing operations.

Ocwen said that the Houston facility is the company’s smallest residential servicing call center in the U.S., and the decision to shutter the call center will affect 140 residential servicing employees, whose positions will be eliminated.

Ocwen said that all the impacted employees will have the opportunity to apply for employment at other Ocwen servicing facilities, and notes that the 140 employees whose positions are being eliminated represent less than 5% of the company’s approximately 3,200 employees in the U.S.

“Whenever business decisions cross personal relationships, it is difficult. This decision was especially hard since our Houston employees had a positive influence on the company’s performance,” said Ronald Faris, president and CEO of Ocwen. “We appreciate all the support and dedication these employees have shown over the years.”

Ocwen noted that its commercial servicing unit will continue to operate out of the Houston location and will not be impacted by the closing of the residential servicing operations.

The news of the Houston facility cutbacks comes on the heels of Ocwen selling off agency servicing rights by the truckload, as the company shifts its focus away from agency servicing.

Ocwen recently completed the sale of a $25 billion MSR portfolio to Nationstar Mortgage (NSM), just over a month after agreeing to sell another $9.8 billion portfolio of agency servicing to Nationstar.

Ocwen returned to profitability in the first quarter, reversing a trend that saw it lose $546 million in 2014.

The company reported net income of $34.4 million, or $0.27 per share, for the first quarter of 2015. The company’s first-quarter results were down from the first quarter of 2014, when the company reported net income of $60.5 million, or $0.43 per share.

Despite the improvement on the company’s recent results, Faris said he was not satisfied with the company’s first quarter.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished as far as managing the business through this difficult transition period,” Faris said. “We made great progress on our asset sale strategy, have returned to profitability and continue to generate substantial operating cash flow. However, I am not satisfied with only making $34 million in the quarter. We intend to do better."

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