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BMO Harris confirms face-to-face mortgage employee layoffs

The bank is consolidating behind a call-center strategy, could eliminate 170 jobs

BMO Harris recently confirmed that it is indeed cutting back its face-to-face mortgage operations with a round of layoffs.

According to a report from The Chicago Tribune, the company still won’t put a number on the amount of jobs it will eliminate, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said it could be 170 jobs based on an internal document it reviewed when the news of the cuts first broke.

BMO Harris cites consumers need for speed and efficiency in the mortgage process as the reason for the cuts, saying that it will readjust its structure to center around a call center strategy.

“People want speed now and fast turnaround,” BMO Harris Spokesman Patrick O’Herlihy said, according to The Tribune.

News of these cuts are all too familiar as banks and mortgage companies around the nation feel the squeeze of a tough season in the mortgage market characterized by low purchase volumes and an ailing refinance market.

Last week, JPMorgan Chase laid off 400 mortgage banking employees, and the day before, Movement Mortgage laid off 180 employees, its third cut of the year.

Wells Fargo, JPMorgan and Citi all posted significant decreases in their mortgage businesses last quarter, a clear sign that the industry is feeling the hurt.

But, there could be good news around the corner. According to Mortgage Bankers Association Associate VP of Industry Surveys and Forecasts Joel Kan, impending changes in macroeconomic factors like wage growth and housing affordability, could give the purchase market a 3% to 4% boost soon.

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