Bear Stearns said today it will merge Bear Stearns Residential Mortgage and Encore Credit into a single unit under the name Bear Stearns Residential Mortgage Corporation (Bear Res). The move will cost 310 employees their jobs, although the investment bank did not specify where the cuts will be located. "We have a powerful mortgage franchise and this combination will allow our account executives better access to the full suite of products Bear Res can now offer," said Tom Marano, Global Head of Mortgages, Rates and Foreign Exchange. "A hallmark of our franchise has been our ability to adapt to changes in the market environment and product demand." Since the beginning of 2007, Bear Stearns has reduced its mortgage origination related workforce by 40 percent. Leading the new combined origination unit will be Jeff Walton, current head of Bear Res who has been appointed CEO, and Shabi Asghar, former head of Encore Credit who has been named President. "Looking ahead, we will soon be expanding our product menu to include Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA loans," added Mr. Marano. "These additions will increase our capabilities and further allow our brokers to select the products that best meet their customers' needs." I think what's interesting to note here is that all of a sudden, everyone's offering Fannie, Freddie and FHA. And I mean everyone.