First NLC tightening its belt: First NLC, a Friedman Billings, Ramsey Group-owned lender and one of the nation’s 25 largest in the subprime market, is shedding staff in response to the recent downturn in the subprime market….not that layoffs at subprime lenders are, in and of themselves, news these days. The company said in a press statement late Friday that it will be closing of a number of its wholesale operations centers, consolidating operations into its facilities at Deerfield Beach, Florida and Anaheim, California. In true FBR fashion, the company did not specify the number of employees that would be affected by the move, or if the restructuring was part of FBR’s previously-mentioned “exploration of strategic options.” If past experience with company officials is any indication, no further statement will be forthcoming, either — I can only hope the company is more forthcoming with its First NLC employees, many of whom are now facing unemployment. For what it’s worth, industry insiders say FBR has been trying to unload First NLC, but can’t find a buyer willing to pay it’s target price for the subprime platform.
Option One, overpriced: H&R Block won’t be selling Option One any time soon, industry insiders have suggested to Housing Wire over the weekend, after the company said last week it has not yet reached a deal to sell the money-losing subprime lender. Some are suggesting it could be a year or more until the lender is sold, which begs the question: will H&R Block still classify the operation as “discontinued operations” in its next regulatory filing? The company valued Option One at $1.3 billion in its January filing, a price that insiders say is vastly above most of the offers the company has been involved in negotiating…..$500 million, anyone? Round and round: Nobody said these weren’t strange times to be working in the mortgage biz….witness the following: Accredited Home Lenders completes layoffs of numerous employees a few weeks back, and now HW is getting word that the San Diego-based lender is on a talent acquisition binge. We haven’t discussed any of this with officials at the company yet, but if true, I have to wonder if the company is re-hiring any of those it recently told to spend more time surfing….. Latest scuttlebutt heads to Long Beach: Speaking of surfing and beaches, rumors surfaced over the weekend that WaMu-owned Long Beach Mortgage is no longer originating loans and supposedly sent out an email last week informing employees of the halt in fundings. Long Beach isn’t alone in being the subject of this sort of speculation these days, but it is the newest to join the “watch” list, and perhaps the most interesting, given who owns the operation. Is it possible that WaMu has decided that subprime lending is too risky for its deposit-granting appetite? Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments — I’ll look at publishing a few in this space next week.