Per National Mortgage News, Countrywide Financial is considering a move that would literally shake the mortgage and financial markets — a layoff of 7,000 to 10,000 workers. Such a move would be the largest mass layoff in mortgage industry history outside of a bankruptcy filing, the publication reported. Countrywide currently employs roughly 60,000. NMN also reported that the company is preparing to take a multimillion-dollar writedown on its held-for-sale portfolio, citing unidentified sources. The writedown issue doesn’t strike me as all that surprising, given where the secondary markets have been as of late — but the mere mention of layoffs on this sort of scale should send a shiver down your spine if you work in the mortgage industry. Update: BusinessWeek corroborates the layoff story, and also says Countrywide is hot on the campaign trail for yet even more investment dollars (hat tip, Bill Coppedge — one of those caught up in the current market turmoil).

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