Fieldstone Investment Corporation (NASDAQ:FICC), one of the nation’s largest subprime mortgage originators, said late Friday after market close that it plans to reduce its number of wholesale operations centers from nine to three and that it will close nine of its smaller retail branch offices. Layoffs will impact 14 percent of the company’s workforce — or roughly 125 employees — Fieldstone officials said in a press statement The lender is currently set to be acquired by scratch-and-dent giant Credit-Based Asset Servicing (C-BASS) is a deal worth $4.00 per share. Fieldstone shares closed at $3.31 on Friday in light trading volume. Company officials did not specify if the reductions were part of the company’s acquisition plan. By continuing to consolidate into fewer, larger operations centers, Fieldstone said that it expects to reduce its operation costs and improve its efficiencies in 2007. The company will continue to maintain a local sales force to serve brokers in the markets in which its wholesale operations centers are closing.
Subject to completion of any necessary legal notices and requirements, company officials said implementation of the consolidation of operations will begin immediately. Fieldstone expects to conclude the consolidations and workforce reductions during the second quarter of 2007, and said it expects to take a pre-tax charge of approximately $550,000 in the first quarter of 2007 related to these consolidations. For more information, visit http://www.fieldstoneinvestment.com.