Long Beach Mortgage Winding Down

Looks like Washington Mutual is making plenty of moves amid the current mortgage downturn. After news broke earlier this week that it would shutter its warehouse operation, the Orange County Register reports that Long Beach Mortgage — which drove WaMu into the subprime spotlight during the recent housing boom — is winding down. The moves will cost roughly 1,000 WaMu employees their jobs, according to numerous published press reports, although WaMu also said it intends to hire 1,000 retail loan officers as it shifts its focus towards retail originations. Reuters reports that the job cuts crossed numerous business areas:

Among the cuts will be 340 workers in loan centers in San Antonio, Texas; Anaheim, California; and San Diego, along with 210 capital markets workers and 75 subprime lending employees, the thrift said.

The sizable layoffs in capital markets stands out to me, because it underscores a fundamental shift in the long-term outlook for the mortgage business. I’d expect WaMu isn’t alone on this.

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