Wells Looks to Expand Servicing, Loss Mit Staff

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage said this week that it will look to add up to 200 employees in its San Antonio customer service operations center, with many of the positions in loss mitigation roles designed to work with troubled borrowers. The bank will be looking to hire full-time positions in both loan-application processing and default/borrower retention at a job fair scheduled for June 4, according to a local press report in the San Antonio Business Journal. A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) told local press officials that the bank was looking expand its recently-acquired operations center in San Antonio from Wachovia Bank, which Wells Fargo acquired late last year as the bank faltered under the weight of pay-option ARMs. The move to expand comes as Wells Fargo, like many lenders and servicers, is seeing the number of bad loans on its books continue to mushroom upward. The bank posted quarterly net income of $3 billion during the first quarter of 2009, but absorbed $3.3 billion in charge-offs on bad loans and $4.6 billion in loss provision expense for loans it expects to go bad in the near future. Wells Fargo is neck-and-neck with fellow banking behemoth Bank of America Corp. (BAC) in a race for dominance in a vastly changed U.S. mortgage landscape. For its part, Wells saw $175 billion in loans, mortgage originations and mortgage securities purchases in the first quarter, along with $190 billion in mortgage applications from more than 800,000 prospective borrowers. The company also touted more than 150,000 “mortgage solutions” in the quarter, in its first quarter earnings summary. Write to Paul Jackson.

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