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News : Wells Fargo Cutting 1,000 Home Loan Servicing Jobs
Milwaukee, WI, USA, March 25, 2015 -- Wells Fargo & Co. said it is planning to close its home loan servicing operation in Milwaukee this summer, eliminating about 1,000 jobs.
Jim Hines, assistant vice president of consumer lending communications, said the company told employees at the West Parkland Home Lending Servicing center that the office is set to close in late July "due to shifting customer needs and market dynamics."
The West Parkland facility is a call center from which employees help borrowers who have been having trouble making their monthly mortgage payments.
"The group here was relied upon to find solutions for customers to help them avoid a foreclosure sale," Russ Cross, senior vice president and community relations director for Wells Fargo, said in an interview. "They played a key role in helping create modifications for folks. They also got involved in borrower outreach events as well."
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo said that as the economy has improved over the last two years, there have been fewer mortgage delinquencies and less need for the assistance that workers at the West Parkland call center provide.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he was "very upset and extremely disappointed with the company."
"My focus now is on the employees who are affected, and I've directed the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board to assist these individuals in any way possible," Barrett said.
Bank industry analyst Terry McEvoy said it wasn't surprising to see Wells Fargo reduce staffing now that the foreclosure crisis has subsided and banks are focused on controlling and cutting costs as the low-interest rate environment puts pressure on financial institution margins.
"As we unwind and slow down some of the government programs that were put in place to keep people in their homes and work through those challenging times -- combined with just the recovery in the general housing market and mortgage market -- there would be the need for fewer staff to deal with troubled borrowers," said McEvoy, head of bank research for the firm Sterne Agee.
Cross said the company made the announcement now so employees would have time to prepare.
"We wanted to give these team members as much notice as possible because we want to help them in every way possible during the next few months," Cross said.
"The servicing center will continue to operate through the middle of the summer and then the work being done here will go to sites elsewhere that provide the same level of service," Cross said.
Wells Fargo said it would try to let employees know about any job opportunities within Wells Fargo, "and support them as they consider the next phase of their careers."
He said he didn't have compensation information for jobs at the call center.
Reggie Newson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development said his agency, the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board and regional workforce partners are taking steps to assist workers affected by job cuts.
"We are working closely with our partners at the Milwaukee HIRE Center to coordinate assistance that connects affected workers with other potential employers in the finance and insurance industry, which we know is actively seeking qualified talent in Wisconsin," Newson said.
He said the department and its Milwaukee HIRE Center partners will coordinate a variety of services for affected workers, including "rapid response" orientation sessions to explain unemployment insurance benefits, job search assistance and potential job training opportunities.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Wells Fargo:
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified financial services company providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 10,000 Wells Fargo and Wachovia stores, 12,000 Wells Fargo and Wachovia ATMs, the internet and other distribution channels across North America and internationally.
Published: Monday, March 30, 2015