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Bank job cuts include Ohio mortgage positions

Big banks are cutting mortgage jobs nationally as the volume of home loan activity slows. Job cuts have come to include several hundred positions in Ohio, home to three major regional banks and other back-office service centers for the country’s largest financial institutions.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s largest operations outside of its New York headquarters are in Columbus. Last Thursday, the nation’s largest bank told workers it would cut 300 jobs in central Ohio.

JPMorgan Chase previously announced in February plans to cut a net 17,000 jobs nationally by the end of 2014, including 13,000 to 15,000 jobs in the bank’s mortgage business.

“We are responding to our customers’ changing needs. Fewer homeowners are struggling with their mortgages and many people have already refinanced, taking advantage of the stronger economy and historically low rates. We will work with affected employees to find openings at Chase or other local companies,” said Chase spokeswoman Emily Smith in a written statement.

Chase has approximately 23,000 employees in Ohio, the state’s seventh largest employer overall. The bank currently has more than 400 Ohio job openings in other areas.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage also announced last week it’s eliminating 68 jobs in West Chester Twp., part of a total 763 jobs being cut nationwide in mortgage, according to a company statement.

Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp told this newspaper Monday it has made “limited reductions” in its mortgage staff. A specific number was not provided. However, the cuts were not enough to require the company to file a notice ahead of any pending layoffs under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

Under the WARN Act, large businesses have to notify the state in advance of layoffs of 50 or more employees at a time at a single site.

Fifth Third’s largest single site for mortgage operations is at the bank’s Madisonville office building in Hamilton County, said spokesman Larry Magnesen.

“With the recent decline in mortgage refinances, especially coming after a period of record activity, that has prompted a review and then subsequently limited reductions,” Magnesen said.

PNC Mortgage has one of two U.S. mortgage servicing centers in Miami Twp., in Montgomery County, said Marcey Zwiebel, spokeswoman for Pittsburgh, Penn.-based PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

“PNC considers its (Miami Twp.) operations an important part of mortgage business, and we are monitoring and managing our capacity there as we always do,” she said. “We have not announced anything and we don’t speculate about potential future developments.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts home loan originations including interest rate refinances and purchases of new homes to drop nearly 40 percent in the second half of 2013. Delinquency rates have dropped to their lowest levels nationally since mid-2008, the trade group said.

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