Declining a decline in the national delinquency rate drove servicers to reduce staff in the second quarter of 2013, according to the Mortgage Employment Index from Mortgage Daily. The biggest casualties were suffered by the largest servicers, while up-and-coming servicers added to their payrolls. The pain is likely to deepen in upcoming quarters.
Mortgage layoffs exceeded hirings by almost 3,000 during the second quarter. The index reflects mortgage-related hirings and layoffs tracked by Mortgage Daily and is based on public company reports, state employment data and quarterly surveys. Second-quarter job losses contrasted the first quarter, when the industry had the biggest expansion in nearly four years.
In the second-quarter 2012, staffing grew by more than 1,300 positions. The most recent period reflected nearly 10,000 layoffs, the most since the first-quarter 2009, and just under 7,000 hirings. Florida fared best in the latest quarter, while the net loss of mortgage jobs in California was the worst of any state.
Nationstar expanded headcount by more than any other firm, followed by Walter Investment Management. Behind the gains was aggressive servicing portfolio growth. Ocwen also rapidly expanded its servicing portfolio but relies primarily on offshore employees. More job losses were experienced by Bank of America than any other company. BofA, the nation's third-biggest servicer, has aggressively been unloading MSRs. Also reducing its mortgage servicing portfolio has been the second-largest servicer Chase.
Initial data on second-half mortgage employment indicate that layoffs are accelerating because of improving loan performance and slowing refinance activity. Both Wells Fargo and Chase recently disclosed thousands of second-half layoffs.