About 500 Bank of America mortgage employees learned this week they soon will no longer have a job.

Rising interest rates and declining volumes of refinanced loans prompted the layoffs, which were announced to employees Tuesday. The bank had bulked up its staffing last summer in response to increased demand for mortgages, but had not yet scaled back those levels as other lenders have, spokeswoman Julie Davis said today.

“What we’re doing is just bringing our staffing back in line with a more normalized environment, which we haven’t seen for awhile,” Davis said.

The layoffs affect the bank’s loan processing employees, and are spread out throughout the bank’s 18-20 processing centers around the country, Davis said.

Of the total, about 200 work at the bank’s St. Louis processing center, which will be the only processing center closed, she said. Another 90 work at the Wichita, Kan., processing center, and the remainder work at other locations across the nation, she said.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank currently has slightly more than 13,000 consumer real estate employees, Davis said. About a year ago, it had 12,000 employees. The additional employees had been added in various departments, not just loan processing, she said.

Unlike other lenders, the bank didn’t lay off mortgage employees at the beginning of this year when interest rates rose, she said. When rates dipped again, “we were fortunate to have that additional staff,” Davis said. Now, however, rates seem to show no signs of dropping again and refinance volumes have dropped off because of that, she said.

The bank’s mortgage business remains strong overall, however, she said.

End dates for the laid off employees vary from mid to late June to the end of July, she said.

***

Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to samantha@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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