Mortgage sector hiring again – but not yet stemming losses

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While there’s good, even if surprising, news from the mortgage employment sector – that hiring has shot up – persistent layoffs are outnumbered hirings, leaving a net job loss in the sector, according to

Mortgage layoffs exceeded hiring by 1,751 during the first quarter, improving from a net loss of 7,783 positions in the prior period and a 14,205 deficit a year earlier, according to the company’s first-quarter employment analysis.

First-quarter mortgage-related layoffs totaled 10,628. Layoffs at New York-based HSBC, which shut down its consumer finance operations, exceeded 5,000 – the most of any company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. was next, then Citigroup Inc. By state, Illinois saw the highest level of job cuts, followed by California and Florida.

Colorado, so far, remains stable, showing no measureable increase or decrease in hiring through the first quarter.

Rocky Mountain Bank & Trust President Tom Havens said his company has seen a definite increase in mortgage activity, but will not hire new loan personnel until he knows current trends will continue.

“We don’t want to hire and then have to layoff,” he said. “For now our current employees, in some cases, working overtime.”

One Colorado Springs Wells Fargo Home Mortgage employee who asked not to be quoted simply referred the CSBJ to the company’s Denver office, adding, “Yeah, we’re very busy with refinances and new loans – I don’t have time to talk.”