US: Credit Market

Countrywide Financial to Cut 900 More Jobs

Struggling mortgage lender Countrywide Financial said Wednesday it will cut about 900 more jobs nationwide, primarily from its mortgage production divisions.

The cuts followed the elimination of about 500 positions last month.

The latest layoffs came in response to the troubled housing market and economic conditions, Calabasas, Calif.-based Countrywide said in a statement.

"Countrywide has always aligned its organization to best serve the needs of its customers and reflect the market and economic conditions in which we operate," the statement said.

The company, the largest mortgage lender by volume in the U.S., employs about 60,000 people, with around 34,000 in loan production.

Countrywide has been struggling as the housing slump led to a sharp rise in mortgage defaults and foreclosures, particularly among borrowers with subprime loans.

Like other lenders, Countrywide has tightened its credit guidelines and stopped selling some types of adjustable rate loans.

The latest cuts follow the elimination of about 500 positions from the subprime lending unit of its Wholesale Lending Division and its Full Spectrum Lending unit, which handles mortgages given to customers with minor credit problems or who can't provide full income documentation required for traditional prime loans.

In recent weeks, the company borrowed $11.5 billion and sold a $2 billion stake to Bank of America so it could keep operating its retail banking and mortgage lending businesses.