Mortgage industry loses more jobs

November 30, 2009
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While mortgage litigation slowed nationwide during the third quarter, layoffs in the industry rose over the same three months. But the last quarter’s job contraction was significantly less than the losses incurred during the third quarter a year ago.

According to MortgageDaily.com, an online site based in Dallas that tracks the mortgage industry, layoffs totaled 5,401 during the recently completed quarter, down by 52 percent from the 11,229 who lost their jobs during the third quarter of 2008.

The good industry news was that companies also hired 4,691 workers during the third quarter, which compares very favorably to the 996 that were hired in the third quarter of 2008. Most of the recent jobs were added in service staffs and default service providers.

Mixing the job losses and gains, the industry lost 710 jobs during the third quarter. For the same three months a year ago, mortgage employment fell by 10,233 jobs.

Missouri, Texas and Louisiana gained the most jobs: 700, 478 and 250, respectively. Florida (1,355), Washington (824) and New Jersey (179) lost the most during the third quarter.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that employment in the mortgage industry totaled 265,500 in June, but dropped to 259,300 at the end of September.

As for mortgage litigation, total active cases fell from 125 nationwide at the end of this year’s second quarter to 76 during the third quarter, for a three-month fall of 39 percent. The biggest drops occurred in investor and foreclosure cases; both dropped by more than 60 percent. A rising stock market was being touted as the main reason investor cases were fewer.

“I am not surprised to see a decline in mortgage-backed and investor litigation as the number of deals remaining to be resolved decreases,” said Patrick McManemin, a partner with the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Patton Boggs LLP, which issued the report with MortgageDaily.com, in a release.

McManemin added that the industry had to be conscious of the risks affecting its products and services.

“For example, we are seeing more courts addressing title and foreclosure issues that signal an increased focus on technical aspects of negotiable instruments and ownership of a lien,” he said.

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