Wells Fargo Cuts 356 Jobs, 34 In Minneapolis

About 10 percent of Wells Fargo’s recent home mortgage division job cuts took place in Minnesota, where the bank is the state’s eighth-largest employer.

Wells Fargo & Company is cutting 356 positions from its home mortgage division nationwide, 34 of which are being eliminated in Minneapolis, according to the Star Tribune.

The San Francisco-based company is Minnesota’s eighth-largest employer with about 20,000 people working throughout the state, 8,500 of whom work in the company’s home mortgage division, according to the Minneapolis newspaper.

The company’s home mortgage division has been hit hard recently as fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averages have been on the rise. The 30-year FRM increased to 4.37 percent by the end of last week, compared to 3.53 percent in July 2012. And the 15-year FRM averaged 3.41 percent, compared to 2.83 percent a year ago, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.

A portion of the FRM increase occurred during Wells Fargo’s second-quarter, in which it saw its mortgage banking profits drop 3 percent.

In addition to the Minneapolis cuts, 58 jobs were trimmed in Des Moines, Iowa, where the bank’s home mortgage division is based. The affected employees were notified last week, according to the Star Tribune.
 
A Wells Fargo spokeswoman, Vickee Adams, told the Star Tribune Monday that mortgage rates remain low by historical standards, but mortgage refinancing has still slowed compared to last year.

“After evaluating the current market and our business needs, we are reducing staff to better align and increase the efficiency of our loan processing centers,” Adams told the newspaper.

Wells Fargo is trying to find alternative positions for the affected employees within the company, Adams added.

Despite the staffing cuts, the Star Tribune reported that the company is still building up its mortgage operation, expanding its mortgage campus in Des Moines with a $100 million addition, which could hold about 1,800 workers once it is completed in two years.

While Wells Fargo is trimming some local jobs, the company may be poised to serve as the anchor tenant of two proposed 20-story office towers, which have been pitched as part of a larger $400 million downtown Minneapolis redevelopment project.
 
Wells Fargo was also recently named the “Most Generous” company in the country based on its charitable donations last year, which totaled about $31.6 million.