In the latest of a series of cutbacks triggered by the housing downturn, Countrywide Financial Corp. said Wednesday that it had eliminated 900 jobs.
The announcement came as rumors swirled of far greater staff reductions at Calabasas-based Countrywide, the nation's largest home lender.
In its latest tally for investors, Countrywide said it had 61,586 employees as of July, up from 56,059 a year earlier.
Trade publication National Mortgage News reported this week that Countrywide was considering cutting 7,000 to 10,000 jobs. The company declined to comment on the report.
Countrywide said most of the 900 latest cuts were in loan production, which would include positions such as loan agents and underwriters. Of the jobs eliminated, about 380 were in California, the company said, but it didn't say exactly where. The remainder included 225 in Florida, 150 in Texas and 40 in Arizona.
Last month Countrywide laid off 500 workers at Full Spectrum Lending, a direct-to-consumer business focusing on high-risk sub-prime mortgages, and at a Countrywide unit that worked through independent brokers to make sub-prime loans.
As delinquencies and foreclosures on sub-prime mortgages have soared, lenders have had difficulty getting funding from outside investors for anything but the safest home loans. That lack of liquidity has driven many companies out of business and forced Countrywide last month to borrow $11.5 billion from a group of banks and turn to Bank of America Corp. for a $2-billion investment.
Countrywide disclosed its latest job cuts after the close of regular trading Wednesday, during which its shares fell $1 to $18.81.