Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) may be Warren Buffett's favorite bank hands down and it may be the safest of the money center and banking giants now. It turns out that if you work for that bank in the mortgage services unit, it might not be the safest bank when it comes to job security. Reports hit late in the day on Wednesday from Bloomberg, CNBC, and other media outlets that Wells Fargo was laying off some 2,300 mortgage related jobs. It turns out that the refinancing boom has been crushed by a 100 to 125 basis point rise in mortgages.
The home-lending unit is based in Des Moines, Iowa and the cuts are being spread out around the nation. Frankly, this is not that surprising when you consider what has happened with interest rates. In fact, refinancings were peaking even before mortgage rates hit a low because those who could refinance had already done so.
It turns out that this will make the total layoffs since July come to roughly 3,000. Wells Fargo is the king of mortgage banking, which means it also has the most to lose in opportunity costs. The bank's total headcount of almost 275,000 workers implies that just over 1% will have been let go. Whether or not more jobs will be terminated if rates keep rising and/or if housing slows is up to you to decide.
Wells Fargo closed down 0.5% at $42.36 against a 52-week range of $31.25 to $44.79.