As home loans slump, more layoffs at PHH

UPDATED with company confirmation: PHH Corp. is cutting 130 managers and loan processors at its Mount Laurel home loan servicing center, and hundreds of jobs at sites in Jacksonville and elsewhere. The layoffs, in addition to larger job cuts in late 2013, leave about 2,000 employees at its Burlington County offices, down from around 5,000 under the operation's previous owner, Cendant Corp., in the 2000s.

PHH chief executive Glen Messina, in his quarterly conference call with investors Feb. 12, cited Mortgage Bankers of America data in predicting new home loans would fall one-third this year, to the lowest level since 2000. Also, loans are less profitable, he added. He promised "decisive action to reengineer PHH Mortgage to offset the challenging market conditions," including "at least" $110 million in expense cuts (corrected).

Messina also said the company is "evaluating" a possible sale of either the mortgage business, based in Mount Laurel, or its leasing business, based in Baltimore, or both. The company plans to decide by this summer.

"We're adjusting our capacity in line with industrywide demand," as are other home lenders, company spokesman Dico Akseraylian told me.