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Hundreds laid off at Ocwen in Waterloo

Hundreds laid off at Ocwen in Waterloo

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WATERLOO | Numerous recent acquisitions prompted Ocwen Financial Corp. to issue layoff notices Tuesday to more than 800 workers nationwide,  including 238 at the former GMAC Mortgage operation in Waterloo.

Before the move, and a decision to combine two offices in Texas, Waterloo was Ocwen’s largest location. Now it’s the company's second-largest location.

Ocwen Financial Corp. is an Atlanta-based mortgage servicer that bought GMAC Mortgage last year.

The layoffs, staggered through the first quarter of 2014, will leave 629 employees still working at Ocwen’s Waterloo operation at 3451 Hammond Ave., said Rick Gillespie, Ocwen’s Mount Laurel, N.J.-based vice president of marketing.

Charles Hoecker, senior vice president and the company’s highest-ranking employee in Waterloo, deferred comment to Gillespie.

Ocwen did not file advanced notice of the layoff under the federal government's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act,  according to Iowa Workforce Development spokeswoman Kerry Koonce.

WARN is designed to "(protect) workers, their families and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs," according to the U.S. Department of Labor's website.

Most of the other layoffs occurred at two other locations: Fort Washington, Pa., which will lose 244 workers, and Dallas, which will lose 237 workers.

“It’s pretty much across all levels of the organization, primarily, when you look at other layoffs in other locations,” said Gillespie.

The cutbacks primarily affected workers in mortgage servicing jobs in a range of seniority levels, Gillespie said. They are a result of recent Ocwen acquisitions, including the October 2012 purchase of GMAC Mortgage from bankrupt mortgage company Residential Capital LLC.

In January, around the time the ResCap purchase closed, 40 GMAC employees in Waterloo got pink slips.

The latest round of layoffs came after long discussions led to a decision to consolidate positions, Gillespie said.

“Pretty much throughout this year, Ocwen has been working to combine multiple servicing portfolios as a result of multiple acquisitions, including GMAC ResCap,” Gillespie said.

“We’ve stated our focus has really been to continue to provide good value to homeowner customers on mortgages," Gillespie said, especially those in financial distress. "Unfortunately, when you have that many acquisitions, there are some redundancies.”

In addition to GMAC ResCap, Ocwen also acquired Dallas-based Homeward Residential Inc. at the end of 2012; Rancho Cordova, Calif.-based reverse-mortgage lender Liberty Home Equity Solutions Inc. last summer; and Pasadena, Calif.-based OneWest Bank, which recently closed, Gillespie said.

Waterloo remains a key part of Ocwen’s structure, Gillespie said.

“It’s still an important operation for us, but tough decisions are part of any consolidation,” he said.


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