BMO Harris Bank latest lender to slash mortgage staff

BMO Group CEO Darryl White and a BMO Harris bank (Credit: BMO and Groth Design Group)

BMO Harris is laying off scores of mortgage workers in its bank branches, saying buyers prefer to shop for loans over the phone.

The Chicago-based bank declined to say how many jobs were cut, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put the figure at 170, citing an internal document. The specific locations were also not known.

The bank, which is in talks to anchor a new office tower near Union Station, is moving to a more centralized model that will give customers immediate access to mortgage specialists, a spokesperson told Crain’s.

The job cuts come in the wake of JPMorgan Chase’s announcement it is shedding 400 home-lending jobs nationwide. In August, Wells Fargo said it was laying off 650 mortgage employees.

Parts of the mortgage banking industry have slowed down, attributed to a combination of factors, including rising home prices, a lack of homes on the market, and fewer mortgage delinquencies.

Other factors are competition from nonbank mortgage lenders like Quicken Loans and Chicago-based Guaranteed Rate and rising interest rates. [Crain’s] — John O’Brien

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