Amidst the turmoil going on in the mortgage markets, here's a bit of news you may not have expected to hear: Some lenders are hiring.
Countrywide Financial Corp. and IndyMac Bancorp are both recruiting loan officers who recently lost their jobs at newly bankrupt American Home Mortgage Investment. A spokesperson for Countrywide told The Wall Street Journal the firm has hired more than 200, while IndyMac said it plans to hire several hundred. Overall, Countrywide hired more than 1,100 employees in July.
The hiring as some observers asking questions. CNBC's Diana Olick wonders, "Wouldn't you think these folks might want to tighten up a bit in these tight times?" Maybe. But the Journal says Countrywide is building up its direct, retail lending operation, a more stable operation than those making loans through brokers or buying them from smaller mortgage banks. In which case, Countrywide's move could be a sign of larger lenders positioning themselves to do business on a new mortgage landscape.
Meantime, smaller lenders continue to get hammered, and brokers are having to cope with lenders who are changing their guidelines and, as Countrywide seems to be doing, focusing more loan origination on their own employees.