Bankers Begin Tentative Expansion of Staffs to Handle Rising Volume

Article excerpt

It's a home lending boomlet, all right. Some mortgage companies have begun to add to their staffs - albeit just slightly - to help handle rising loan applications.

As 30-year mortgage rates have dipped below 8%, refinancing activity has perked up. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, applications for refinancings have risen 85% during the past four weeks.

Temporary employment companies have seen requests for people increase 10% to 25% during the last month. And if interest rates remain low, job placement executives say, employment will continue to rise.

"To me, it is the real beginnings of a small boom," said Amy Norton, president and chief executive of Mortgage Bankers' Consultants, a Dallas employment agency.

Requests for short-term home loan employees have climbed 13% at Mortgage Bankers' Consultants since the first quarter. And Ms. Norton said she expects 17% more job openings for temporary mortgage staffers by the end of this month.

Most of the hiring has been for processing, she said.

Mellon Mortgage Co., Houston, for example, has hired about a dozen temporary employees in the last couple of weeks. The lender has 1,400 employees.

A spokeswoman said that executives at Mellon Mortgage branches were beginning to request additional help to handle increased loan application volume. …