Wells Fargo lays off more than 600 mortgage workers

A Wells Fargo banking location is pictured in Pasadena, California, U.S., September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

(Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co WFC.N is laying off more than 600 workers as it grapples with a slowdown in its mortgage business, a bank spokesman said on Friday.

The fourth-largest U.S. bank has given 60 days notice to 638 mortgage employees across the country, Wells Fargo spokesman Tom Goyda said in an emailed statement, with cuts concentrated in Orlando, Florida; Ranch Cordova, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

“After carefully evaluating market conditions and consumer needs, we are reducing to better align with current volumes,” Goyda said.

Wells Fargo has been making sporadic cuts to its mortgage workforce as part of a bid to rein in costs. These layoffs are the largest so far this year.

The home lending business has struggled as rising interest rates hurt refinancing demand. Wells Fargo’s mortgage banking income fell 33 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier.

The latest cuts were mainly to retail fulfillment and servicing jobs, Goyda said, reflecting a continued slump in application volumes.

Analysts have said such moves address overcapacity and will improve the bank’s efficiency.

Wells Fargo has vowed to cut $4 billion in costs by 2020 in order to grow profits as it operates under a punitive asset cap levied by the Federal Reserve.

The Orlando Sentinel reported the layoffs on Thursday.

Reporting by Imani Moise; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli