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H&R Plans Job Cuts

Option One gets a restructuring.

H&R Block

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said Thursday that it would cut 615 jobs at its Option One Mortgage operation.

The Kansas City, Mo., tax preparer said in a

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Securities and Exchange Commission

filing that the staff reductions come as Option One seeks "to reduce costs and improve operating efficiencies in response to reduced mortgage loan origination volumes and current secondary market pricing levels."

H&R Block agreed last month to sell Option One to Cerberus Capital for "the value of tangible net assets of the business" at closing, minus $300 million.

H&R had earlier hoped to get something approaching book value for Option One, but the Irvine, Calif., subprime lender has been struggling as the market for loans to homebuyers with poor credit histories has collapsed. Both the deal and the restructuring are supposed to close later this year.

H&R Block said it will take $19 million in charges tied to the move.