is closing its E*Trade Financial Center in Manhattan, the online brokerage's glitzy facility that opened in April 2001, a year after the bull market was laid to rest.
The California-based brokerage announced the closing as part of a $120 million restructuring plan that it anticipates will save up to $50 million a year in expenses.
The restructuring was announced late Tuesday at the same time E*Trade said it earned $21 million in the first quarter, or 6 cents a share. A year ago, the brokerage recorded a $270 million loss, or a loss of 78 cents a share.
On an operating basis, which excludes certain charges and is the method that most analysts use to measure the company's performance, E*Trade earned $34 million, or 10 cents a share. That matched the Thomson Financial First Call consensus estimate.
Total net revenue, however, declined by 2% to $322 million from the year-ago period. Much of that slide can be attributed E*Trade's online brokerage business, which posted a 21% slump in net brokerage revenue. However, the company's fast-growing E*Trade Bank almost offset all of the brokerage operation's slippage. The online bank recorded $145 million in net revenues, a 35% gain over last year.
E*Trade shares closed Tuesday at $4.48, up 13 cents, or 3%. The stock has traded between $4 and $5 a share for months and remains well off its all-time high of roughly $70 a share.
In other after-the-bell financial news,
, the nation's biggest thrift and one of the largest mortgage lenders, said it earned $1 billion, or $1.07 per diluted share, in the quarter, compared with $956 million, or 99 cents a share, a year earlier. The consensus estimate had been for the Seattle-based bank to earn $1.04 a share.
But the big news was the E*Trade restructuring plan, which goes some way to undo the lavish excesses of E*Trade's former chief executive, Christos Cotsakos.
Nothing may have typified that more than E*Trade Financial, a four-story complex on Manhattan's swanky Madison Avenue. When it opened, critics likened it to a monument to a bygone era because it glorified fast-pace online trading at a time no one -- especially E*Trade's own customers -- wanted to trade stocks.
The brokerage also plans to discontinue several "unprofitable product lines," including E*Trade Financial Advisor -- a tax advising service that the brokerage had launched with the audit firm Ernst & Young.
E*Trade said it intends to take a restructuring charge of 20 cents a share over the next two quarters.
"The plan is designed to enhance short, intermediate and long-term profit performance," said Jarrett Lilien, the firm's president and chief operating officer. "These savings better position the company for continued sluggish economic conditions and create additional operating leverage when the markets return."