NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Ocwen Financial ( OCN), the fourth-largest collector of U.S. mortgage debt, on Wednesday confirmed a plan to eliminate 844 positions in 2014 as it consolidates following a wave of acquisitions.
Ocwen's growth following the mortgage crisis has been astonishing as it buys up what are known as mortgage servicing rights shed by big banks. Mortgage servicing rights are essentially the right to collect mortgage debt in return for a fee. Ocwen, one of five publicly-traded companies overseen by billionaire Bill Erbey, has a reputation for extreme operating efficiency achieved through technology and outsourcing, chiefly to India.
Unpaid principal on mortgages serviced by Ocwen totaled $50 billion at the end of 2009, $74 billion at the end of 2010 and $102 billion at the end of 2011. As of the end of the third quarter of this year, it totals $434 billion.
All the positions to be eliminated are U.S.-based, and include offices in Fort Washington, Penn., Waterloo, Iowa and Dallas, according to The Inquirer, which reported the layoffs early Wednesday.
A spokeswoman who works for a PR firm outside Ocwen forwarded a company statement that confirmed the job cuts and said 9,456 positions will remain at Ocwen, including 3208 in the U.S. At the end of 2012, Ocwen had 7,641 employees, of which 2,482 were U.S.-based, with an additional 5,097 in India and 62 in Uruguay.
-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.