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3rd Qtr 5:05

Bank of America cutting thousands of mortgage jobs

Bank of America is cutting about 4,200 jobs as it responds to changes in the housing market, echoing moves by other banks.

The country’s second-largest bank laid off 1,200 employees this week, primarily from a unit that handles mortgage origination, company spokesman Terry Francisco said. He said the move is a response to a ‘‘significant’’ drop in refinancing applications that has occurred since the middle of this year.

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The bank is closing an office in Taunton and is expected to lay off 66 employees there by the end of this month.

The Taunton cuts were part of a similar but prior round of layoffs in the bank’s mortgage loan business, said Jumana Bauwens, a spokeswoman.

Bauwens declined to say whether the new round of cuts would affect any Massachusetts workers.

By the end of the year, Bank of America plans to cut another 3,000 jobs. The bulk of those will be in its unit that handles troubled mortgages, such as foreclosures or loan modifications, as the economic recovery has eased the number of borrowers in distress.

Francisco said that many of the cuts affect contractors who were hired during peak demand. The bank declined to specify where in the country the job cuts would occur.

The company has been cutting jobs since chief executive Brian Moynihan took over in early 2010 as part of a broader strategy to make the bank easier to manage and to reduce exposure to riskier businesses.

Its total full-time employee base had shrunk to 247,943 as of the end of its most recent quarter, down 9 percent from 272,594 at the same time last year. This includes a number of recent reductions in the same distressed borrower unit that faces cuts just ahead.

The banking job cuts go well beyond Bank of America.

The economic recovery, though plodding, has lessened the number of troubled mortgages nationwide.

Meanwhile, the improving economy and lower interest rates boosted demand during the spring and summer home buying season. But that activity, along with refinancing, is slowing as interest rates rise.

A number of lenders have slashed jobs in response to the changing market.

Wells Fargo said last month that it would cut about 1,800 mortgage-related positions — after cutting about 2,300 jobs from the same unit in August.

Citigroup said in September that it is slashing about 1,000 jobs in Nevada and Texas, citing decreased demand for home loans and mortgage refinancing.

And SunTrust Banks Inc. said last week it will cut 800 positions in its mortgage business based on current market conditions.

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