Pasadena, Calif., mortgage lender IndyMac Bank, the principal subsidiary of Indymac Bancorp, plans to hire as many as 850 recently laid-off American Home Mortgage (AHM) Investment Corp. lending professionals. Among the new hires are Ron Bergum and John Johnston, former American Home co-chief executives for retail lending in the West. The move represents the company's anticipation that demand for home loans will rebound.

"While we project that our overall mortgage volumes will be down substantially in the fourth-quarter as we and all lenders have tightened guidelines, our fourth-quarter mortgage banking revenue margins are presently forecasted to increase," said Michael W. Perry, IndyMac's CEO. "That said, while we have significantly staffed up our retail lending platform, which we expect will quickly contribute to profitability, we will need to carefully monitor our overall production volumes to see where they settle in light of mortgage market conditions and ensure that our overall staffing levels are in alignment with our production levels."

According to the lender, it has already added 600 former AHM employees, with retail loan officers making up 75 percent of the new hires. Eighty three percent of the new staff will be located in the Western U.S.

"The addition of 750 to 850 former AHM retail lending professionals provides a strong complement to the acquisition of the retail lending division of New York Mortgage Co. on the East Coast, which we completed in the second-quarter of 2007," commented Frank Sillman, CEO of IndyMac's mortgage bank. "That acquisition added 440 retail lending professionals operating out of 29 branches."

"In addition, we are set to close on the purchase of certain assets of Barrington Capital in Newport Beach, Calif., at the end of August, which will add 90 more retail loan officers operating from six branches in California and Nevada," Sillman added. "These recent moves will bring our total [retail lending group] workforce to almost 1,500 employees, up from 13 one year ago. In this market, we made a prudent trade by cutting out roughly $5 billion per quarter of low margin, alt-A conduit business to make room for growth in higher margin retail business, and we anticipate the total quarterly loan production of the [retail lending group] will reach roughly $1.5 billion by the fourth-quarter of this year."

IndyMac's announcement comes one week after nearly 6,000 people in the mortgage lending industry lost their jobs.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.