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Countrywide Committed to Texas Jobs Despite Layoffs

Countrywide assured state officials Thursday that it still plans to meet the job creation goals set forth as part of a Texas Enterprise Fund grant, despite all the recent layoffs and turmoil in the mortgage industry.

In 2004, Countrywide received a hefty $20 million grant after pledging to create 7,500 new jobs in the state of Texas by 2010.

But with almost a fifth of Countrywide’s work force residing in Texas, questions were raised regarding whether employment targets would still be met as planned after the lender announced 12,000 layoffs earlier this summer.

Yesterday, Chief Executive Mozilo issued a statement, saying, “Countrywide has far exceeded the interim annual targets under our agreement with the Texas Enterprise Fund, already creating great economic benefits to individual workers, other businesses, and state and local governments.”

“At this point, we remain confident that we will meet the ultimate goal, as well, and the tremendously positive effects from this grant will be long-lasting.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s office has acknowledged that Countrywide is honoring its agreement, and affirmed that with a statement.

“Despite the fluctuations in the mortgage market we are pleased to know that Countrywide maintains Texas is one of the best states in the nation to do business,” said Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle.

Countrywide said it had created 4,530 net new jobs in Texas in 2005 and 2006, exceeding its target for those two years, as well as its third year target of 4,000 jobs by January 2008, including layoffs and attrition.

The top U.S. mortgage lender also believes it will meet the target of 7,500 new jobs in the state by 2010, though if it falls short, will likely forfeit or pay back some portion of the grant.

Many analysts expect Countrywide to shed as many as 20,000 workers, which could make it increasingly difficult for the lender to meet employment goals in Texas, while also treating employees impartially in other states.

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