August 8, 2013

SC business notebookk, August 9

JPMorgan Chase to lay off remaining staff in Florence; JPMorgan investigated for mortgage-backed investments; Obama to sign bill lowering cost of student loans

JPMorgan Chase to lay off remaining staff in Florence

JP Morgan Chase announced Thursday morning it will lay off the remaining employees at its Florence Chase Home Mortgage office. The company said the remaining 450 employees at its mortgage operations would be laid off in the coming year as fewer homeowners struggle to pay their mortgages. This is the most recent round of layoffs at the financial services giant in just over a year’s span. About 600 employees at the Florence office located at 2210 Enterprise Drive were laid off in March. In January, it cut 300 jobs and in July 2012, 30 jobs. The cuts are part of gearing down the financial giant’s mortgage operations in response to a change housing market. The Florence office, like several other Chase mortgage facilities across the country, specializes in mortgage modifications, servicing, defaults and foreclosures. The office does not work with mortgage origination or refinancing. The company said it has held three job fairs in Florence this year to help employees find new jobs.

JPMorgan investigated for mortgage-backed investments

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating JPMorgan Chase over mortgage-backed investments the bank sold in the run-up to the financial crisis. The New York-based bank said in a regulatory filing that it is responding to investigations by the civil and criminal divisions of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of California. In May, the civil division informed JPMorgan that it had “preliminarily concluded” that the bank had violated federal securities laws in connection with certain mortgage-backed investments it sold from 2005 to 2007. A JPMorgan spokeswoman declined to comment. The disclosure is just the latest in a swirl of mortgage-related lawsuits and investigations that have hammered big U.S. banks in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The banks have been accused of improperly foreclosing on homeowners, discriminating against others and knowingly making loans to people who couldn’t afford them.

Obama to sign bill lowering cost of student loans

The White House says President Barack Obama will sign a bill Friday to lower the costs of borrowing for millions of students. The bipartisan bill has been awaiting Obama’s signature since earlier this month, when the House gave it final congressional approval after a drawn-out process to reach a compromise in the Senate. The bill links student loan interest rates to the financial markets. It would offer lower rates for most students now, but higher ones down the line if the economy improves as expected.

Florence Morning News and The Associated Press contributed.

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