A refinance rally - not quite a boom - has some mortgage companies looking for a few good people. In fact, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, is looking for about 90 good people. The company is hosting a job fair - the first in more than six years - this afternoon at the Hilton Mall of America in an attempt to fill 90 local mortgage jobs. Most are underwriters, but they're also hiring processors and closers. Peggy Gunn said that the company had cut back its staff when the business contracted, but has since been overwhelmed with refinance and purchase applications. She said that these are permanent jobs.
Wells, along with most mortgage companies, laid off significant numbers of workers when the housing market contracted several years ago. Since then they've coped with mortgage boomlets driven by record low interest rates by shifting resources internally and by contracting with temporary workers. Freddie Mac said this morning that while the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage held steady at 4.22 percent with an average 0.7 points; the 5-year adustable-rate mortgage hit an all-time low, falling for the eighth consecutive week to 2.96 percent. Despite those rock-bottom low rates, the industry doesn't expect to break any production records, many homeowners can't refinance because their mortgage is bigger than their house is worth. And many buyers are having trouble coming up with higher downpayments and meeting more stringent underwriting guidelines.