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Wells Fargo Home Mortgage considers consolidation


Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the home loan subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Co., said it is considering buying land and consolidating six officess that are scattered through the western suburbs of Des Moines into a single building.   Leases on the buildings, which are located in Des Moines, West Des Moines and Urbandale and total 300,000 square feet, expire over the next two to three years, according to Debora Blume, a communications consultant at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. About 2,300 people work in those offices.

The move would be the latest in a string of consolidations Wells Fargo has been undertaking in recent years. Wells Fargo Financial last year completed a $90 million, 350,000-square-foot building downtown to bring its operations under a single roof.

“In evaluating options, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is carefully considering where our team members live and their access to the site, as well as amenities that are in the area,” Blume said. “Consolidation of team members to a centralized location prepares the company for future growth, addresses space issues and creates a more functional work environment.”

In July 2000, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage moved some of its operations and 1,700 employees to a large building on Westown Parkway between 60th and 74th streets in West Des Moines. The new building was to have housed all of the company’s workers, but falling interest rates for home loans have continued to drive demand for new house purchases or refinancing.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage had outgrown the building before it even moved in, according to Jon Ferchen, a former Wells Fargo spokesman. The company provides funding for about one out of every eight homes that are financed in the United States.

No decision has yet been made on a new building, and company executives are currently studying options on where such a structure should be built, Blume said.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is a unit within Wells Fargo’s Home and Consumer Finance Group, which also includes Wells Fargo Financial, Consumer Credit and Corporate Trust Services.

The home and consumer finance group is growing quickly. It has added 1,000 workers in the last year and currently has 1,300 openings in the Des Moines area for full-time and temporary positions, according to Sue Gifford-Teppen, a recruiting manager at the company.

Wells Fargo plans to hold a job fair later this month to fill as many of these workers as it can. The company is looking for employees with call center or customer service experience and plans to hire workers with a mix of experience levels, Gifford-Teppen said. The average pay of the jobs wasn’t immediately available.

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