Santander Bank NA, the U.S. arm of Spain-based multinational lender Banco Santander, will lay off 66 staff at its Villanova mortgage offices this fall, the bank told the Pennsylvania Department of Labor in a federally required WARN Act notice.
The staff include workers who process loans that the bank buys from loan brokers, one of many bank lending businesses whose profitability has declined as interest rates fall toward near-record lows.
Santander is also a major mortgage lender in suburban Philadelphia, and the bank’s own home purchase and refinance loans are not expected to be affected by the staff cuts.
Lending typically rises when interest rates - the cost of borrowing - decline and homeowners refinance their loans to save money or seek to buy more expensive homes they find affordable with cheaper financing.
But low rates can also be a signal of weak demand.