Countrywide said to start layoffs

Troubled mortgage lender cuts workforce in effort to reduce costs as it faces credit crunch, according to Wall Street Journal.

LONDON ( -- Troubled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. has started laying off employees in an effort to cut costs as it faces a credit crunch, according to a report published Monday.

The Wall Street Journal, citing an internal e-mail sent Friday to employees of Countrywide's Full Spectrum Lending unit, said the company has laid off workers in that division, which handles home loans rated between prime and subprime. The e-mail didn't detail the number of employees laid off, the report said.

Countrywide (Charts, Fortune 500) employs a total of about 61,000 people, and about 6,800 of them worked in sales at Full Spectrum as of June 30, according to the Journal.

Last week Countrywide was forced to tap an $11.5 billion line of credit to as a credit crisis limited its ability to readily access cash.  Top of page