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IBM laying off more than 300 workers in RTP

IBM will lay off more than 300 people in Research Triangle Park, according to a notice sent to the state’s Commerce Department.

The jobs, which were part of an IBM subsidiary called Seterus, will be permanently terminated “no earlier than March 11,” according to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification on Jan. 9.

The 310 job cuts come a week after IBM agreed to sell Seterus to the mortgage services company the Mr. Cooper Group.

“IBM has signed a definitive agreement to sell Seterus to Mr. Cooper, Inc., the largest non-bank servicer in the United States. ... As a result, Seterus will permanently cease operations at its facility located at 3039 Cornwallis Road, RTP, North Carolina,” Timothy Humphrey, IBM’s senior state executive for North Carolina, said in the notification letter. “Accordingly, Seterus will be terminating all employees with this work location, 310 employees will be affected.”

An IBM spokesman said the RTP facility was being closed “based on the requirements of the sale.”

In its WARN notice, IBM noted that full-time regular employees were eligible for assistance, including payment and continuing benefits as well as retraining and career counseling.

The Seterus acquisition gave Texas-based Mr. Cooper, formerly named Nationstar, $48 billion in mortgage servicing contracts and subcontracts, according to a news release last week about the sale.

Financial details of the sale were not disclosed by the two companies at the time. Efforts to reach Mr. Cooper were not immediately successful.

IBM originally acquired Seterus more than a decade ago during the financial crisis, when many mortgage loans became distressed.

“IBM acquired Seterus in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to help a client manage a portfolio of distressed loans. We were successful in this mortgage servicing work and the portfolio is now much more stable,” said Jay Bellissimo, IBM’s general manager for cognitive process transformation, in a statement after the sale. “The time is now right to divest this business, which is no longer core to IBM’s portfolio, to a mortgage servicing specialist whose domain expertise and scale can further advance this business.”

Zachery Eanes is the Innovate Raleigh reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He covers technology, startups and main street businesses, biotechnology, and education issues related to those areas.
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