Christine Lee, Irving Reporter
MetLife Bank says it will lay off hundreds of people in the coming months.
News of major layoffs at the Irving branch of a bank came as a disappointment to city leaders.
MetLife Home Loans, the residential mortgage division of Metlife Bank, N.A., announced Tuesday that it was exiting the business of originating forward residential mortgages.
The company said it would lay off 860 people at its Irving office in the coming months.
"In that industry, it's not such a surprise, but we were disheartened to hear that they were going to be laying off people in Irving, absolutely," Mayor Beth Van Duyne said.
Metlife spokesman John Calagna said 60-day notices would be given out over the next several months.
Calagna said the Irving branch, which employs 1,400 people, would remain open. The remaining employees will continue to sell and service reverse mortgages, as well as service all existing mortgages, he said.
Chris Wallace, president and CEO of the city's Chamber of Commerce, said other Irving companies have already reached out.
"As a matter of fact, we had a few call this morning that said, 'I heard the news last night' [and] gave us a contact, because they want to look at hiring those employees," he said.
The city of Irving got more bad news on Wednesday.
Hostess Brands, the Irving-based maker of Twinkies and other baked goods, filed for Chapter 11.
The privately held company has 55 employees at its Irving headquarters.
Although no announcements were made about any possible layoffs, the company will be reorganizing.
"The city of Irving is fortunate that 75 percent of our tax base is based on businesses," Van Duyne said.
She said the city has an aggressive economic development strategy.
Irving has more than 8,000 companies, including a handful of Fortune 500 companies. While the diversified industry base may prevent the bankruptcy and layoffs from being severe as they could be, the city needs to be diligent going forward, the mayor said.
"Right now, we've got various cases in front of our City Council and our agenda of spending a lot of taxpayer money and of increasing the debt in our city," Van Duyne said. "And I really do think this is a wake-up call that we just really can't continue to spend like we have in the past."