San Diego-based mortgage company Accredited Home Lenders announced today it would cut its staff by nearly 62 percent and close much of its operations, including 60 branches.

From a company statement, comments from James Konrath, chairman and chief executive officer:

These difficult decisions were made out of necessity in light of the continued and widely publicized turbulence in the mortgage and financial markets, but with a heavy heart.

Accredited focuses on subprime loans, loans to consumers with poor or weak credit histories. But this Reuters story said it stood out from the pack of mortgage companies who’ve gone bust in recent months:

Analysts have said Accredited’s underwriting standards were more prudent than those of many rivals. The company said it made $15.8 billion worth of home loans last year.

Forbes called the announcement a hibernation for Accredited:

By shrinking down and pulling back on originations, Accredited hopes to return to the subprime business when the market recovers. Because Accredited does not originate “conforming loans,” or loans that are eligible to be purchased by the government-backed Fannie Mae … and Freddie Mac … the subprime market must return if the company hopes to rebound. For now, Accredited remains optimistic, even as its peers teeter towards bankruptcy.

KELLY BENNETT

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