....they first make mad.

If there is one market that should not be hiring anyone at the moment, then it is the mortgage market. However, as some firms are firing, some are hiring. Wells Fargo and Countrywide are offering jobs. Why? Because they think they can clean up as other weaker firms go under.

Perhaps someone should gently call their human resource departments and ask them to take a look at the housing sector.

(MSNBC) Subprime mortgage lending's deep freeze has sent a chill over the rest of the mortgage industry as layoffs spread to those who lend to the more creditworthy. But even as smaller players shed staff, the industry's largest players such as Wells Fargo and Countrywide Financial are stepping up their hiring as they seek to grab marketshare amid the carnage.

Wells has two dozen mortgage-related openings in the Bay Area alone. And Countrywide said it will hire 2,000 sales people this year as part of a plan to open 100 branches around the country.

But others are quietly cutting staff to cope with the slowdown as fewer mortgages are made due to tighter lending standards and fewer home sales and refinancings.

GreenPoint Mortgage, a unit of Richmond, Va.-based Capital One, laid off 70 employees, including nine at the company's Novato headquarters. About 20 percent of GreenPoint's 2,800 employees works in Marin County. The company makes so-called "Alt A" mortgages, which go to borrowers that fall between prime and subprime. A big part of GreenPoint's business is making jumbo loans, those that exceed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's loan limit of $417,000. Coastal California is a big market for jumbo mortgages.

Another broker hard hit by the downturn is Lending Tree, which funnels loan applications to lenders across the nation. The Charlotte, N.C., company said this month it will lay off 440 workers, or 20 percent of its staff.