The nation's largest residential subprime lender, Ameriquest Capital Corp., trimmed its work force by 10% late Thursday, but excluded two divisions from the cuts: wholesaler Argent Mortgage, and its auto finance division.A company spokesman confirmed the layoffs to MortgageWire, but said at this time it is not quantifying the number of positions eliminated. He said Ameriquest's loan servicing and special servicing platforms are not affected and that "we are not leaving geographic markets in which we currently operate." Ameriquest cited rising interest rates and challenging market conditions as reasons for the layoffs. Based in Orange, Calif., the privately held Ameriquest Capital controls Ameriquest Mortgage, Argent, and other mortgage brands. The company is negotiating a $325 million global settlement with 30-plus states regarding allegations that some of its lending practices were abusive. The settlement is not yet final. The company's founder, Roland Arnell, has been nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. Mr. Arnell recently stepped down as Ameriquest co-chairman, leaving his wife in charge of the company. Ameriquest can be found online at http://www.ameriquest.com.

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