Countrywide Financial Corp., is contemplating slashing its work force by 7,000 to 10,000 workers, according to industry officials close to the situation.If the job cuts become reality, it would be one of the largest layoffs in mortgage history -- outside of a bankruptcy filing. (The nation's largest lender employs about 60,000.) The company is also planning to take a multimillion-dollar writedown on its "held for sale" portfolio of mortgages, one source said. A company spokesman would not comment on specifics, but said the company has "always aligned its organization to best serve the needs of its customers and reflect the market and economic conditions in which we operate." He added that, "While as a matter of policy we don't comment on speculation, any changes to the Countrywide organization will reflect our ongoing strategy to align our business to the marketplace. The company's organizational strategy throughout this year has been consistent with that approach." Countrywide can be found online at http://www.countrywide.com.

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