Cowlitz Bank, Longview, Wash., has announced plans to close two offices of its Bay Mortgage division and lay off 32 employees as part of a realignment of the division.Cowlitz said the plans call for closing its offices in Seattle and Bellevue, Wash., while continuing the operation of its mortgage origination business in Longview and Vancouver, Wash., and Portland, Ore. The realignment is aimed at redirecting company resources toward expanding its commercial banking business. "The decline in refinance volume has reduced the profitability of Bay Mortgage as it is currently structured, and the effort required to grow our mortgage market share in Bellevue and Seattle was utilizing an excessive amount of corporate resources," said Rich Fitzpatrick, president and chief executive officer of Cowlitz Bank. The bank also announced that the declining mortgage market is likely to result in an impairment in the fourth quarter of the carrying value of goodwill related to the purchase of Bay Mortgage.

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