Webster Financial Corp., Waterbury, Conn., has reported preliminary information on its fourth-quarter earnings results, including charges related to the discontinuation of its national wholesale mortgage business. Webster said it has recorded $3.5 million in pretax severance and other costs related to the closure of its wholesale lending offices in Seattle, Phoenix, Chicago, and Cheshire, Conn. Its remaining mortgage operations in Cheshire will focus solely on direct-to-consumer retail originations, the company said. Webster had previously announced the discontinuation of indirect residential construction lending and indirect home equity lending outside its primary New England market area. "Given our strategic decision to discontinue out-of-market, indirect mortgage and consumer lending activities, we decided to manage these portfolios as a liquidating, nonstrategic asset," said James C. Smith, Webster's chairman and chief executive officer. The company can be found on the Web at http://www.websteronline.com.

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