Two thousand jobs are to go as Ford Motor Credit Company (FMCC) consolidates and centralises most of its originations and servicing operations in the United States to reduce costs and improve process efficiencies.

This continues the company's global business transformation that has been ongoing for more than a decade, FMCC said in a statement on Friday. "We have a history of managing change effectively, and I'm confident the course we are on will be equally successful," said the unit's chairman and CEO Mike Bannister.

FMCC will consolidate its remaining 59 US branches into six existing service centres, creating new business centres that will manage originations, dealer credit and wholesale operations in addition to the servicing functions already handled today.

Sales employees who work directly with dealers will remain in local markets to maintain and enhance their strong dealer connections.

Completion of the branch consolidation is expected by the end of 2007. A similar structure is being considered for the operation in Canada, which currently has seven branches and one service centre.

"As a company with strong business fundamentals, we believe this new structure will further strengthen our operational effectiveness," said Bannister. "Our strong collections processes will continue while we enhance our originations of automotive financing contracts. The North American restructuring also will provide us with the flexibility and scale necessary to adapt to any changes in business conditions."

"Many of the same Ford Motor Credit salespeople who call on our dealers today will continue to do so going forward," said Ford Motor Credit Company North America president AJ Wagner. "Our salespeople have a unique understanding of our dealers' market and business issues and are in the best position to provide them with practical solutions to support their business."

In the last decade, Ford Motor Credit has restructured operations in Australia, Germany, Japan, Mexico, North America and the UK with a focus on reducing costs and improving process efficiencies. Since 2003, it has closed nearly 110 branches in the US and Canada.

Personnel reductions will be achieved through attrition, early retirements, voluntary separations and, if necessary, involuntary separations, FMCC said.

Currently, about 8,600 employees work in its offices in the U.S. and Canada; the region accounts for 75% of the company's global business.

At 30 June 2006, the company's global managed receivables were $US151bn.

Ford Motor Credit Company was established in 1959, has 14,000 employees and operates in 36 countries.