Bear Stearns Cos. Inc. is cutting about 240 jobs at two mortgage lending units, a person familiar with the situation said, as a global credit squeeze and a subprime lending crisis rattles markets.

About 100 jobs are being cut at Encore Credit, a subprime lender that Bear Stearns acquired in the past year, and about 140 more jobs will be cut at Bear Stearns Residential, which funds Alt-A loans for borrowers with decent credit, the source said.

The bank said in a statement the two units had evaluated market conditions and staffing levels in an effort to eliminate redundancies and improve their efficiency.

As a result we have made the decision to reduce our staffing levels and close two operation centers, Bear said.

The statement did not provide details on how many jobs were cut. Overall, the investment bank employs 15,100 people.