Westcorp said late Friday that it will report a first-quarter operating loss and cut its dividend in half because of rising losses at its auto lending subsidiary.

The diversified financial services company, whose units include a thrift, Western Financial Bank, did not quantify the expected first-quarter loss. It did say it would cut its dividend to 5 cents per share from 10 cents, and that charges stemming from its decision to eliminate 20% of its work force would reach $5.8 million, or 22 cents per share.

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