Washington Mutual Inc., the largest U.S. savings and loan, said Wednesday that it would shutter one division that bought mortgages from other home lenders and another that financed mortgage companies.
The closures will result in about 1,000 firings, Washington Mutual spokesman Alan Gulick said. But the Seattle-based company also plans to hire about 1,000 loan officers in the next few months in its mortgage and bank branches, bringing the total to about 3,000, he said.
"Some of the changes we've made today are in response to market conditions, but they're also about accelerating our growth," Gulick said. "We feel there is significant opportunity to leverage the power of WaMu's 2,200 retail stores."
At least 100 mortgage companies have sought buyers or halted lending since the start of 2006. A record number of Americans faced foreclosures in the second quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Assn. said last week.