November 28, 2008 / 6:53 PM / 9 years ago

JPMorgan retains WaMu branch staff, cuts office jobs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), which bought the banking operations of Washington Mutual Inc WAMUQ.PK in September, said on Friday it would retain most of the giant thrift’s branch banking staff, but planned substantial job cuts at its former headquarters and elsewhere.

JPMorgan expects to retain the employees who worked at Washington Mutual (WaMu) branches, upwards of 20,000 staff, as well as 2,000 employees in other roles such as mortgages and wealth management, spokesman Tom Kelly said.

The combined company has about 5,400 branches and JPMorgan has said it will close no more than 10 percent.

JPMorgan said it remained on track to tell all former Washington Mutual employees by Monday whether they would have jobs and for how long, but overall numbers were not available. Washington Mutual had 43,198 employees as of June, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Some 1,600 WaMu staff who worked in back office roles in California handling credit cards and other consumer banking businesses were told their jobs would be eliminated by March.

    Substantial job cuts were also expected in WaMu’s Seattle headquarters where much of the work done could be absorbed by JPMorgan’s existing operations, Kelly said.

    JPMorgan bought Washington Mutual’s banking business on Sept 25 for $1.9 billion, as the government closed the thrift in what remains the largest failure of a U.S. bank. Washington Mutual’s holding company later filed for bankruptcy protection.

    The acquisition made JPMorgan the nation’s largest bank by assets and the second-largest by deposits.

    Reporting by Elinor Comlay, editing by Leslie Gevirtz

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