Continuing a series of mortgage industry layoff announcements, Washington Mutual Wednesday said it would close 10 of its 26 home-loan processing centers, eliminating 2,500 jobs.

Washington Mutual, the third-largest U.S. mortgage lender by total volume in 2004, said the cuts represent about 4 percent of a workforce of 60,000 at the Seattle-based savings and loan.

Other home-loan specialists, including Countrywide Financial Corp. in Calabasas and Ameriquest Mortgage Co. in Orange, have reported the effects of the mortgage market slowed. Loan production at Countrywide was $33 billion in January, compared to $44 billion in December.

In a statement, Washington Mutual said the move in part reflected its effort to better match its processing capacity to “current and anticipated mortgage market conditions.” The lender recently reported that mortgage revenue were down in the fourth quarter 47 percent from the third quarter

Work volumes from the impacted locations will be shifted to 16 remaining Washington Mutual home loan support offices, including Irvine, Calif.; suburban Chicago; and Jacksonville, Fla., the company said. The job reductions announced Wednesday will be partially offset by new hiring at these locations.

While Washington Mutual “continues to drive efficiency through consolidation of support service locations and other initiatives,” the company said, it will also execute strategies designed to fuel profitable growth, including increasing the number of locations dedicated to sales and customer service. Last week, the company confirmed plans to open 150 to 200 new retail banking stores nationally in 2006.

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