Washington Mutual, which bought credit card issuer Providian Financial Corp. last month for $6.1 billion, is closing a former Providian call center in El Paso, Texas, cutting as many as 371 jobs, the San Antonio Express-News reported today.

The layoffs will begin this month and last at least through March, the Seattle-based company said in a letter Thursday to the Texas Workforce Commission, according to the Express-News.

The letter was filed because of the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, also known as the WARN Act, which makes companies give employees notice of plant closings or mass layoffs at least 60 days in advance.

Washington Mutual, the biggest U.S. savings and loan, is establishing a regional operations center in North San Antonio that is expected to create 4,200 jobs over the next seven years.

In October, Washington Mutual completed its purchase of credit-card provider Providian in a cash and stock transaction valued at $6.1 billion.

Washington Mutual operates more than 2,400 retail banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking and other financial service centers throughout the nation, including 16 bank and mortgage branches in San Antonio. The company had assets of $323.5 billion as of June 30.


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