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WaMu to offset 1,000 layoffs in home loans with retail hires

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Washington Mutual will lay off about 1,000 employees in its Home Loans Group around the country as it closes its Mortgage Banker Finance business and restricts WaMu Capital Corp. to securitizing only WaMu loans. A WaMu Home Loans spokeswoman said the layoffs are a response to changing mortgage market conditions, but are taking place in conjunction with hiring that's intended to accelerate growth in the company's core businesses -- retail, consumer direct and wholesale lending. WaMu plans to hire up to 1,000 retail and banking loan consultants over the next several months, and increase its consumer direct sales force, said WaMu spokeswoman Sara Gaugl. The Seattle-based company currently employs 1,000 banking loan consultants and 2,000 retail loan consultants, and operates more than 2,200 retail stores, Gaugl said. "We ... intend to grow our retail, consumer direct and wholesale businesses and are positioning the size of our sales and support organizations to ensure that we capture gro...