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Rise of the mega lenders

JP Morgan joins BofA at top with WaMu play

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JP Morgan Chase's acquisition of failed Washington Mutual Bank will create a leviathan in mortgage lending, second in originations only to the juggernaut created by Bank of America's acquisition of Countrywide Financial Corp. JP Morgan said its acquisition of WaMu will allow it to grow in major markets like California, Florida and Washington state, and create a company with 5,400 branches in 23 states. The combined bank will also be the largest U.S. depository institution, with $911 billion in deposits; the biggest provider of credit-card services, with $181 billion in outstanding debt on 170 million credit cards; and the second-largest retail bank, with 24.5 million checking accounts. As was the case with Bank of America's Countrywide purchase, JP Morgan paid a relatively small price up front but also takes on billions of dollars worth of troubled mortgage loans. JP Morgan paid $1.9 billion to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which was named receiver after the Office...