Washington Mutual Inc. announced plans to strengthen its capital position, eliminate the mortgage broker channel and close home loan offices. Around 3,000 employees are expected to be impacted.
The Seattle-based company said today it would exit wholesale lending and close all of its freestanding home loan offices. The closures are expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter.
"Last year, WaMu took steps to realign its home lending business primarily into its core retail banking network and to reduce the size of its other home lending operations," the press release stated. "Today, the company announced plans to further its retail-focused strategy."
Inside sources indicate that the layoffs are likely to impact around 3,000 employees nationwide. Based on yearend headcount, about 8,300 employees will remain in the home loans group.
The thrift, however, said it plans to grow its retail bank branch and call center production.
WaMu also said it expects first-quarter losses to come in around $1.1 billion, down from $1.9 billion reported in the fourth quarter. The provision for first-quarter loan losses is anticipated to be around $3.5 billion, and net charge-offs are estimated at $1.4 billion.
In a move to keep its capital ratios "well above its targeted levels," the company said it agreed to raise an aggregate $7 billion through a sale of "equity securities to an investment vehicle managed by TPG Capital, and to other investors, including many of WaMu's top institutional shareholders."
TPG Founding Partner David Bonderman will join WaMu's board, today's announcement stated. In addition, at TPG's request, Continental Airlines Chief Executive Officer Larry Kellner will become a board observer.
WaMu said it will also cut its dividend to $0.01 from $0.15 -- helping it boost capital by nearly $500 million annually.
WaMu Closing Wholesale Unit, Retail Centers
Washington Mutual Inc. is shutting down its wholesale lending unit as well as its home loan centers. The move could potentially impact more than 10,000 employees.