WaMu Again Adding Staffing

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Washington Mutual, which slashed more than 11,000 jobs from its mortgage operations last year, said it plans to open 250 new branches in 2005 and add 1,500 new jobs to gain new customers.

The nation's largest thrift said it is adding branches in areas where larger rivals, like Citigroup and Bank of America, have a big presence or plan to expand. More than half of the new branches will be in the four most populous states: California, Texas, New York and Florida. The company ended 2004 with about 1,940 branches.

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