JPMorgan Chase & Co. is planning to hire 1,200 home loan officers by the end of next year, which would boost its sales force by 60% at a time when industrywide volume is expected to drop by as much.

"We have made a number of strategic investments," Dave Lowman, the company's head of home lending, said in a press release Tuesday. "We have invested in new systems, aggressively grown our capacity. … With our vast branch network and growing customer base, the opportunity for Chase loan officers is tremendous."

The hires are to be made in bank branches in 23 states — including California, Florida and Texas, and in the Chicago and New York metropolitan areas — as well as areas outside JPMorgan Chase's banking markets, like Boston, St. Louis and Washington.

The Mortgage Bankers Association has projected $1.1 trillion to $1.5 trillion of mortgage originations in 2010, down from $2.6 trillion estimated for this year.

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