As many large companies plan mass layoffs to cope with a slowing economy, Commerce Bancorp in Cherry Hill, N.J., says it is beefing up its work force by more than 25% this year.

The $8.3 billion-asset company announced Thursday that it plans to hire 1,500 people — from tellers to branch managers to senior-level lenders — by the end of the year. The jobs will be created in 30 new branches that Commerce is planning to open this year in northern New Jersey and the Delaware Valley, according to president and chairman Vernon W. Hill. Five branches are slated to open by the end of the first quarter.

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