JP Morgan notified WaMu employees on Thursday that it wouldclose the 1,200-person, 217,000-square-foot Washington Mutualoperations (call) center in Pleasanton by early spring of 2009 andthat it will eliminate 400 jobs in its San Francisco operationscenter at 201 Mission St. in advance of a full shutdown of thecenter in late 2009 or early 2010, according to multiple localreports on Friday. A WaMu spokesperson did not immediately return aGlobeSt.com phone call seeking independent confirmation.

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The Seattle Times this week reported that as many as3,000 of WaMu's 4,200 workers in Seattle could lose their jobs ,citing current and recently departed WaMu executives who spoke oncondition of anonymity. WaMu owns a brand new 900,000-square-footoffice tower in Downtown Seattle and leases an additional 700,000square feet in nearby buildings. For more detail on WaMu's realestate portfolio in Seattle and the Bay Area, seeGlobeSt.com's Oct. 1 article titled WaMu Sale To Impact WestCoast CRE.

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JPMorgan has until Christmas Eve to decide which WaMu leases itwants to keep, according to its agreement with the FDIC, whicharranged its sale to Chase. Under that arrangement, Chase canabandon any space it does not want without penalty and thelandlords would become creditors in WaMu's receivership, which isthe FDIC's version of bankruptcy. If anything, compensation islikely to be pennies on the dollar; while WaMu's assets total $1.9billion while its creditors--landlords, debt holders andshareholders--are expected to total more than $13 billion.

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The layoffs are part of JP Morgan's integration plan, whichincludes combining the two banks' duplicate operations such asinformation technology, human resources, legal and risk managementand call centers. For example, the WaMu operations center jobsbeing cut in Pleasanton and San Francisco will be handled at JPMorgan's operations center in Delaware.

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Adding to the troubles is the general contraction in thefinancial services sector, which is expected to continue throughnext year along with the housing market, which is expected toexperience more foreclosures in 2009 than it did in 2008. Thathaving been said, JP Morgan says it plans to add staff to WaMu'sretail banking operation in 2009.

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