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Washington Mutual Cutting Jobs

It will let 2,500 go in processing.

Executives at

Washington Mutual

(WM) - Get Free Report

are swinging the ax again, cutting 2,500 jobs from the lender's home-loan processing business.

The Seattle-based thrift said the job cuts are part a plan to consolidate its network of processing offices that provide administrative support to its home-loan businesses. The move will reduce the number of administrative offices to 16 from 26.

The news of the job cuts comes a week after the nation's largest thrift announced plans to open 150 to 200 new retail branches this year.

WaMu, in a press release, said the job cuts in the home-loan business are part of the bank's ongoing effort to "better match current and anticipated mortgage market conditions.''

For more than a year now, WaMu has been cutting jobs from its mortgage business, as a rise in interest rates has led to cooling-off in the once red-hot market for mortgages and home-loan refinancings. In 2004, the bank eliminated several thousand jobs in its mortgage division and closed 100 call centers.

In Wednesday trading, shares of WaMu closed up 17 cents to $42.96.