Friday, November 21, 2008

Washington Mutual Cuts 1,600 Bay Area Jobs

The San Francisco Chronicle reports WaMu to shut Pleasanton center, cut 1,600 staff

Washington Mutual Inc., the Seattle bank seized by federal regulators and sold to JPMorgan Chase in September, said Thursday that it will shutter its Pleasanton campus and cut hundreds of San Francisco positions, eliminating 1,600 Bay Area jobs in all.

The biggest direct blow is to the city of Pleasanton, which in addition to an empty corporate campus will see the taxes and spending tied to 1,200 jobs dry up.

"I hate to hear it, but it's not totally unexpected," said Scott Raty, chief executive officer of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce. "They've been talking about these things that were going to happen as Chase takes over, that there would be fallout and there would be job losses."

Steve Falk, CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, said the job cuts in the city are unfortunate, but he noted that many more would have occurred were it not for the Chase takeover.

"It's better to have at least the parachute of a strong financial institution than the loss of all WaMu jobs," he said.

Most employees being laid off will receive official 60-day notices Dec. 1, WaMu officials said.