JPMorgan Chase announced Monday that it will cut 9,200 jobs at Washington Mutual, but few of those cuts are expected in the Valley and Arizona.
Of the 9,200 jobs being eliminated as Chase integrates Washington Mutual, 4,000 will be cut by the end of next month, according to the bank. Chase acquired WaMu in late September after the bank became the nation's largest to fail.
The remaining 5,200 employees will remain with Chase through a transition period, but will lose their jobs by the end of 2009. At some point next year, the WaMu brand will disappear and all of its operations will be rebranded as Chase, said Mary Jane Rogers, local Chase spokeswoman.
"In Arizona, where the WaMu employee base was virtually all branch-based, there will be ... relatively few jobs impacted, because Chase has such a large and growing branch network in Arizona," she said. "Combined with regular attrition and turnover, there will be opportunities for many employees to continue their careers with Chase."
WaMu has about 500 employees and 64 branch offices in Arizona, while Chase has nearly 9,000 employees and more than 250 offices.
"We know that some overlapping branches may be consolidated, but we continue to add new branches," Rogers said. "In some cases, there's a WaMu and a Chase location directly across the street from each other, and in those circumstances, it wouldn't make sense to keep both branches. We're in the process of determining which locations make the most sense for our combined customer base. As we make those decisions, we will have an employee retention plan in place, as well.
"Depending on traffic patterns and neighborhood density, we may decide that we need two branches relatively close to one another," Rogers said. "We might find that the WaMu branch is in a better, more convenient location, and we'll consolidate into that. It will be a very branch-by-branch decision."
Nationally, the 5,200 employees who stay on will receive double their salary - retroactive to Oct. 1 - until their last day on the job, and will be entitled to severance packages. Washington Mutual had about 42,000 employees when Chase took over.
Displaced WaMu workers shouldn't have a tough time finding work, said Tanya Wheeless, president and CEO of the Arizona Bankers Association.
"Internally, (Chase) may be able to place those people, but there are still going to be other opportunities in banking as banks continue to add locations and expand in the market," she said.