Washington Mutual, the nation’s largest savings and loan, is laying off 255 workers as part of its efforts to trim costs amid a downturn in the national housing market.
Sixty-five layoffs in Sacramento, Calif., and 190 in Austin, Texas, will take effect by the end of December, spokeswoman Darcy Donahoe-Wilmot said Wednesday.
Many of the jobs being cut are in the company’s mortgage-related business, Donahoe-Wilmot said.
The Seattle-based thrift has cut nearly 10,000 jobs in the past year, reducing its total work force by about 16 percent to roughly 51,000 employees. Cost-cutting efforts have also included moving about 3,700 jobs offshore and relocating some back office operations to less expensive parts of the country.
Fed chief urges care in borrowing
With the explosion of financial choices, consumers must continually sharpen their assessments of whether certain mortgages or other investment products make sense for them, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recommended Wednesday.
As the credit market has grown and become more sophisticated, lenders have been able to extend credit to households and businesses that might not have been considered creditworthy previously, he said.
In turn, the market for “subprime” borrowers – people with weaker credit records who are considered higher risks – has grown considerably over the years.
San Jose, Calif.
EA upgrading download service
Electronic Arts Inc. is taking the wraps off of a major overhaul to its download service for computer games, signaling the largest video game publisher’s commitment to the growing trend of online distribution.
The Redwood City-based company said it plans to officially announce the new portal, EA Link, on Friday, though the retooled service was running Wednesday.
It replaces an earlier service called EA Downloader, the company’s admittedly clunky year-old effort at offering downloadable content for its PC games.
The site currently has 16 PC game titles available for download. Any upcoming PC games will be made available on disk at retail stores as well as in a digital version at EA Link – at the same price and on the same day, the company said.
San Jose, Calif.
Explosion closes PayPal offices
A Halloween night explosion shattered windows at an eBay building housing offices for the company’s PayPal division, forcing the evacuation of dozens of employees.
PayPal spokeswoman Amanda Pires said Wednesday that the company had not received any threats but declined to comment on the investigation. The blast hit the first floor of the company’s network operations center.
Business was not disrupted, but the complex was closed Wednesday and cordoned off by police tape.