WASHINGTON -- In a further retrenchment of its mortgagebusiness, Washington Mutual Inc., announced the closing of itswholesale mortgage operation and home loan retail centers acrossthe country.

The largest thrift in the country is also set to receive a $5billion cash infusion from private equity groups, including TPG, inreturn for nearly 25% of outstanding shares and a seat on the boardof directors.

WaMu's earlier interventions to pare down operations byeliminating some of its riskiest subprime mortgages to borrowerswith poor credit or heavy debt were not enough to stem continuinglosses in the mortgage market, as it posted a fourth-quarter lossof $1.87 billion. Last summer, it closed nearly half its home loancenters, shut down its call centers and did away with over 3,000jobs. The thrift also closed WaMu Capital Corp. and ceased sellingmortgage-backed securities.

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