JPMorgan Chase to hire 1,200

The bank says it plans to aggressively expand its mortgage lending business as signs of stability in the housing market emerge.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- JPMorgan & Chase announced plans Tuesday to hire 1,200 mortgage loan officers as the bank moves to expand its home loan business.

"We have invested in new systems, aggressively grown our capacity and now are looking to increase our sales force," Dave Lowman, head of home lending at Chase, said in a statement.

The New York-based bank said the hiring spree, which will be complete at the end of 2010, will grow its home loan sales force by 60%.

New loan officers will be hired in 23 states -- including California, Florida and Texas and key cities such as New York and Chicago.

The new loan officers will work with personal bankers and referral sources, such as real estate agents and builders, as well as with their own network of homeowners.

Lowman said the goal is to ensure that Chase branches are adequately staffed and that the bank is "well positioned when the housing market fully recovers."

While the housing market remains weak, home sales have begun to pick up in many parts of the country as buyers take advantage of rock-bottom prices and attractive mortgage rates.

"It's not surprising to see JPMorgan doing what it's doing," said Mike Larson, a housing market analyst at Weiss Research.

Chase weathered the downturn in the housing market better than rival mortgage lenders Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) and Citigroup (C, Fortune 500), and has emerged as one of the dominant player in the home loan business.

"With so many competitors falling by the wayside, I think JPMorgan sees the opportunity to grab market share as the housing market appears to be stabilizing," Larson said.

Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) originated $37.1 billion in mortgages in the last quarter through more than 5,100 branches nationwide. The company also services $1.1 trillion of home loans.  To top of page

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