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Lending office in Tampa shut; 225 jobs affected

The recent consolidation in the banking industry will cost at least 145 Tampa workers their jobs.

Citigroup Inc. will close a 225-employee office it acquired earlier this month as part of its $1.25-billion purchase of Washington Mutual Inc.'s consumer finance unit.

The office, at 8900 Grand Oak Circle, served as headquarters for Washington Mutual Finance Corp., a provider of home equity loans and other consumer lending with 409 branches and 2,300 employees across 25 states. Citigroup spokeswoman Maria Mendler said the New York financial services giant will close the Tampa office by June 30, though some workers will be laid off as early as March.

Mendler said employees at the Tampa office were told of the closing Thursday and Friday. Roughly 75 will be offered positions at the Baltimore headquarters of CitiFinancial, Citigroup's consumer unit.

Kevin Kessinger, president of Citigroup's North American consumer finance division, said in November that the Washington Mutual Finance acquisition would allow CitiFinancial to "add more than 90 new branches in . . . Texas, Florida and California."

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