Tony Meola, the production chief for Washington Mutual Inc., Seattle, has resigned from the company, accepting a position with competitor New Century Financial Corp., Irvine, Calif.A spokeswoman for WaMu, the nation's third-largest residential lender, confirmed his departure to MortgageWire on Friday. Mr. Meola, who served as executive vice president of WaMu's home loan production unit, will hold a similar title at New Century, the nation's second-largest subprime funder. New Century released a statement on Monday saying it had hired Mr. Meola. The executive will be charged with expanding the company's national production franchise and broadening its product menu. "He's known as a problem solver," said one executive familiar with his career.

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