Tina K. Russell

September 30, 2008

Washington Mutual fun facts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Tina Russell @ 12:18 am

Steve Duin, at The Oregonian, serves up, you might say, some factoids. (I’m quoting the full post, here.)

Five Fun Facts About the Death and Afterlife of Washington Mutual – Steve Duin – The Oregonian – OregonLive.com
1. With $307 billion in assets, Washington Mutual is the largest bank failure in history.

2. Industry analysts told The New York Times that as many as 5,000 WaMu employees will lose their jobs.

3. WaMu chief exec Alan H. Fishman, who’s held the job for less than three weeks, is keeping his $7.5 million signing bonus and may get another $11.6 million in cash severance payments.

4. Texas Pacific’s David Bonderman — who, Oregonians might remember, once tried to buy Portland General Electric using the influence of Neil Goldschmidt and Peggy Fowler — was one of the biggest losers among WaMu shareholders. As The Oregonian’s Ryan Frank said, “Somewhere, Erik Sten is dancing a jig.”

5. Fishman, who was on a transcontinental flight when JP Morgan Chase purchased WaMu from federal regulators for $1.9 billion, may yet walk away with $19.1 million for his three-week babysitting gig. Or did I mention that already?

I should admit, right here, that Washington Mutual is my bank. I mean, it’s where I keep my dough. I must say, though, I’m happy that it went belly-up and happy to do a dance on its early grave. Washington Mutual was a key player in rebranding second mortgages as “home equity loans” to keep you indebted to them in perpetuity, and the more I visited the bank and saw those hard sells, the more disgusted I always became. On the downside: now, Washington Mutual’s genetically perfect, vat-raised tellers will now roam the streets in search of inadequately chirpy customers to condescend to.

(I discussed this second-mortgage rebranding thing with my mom, who argued that, even if the bank made the pitch, it’s still the customer’s responsibility for signing on to a bad deal. That’s true, but a con man is never absolved by a gullible mark.)

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