Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another one bites the dust, WaMu (Washington Mutual) seized by the feds

I have been writing about Washington Mutual for a while now, well they are no more.

JP Morgan will take control of the deposits and WaMu will now be JP Morgan Chase.

If you are a stockholder, which I hope you got your money out, you are wiped out.

This is the largest savings and loan failure in American History.

Washington Mutual, the giant lender that came to symbolize the excesses of the mortgage boom, was seized by federal regulators on Thursday night, in what is by far the largest bank failure in American history.

Regulators simultaneously brokered an emergency sale of virtually all of Washington Mutual — the nation’s largest savings and loan, with $307 billion in assets — to JPMorgan Chase.

Like IndyMac and the rest, it bit the dust.

The word on the street is that the feds were worried about WaMu for a while now. The stock plunged and was less than 2 bucks when the feds stepped in.

Again, this bank was MIRED with the mortgage mess and it was THAT and the inability to get credit that took them DOWN.
Until recently, Washington Mutual was one of Wall Street’s strongest performers. It reaped big profits quarter after quarter as its then chief executive, Kerry Killinger, enlarged its footprint by buying banks on both coasts and ramping up mortgage lending.

His goal was to transform what was once a sleepy Seattle thrift into the “Wal-Mart of Banking,” which would cater to lower- and middle-class consumers that other banks deemed too risky. It offered complex mortgages and credit cards whose terms made it easy for the least creditworthy borrowers to get financing, a strategy the bank extended in big cities, including Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. With this grand plan, Mr. Killinger built Washington Mutual into the sixth-largest bank in the United States, with roughly 2,300 consumer and small business branches, total assets of $310 billion, and total deposits of $182 billion.

But underneath the hood, the bank’s machinery was failing.

Then the housing market began to crumble.

The housing crisis is like Hurricane Katrina, it has just taken the whole market and banks, DOWN.

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