Seattle Rescue

Seafirst's $1.5 billion backstop

Richard Cooley was 59 and had been chairman of San Francisco's Wells Fargo & Co. for 16 years when he abruptly quit his job last December. A day later it turned out he was to become chief executive of another bank-holding company, Seafirst Corp. in Seattle. With $10 billion in assets, Seafirst is less than half the size of Wells Fargo, but Cooley's new job is turning out to be double the challenge of his old one. Last week Seafirst, which owns the Seattle-First National Bank, reported a surprisingly large...

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