Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2008

Washington Mutual Inc.


$327.9 billion in assets

In 2003, Washington Mutual Inc.'s then chairman and CEO Kerry Killinger outlined his company's goals by saying, "We hope to do to this industry what Wal-Mart did to theirs ... if we've done our job, five years from now you're not going to call us a bank." Killinger was right — but not in the way he intended.

Five years later, WaMu was crippled by the 2007-08 subprime-mortgage-loan crisis; within a year its stock price dropped from $30 a share to $2. In September 2008, worried customers withdrew $16.7 billion in deposits within a 10-day span, prompting the government to place the bank under control of the FDIC, which sold all its assets to JPMorgan Chase for $1.9 billion — making Washington Mutual the largest bank failure in history. The following day, Sept. 26, 2008, the bank filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. Unhappy with the details of its new ownership, WaMu sued JPMorgan Chase for access to $4 billion in deposits that it wants back; the case has not yet been settled.