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That’s what many Washington Mutual customers are saying as several weeks of turmoil at the nation’s largest savings and loan comes to an end. WaMu is being acquired by an even larger rival, J.P. Morgan Chase, whose name alone promises some stability.
There’s lot of sadness here of course. WaMu shareholders have gotten wiped out—lost everything. That’s not true of Alan Fishman, WaMU ceo for all of two weeks, who might be entitled to $18 million in severance and signing bonus.
Then there are the employees of both WaMu and Chase who will lose their jobs. Chase CEO Jamie Dimon say the company will close about 10% or 500 of the combined branches.
WaMu’slending practices were clearly bad. But the company’s TV advertisements provided a lot of humor in an industry not known for levity. Maybe the takeaway here is that your bank shouldn’t run funny ads depicting other bankers as fat old guys in suits, drinking champagne and soaking customers for fees. Maybe we were all suckered by WaMu’s cappuccinos and free Internet service in branches.
Or maybe we can continue to hope there are bankers out there who take their business—but not themselves—seriously.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.