Washington Mutual - Retail and Warehouse - Retail, Warehouse Lending


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The name will hang around a while yet but Washington Mutual (WaMu) is officially gone, leaving its imprint as the largest thrift to fail in U.S. history. Gone with it are the last of its mortgage lending channels: a large retail mortgage origination presence, and a Mortgage Banker Finance division that provided warehouse lines of credit and other financial services to mortgage bankers nationwide.

The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) seized WaMu and placed it into receivership with the FDIC last Thursday, September 25th. JPMorgan Chase bought the banking assets the following day for $1.9 billion, absorbing a $31 billion loss on Wamu's loan portfolio. Holding company Washington Mutual Inc. filed for bankruptcy the same day.

GlobeSt reported 10% of the combined banking branches would be closed in overlap areas, including Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City and the New York area. It was not said how many of WaMu's 43,200 employees might be affected.

The following Q&A's were taken from a "welcome" email sent to WaMu employees by Chase CEO Jamie Dimon (as posted on our Discussion Forums:

Do you expect job eliminations? If so, when will those occur?

It is too early to estimate the number of possible job eliminations. Over time, we expect reductions in redundant roles across the combined company. We’ll be working with Washington Mutual management to make business decisions and understand the staffing requirements. Affected employees will be informed as soon as possible and we will work to provide other opportunities within our company.

When will we officially become Chase? When do the signs change?

Washington Mutual’s retail businesses will continue with the Washington Mutual name for now and will be re-branded to Chase over time.

When will our systems be consolidated?

We hope to complete most systems integrations and re-branding by the end of 2010.

A few more questions we would ask of Mr. Dimon:

You have consolidated all retail mortgage operations into four regional centers, and drastically reduced staffing/operations in both wholesale and correspondent business channels.
  • Will retail mortgage lending in WaMu's larger banking footprint be similarly consolidated?
  • Will wholesale and correspondent channels persist or be abandoned in lieu of a greatly expanded Chase retail presence?
  • Will WaMu's now redundant warehouse lending division be absorbed or eliminated?

There also remain questions about the disposition of pensions, 401(k) plans and deferred compensation for current and former WaMu employees. The Pacific BizJournal reported executive compensation and severance were also being decided upon as controversy swirls around the $19.1 million "golden parachute" paid to ex-CEO Alan Fishman. There's a great deal that hasn't yet been addressed, and 2010's a long time to wait... a lot of people will be expecting answers.

Click here to read more about the Chase takeover on our Discussion Forums. Feel free to email us with additional details or updates.

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Important: This company is on our list of lending operations that have "imploded". However, please note that "imploded" is a somewhat subjective and does not necessarily mean operations are ceased permanently: it can mean bankruptcy filing, temporary but open-ended halting of major operations, or "firesale" acquisition. All information here is provisional, and may contain inaccuracies (especially newer information). If you are planning on doing business with this company or any other one listed on this site, you should inquire with them directly on whether they can still meet your needs. Many are still operating in some capacity.