September 25, 2008
WaMu's Demise
Posted by Gordon Smith

The quick and dirty: "In what is by far the largest bank failure in U.S. history, federal regulators seized Washington Mutual Inc. and struck a deal to sell the bulk of its operations to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co."

The shareholders and creditors of WaMu are the big losers. WaMu customers appear to be unaffected. The big winner is JP Morgan (see WSJ story linked above):

The deal will expand J.P. Morgan's footprint westward and into the South. Most importantly, it will give J.P. Morgan an instant presence in two states where it is now virtually non-existent: California and Florida. Although both states have been battered by the housing market collapse, they still offer significant potential for J.P. Morgan, which can pitch a slew of financial services that weren't big business for WaMu, such as wealth management and commercial banking. WaMu has nearly 700 branches in California and operates more than 250 branches in Florida.

The crazy thing is that this story looks ho hum beside the bailout negotiations.

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