Former CEO: Alan H. Fishman
Status: Defunct, bought out by JPMorgan Chase
Washington Mutual, Inc., a savings bank holding company, was founded in 1889 in an attempt to rescue the failing Seattle, Washington, economy after a fire almost destroyed the city. It was founded as the Washington National Building Loan and Investment Association on September 25th. Washington Mutual was primarily a consumer bank providing financial services such as mortgage loans, credit card loans, checking accounts, savings accounts, online banking, home refinancing, and equity loans.
In its later years, WaMu sought to become the Wal-Mart of the banking industry by adjusting mortgages and credit cards terms to make qualification easier for lower and middle class consumers. WaMu was the nation’s largest savings and loans association until its bankruptcy in 2009. Its subsidiary banks were sold to JPMorgan Chase after being seized by the FDIC in 2008. The holding company Washington Mutual, Inc. subsequently filed for bankruptcy after failing to regain its assets in a civil suit against the FDIC. By 2009, all the WaMu branches were either sold to other banks, permanently closed, or rebranded as Chase Bank.
Washington Mutual careers were available in great abundance for long-term employees. They had positions such as underwriter, auditor, account manager, loan consultant, financial analyst, project manager, and statistician. WaMu offered significant career growth opportunities with its long list of positions.
Working at Washington Mutual proved lucrative for employees who valued an open, supportive environment where they could thrive. The company promoted their commitment to diversity by fostering alliances with local, regional, and national organizations. Programs were set up between the company and local colleges and universities in order to recruit top minds. They offered internships for high school students looking to gain practical work experience.
While some employees praised the company for its respect toward its workers, others claimed the institution’s only concern was making money. The WaMu culture was lauded for its relaxed environment that gave employees room to advance. Management was termed approachable and respectful. As financial crisis gripped WaMu, job security became an increasing concern among employees.
Up until going defunct, WaMu provided competitive compensation and benefits. Washington Mutual benefits included medical coverage, dental coverage, a 401 (k) plan, a pension plan, a stock purchase plan, employee discounts, flexible spending accounts, life and disability programs, vacations, holidays, incidental illness time, and learning and development opportunities for career advancement.
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