From today’s Seattle Times: Feds seize WaMu in nation’s largest bank failure
WaMu’s 43,200 employees won’t feel any immediate impact, though it’s likely JPMorgan will drastically shrink the thrift’s headquarters staff. More than 3,500 people work at WaMu’s 42-story headquarters at Second Avenue and Union Street, along with 800 people elsewhere in Seattle and 1,500 people elsewhere in Washington state.
WaMu is also downtown’s largest office tenant, with about 1.6 million square feet in the central business district. It put some space on the market in recent months, helping raise downtown’s vacancy rate.
JPMorgan reportedly sent e-mails to all WaMu employees asking them to report for work as usual today.
Not surprisingly, I’ve got a few friends that work at WaMu corporate downtown. I really feel pity for them. The fact that WaMu put itself into such a dangerous position was not the fault of the rank-and-file corporate employees, but they’ll be the ones to feel the brunt of this failure.
I’d like to be clear that I do not take any pleasure in knowing that 4,300 people in Seattle are likely to lose their jobs, or the effect that will have on Seattle’s economy.
Another interesting bit from the article:
JPMorgan, which earlier this year offered to buy WaMu for $7 billion in stock — a deal former CEO Kerry Killinger turned down in the belief he could salvage the company — was the high bidder in an auction the FDIC conducted Wednesday, Bair said. Three other banks submitted bids for WaMu’s banking assets.
So four banks were bidding on WaMu’s assets, and $1.9 billion was the highest bid. Dang.
(Drew DeSilver, Seattle Times, 09.26.2008)