WaMu Begins To Sell Itself

WaMu has begun to try to sell itself. So far, no takers. If no one buys it, one of two things will happen. Either it will be placed into a conservatorship, like IndyMac, or form a bridge bank, a kind of temporary bank. So the question for depositors is: wait to find out who your new masters are, or pull out now and decide for yourself?

[Dealbook] (Photo: Maulleigh)


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  1. MissTicklebritches says:

    So, what happens to the checks I’ve written on my WaMu account? Will my landlord be able to cash my rent check?

  2. truthbuddy says:

    pullout control your own destiny

  3. ideagirl says:

    my advice: pull out. not that my advice is worth anything.

  4. Bladefist says:

    Pull out if the stock is higher then when what you paid for it. IF it’s lower then what you paid for it, ride it out. The government will save you.

    • Shenanigans Was Taken says:

      @Bladefist: I believe the question was geared towards depositors, not investors.

      I am personally indecisive about what to do with my own WaMu accounts; that is probably the worst thing to be.

    • youbastid says:

      @Bladefist: As mentioned before, this is geared towards depositors, but I’d like to ask what you mean when you say the government will save you if it’s a matter of your stock becoming worthless?

      And aren’t you the guy who’s always talking about the virtues of taking the government out of everything? How do you feel about these massive bailouts – with taxpayer money – that are a direct result of all of that?

    • @Bladefist: Pull out if the stock is higher then when what you paid for it. IF it’s lower then what you paid for it, ride it out. The government will save you.

      Considering that WM has shed 95% of its value this year and is at a 17-year-low for a stock that’s only been around for 18 years, I think the class of people who got in for less than $2 is very small.

      It’s important to note that, so far, the fed has not rescued any shareholders.

  5. antisane says:

    Time for anyone doing business with WAMU to move along to the next “best thing” (whatever that may be).

  6. ryanwalters says:

    The fastest way to get a English speaking Human for WaMu credit card customer service is dial, 800-249-5143

  7. bologna_wallet says:

    run on the bank

  8. Ben Popken says:

    I still maintain that you shouldn’t start pulling your deposits in a panic over losing your money. There certainly are other reasons to withdraw, though.

  9. nweaver says:

    As a depositor, unless they have pissed you off for some reason, its not worth the hastle. There will be far less hastle involved in an FDIC takeover for the typical depositor than there is in changing accounts.

  10. nweaver says:

    And yes, I am a depositor.

  11. laserjobs says:

    The way things are going the FDIC will probably end up with WaMu. So as long as you are under the FDIC limits you will probably be with the safest bank around soon.

    WaMu Federal

  12. asthecrowspins says:

    Any thoughts on how this will affect WaMu credit cards?

  13. sven.kirk says:

    @Bladefist: Why ride the stock out? It’s virtually dead. Once the company is bankrupt/closed, the stock is useless.

    As for depositors, it would depend on your credit history. Look around before you pull all your money out to go somewhere else. At least if they do transfer ownership you still will have an account

  14. ironchef says:

    grabbing your money out of banks is a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Take your money out and it will collapse. Your deposits are safe up to $100,000. Pulling it out now only makes the collapse a certainty.

    All those depositors got their money back at Indy Bank. So don’t sweat it.

    • Orv says:

      @ironchef: Sure, they got their money back. But who wants to wait in line for hours, then wait 8 weeks for the check to clear? I’m taking my money out now so I don’t have to deal with that hassle.

  15. dohtem says:

    As we speak there is only 86 cents in my Wamu account. I got out a while ago.

  16. Framling says:

    I’m sticking it out. I’ve got all my statements, I’ve got enough cash on hand to weather a week or two if it comes down to the FDIC, I’m caught up enough on my bills that I can talk my way into any allowances I might need for them, and my landlady loves us and will understand if something happens.

    And don’t give me this new masters shit. WaMu isn’t my master, I’m theirs.

  17. MercuryPDX says:

    I’m withdrawing enough cash for a week and leaving in the rest to ride it out.

    Also switching whichever bills from “Deduct from checking” over to “Charge to credit card”; enough procrastinating.

  18. TechnoDestructo says:

    I’ve got 50 bucks. 50 bucks, right here for you, WaMu.

  19. paleck says:

    This is entirely the reason I have a checking acct(checks, check card, etc) at two different banks. That way if one pisses me off or there is a problem with the bank, all I have to do is move whatever is in the acct to the other.

  20. maxmax says:

    If you’re over the limit, get under it. Otherwise you’re cool. For trust accounts over $100K, make sure there’s less than $100K per trustee.

    If you’re not sure, get sure ASAP.

  21. mcobill says:

    I’m out…opened new accounts at Suntrust, yesterday.

  22. elisa says:

    Any recommendations for Southern California? I don’t like HSBC (had an acct with them before), and I’ve heard too many bad things about BofA. Any other suggestions?

  23. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    How does this effect the WMInvestments portion of Wamu? I have a wamu bank acct and savings acct, then my investments are run through there. I was told that they are not FDIC insured but they are insured through another company for up to 500k for the money market funds. I have a large money market fund investment in there since its hard for me to take cash out of there and I can just use it to invest when needed.

  24. autumnmist says:

    What happens if you have a mortgage through WaMu? I guess it’d be too much to ask that someone forgets about its existence… :)

  25. Tankueray says:

    Just be sure you have a new bank account before you close your old one. A few years ago I tried to add someone to my BoA checking and they were refused because of their credit score. So I assume some banks run your credit before they let you open an account.

  26. Brazell says:

    Unless you’ve worried about losing $100,000+ you don’t _need_ to take out or switch banks, however, like someone mentioned, there’s other reasons for switching. THe inconvenience of not knowing what your banking future is, is enough to switch banks for me. I would rather switch over all of my epay bills, online accounts, MS Money, etc, without waiting till I _have_ to.

  27. sawzy says:

    What the heck Consumerist? Yesterday you make a big deal about not panicking and causing a massive run on WaMu, and today you dare us to “wait to find out who your new masters are, or pull out now and decide for yourself?”?

    I feel no reason to stick around and find out what the WaMu/FDIC aftermath will look like. I can transfer my savings and direct deposit in a couple clicks.

    Bye WaMu. You never fucked me over (that I know of). You had a very decent savings account rate, gave me free paper checks, and your web UI was the best I’ve used so far. You even let me bounce my checking account once and didn’t charge any fees.

  28. Marshfield says:

    I wonder if my Wamu stock will become totally worthless? I have like 10 shares, now worth about 20 bucks (Woo Hoo!!) and it seems hardly worth dealing with at this point.

    • kittenfoo says:

      @Marshfield: bless your heart. my own best return on investment at the moment is a spare 20-lb note left over from a trip to london three years ago. except i would have to drive about 75 miles to get to a place i could exchange it, which would wipe out any advantage to the exchange rate. *sigh*

  29. CaptRavis says:

    Buy stock in a Sign Company…they are going to be getting a lot of extra business this year.

  30. MyLud says:

    I’m pulling my WaMu account, switching to CitiBank. Finished opening the account 6 hours ago.
    The Citi has got Dubai cash, so ain’t going anywhere (this week).

    As for the “panic,” kinda hard not to look after yourself when Wall Street itself is in a panic. It’s a shame, but I’m not interested in betting my money that someone’s going to bail it out, and not interested in having my funds tied up, even for a day.

    Leave your money at WaMu at your own risk, at this point…

  31. Marshfield says:

    I meant “Whoo Hoo!!”. Kittenfoo, if you like, mail that twenty to me, I can exchange it next time I drop someone off at the airport. I’ll send you half back via Paypal.

  32. jdmba says:

    Got most of my money out of WaMu into BofA today … had WaMu cut a cashiers check. That way, if Sunday comes, and they are shuttered, I have not as much in there to deal with.

    I remain concerned about the lack of news. This smacks to me of intervention to prevent panic in the LARGEST S&L out there. There should be much more mainstream news than this otherwise. That’s what scares me the most. I don’t think the FDIC would take them over, they have spent quite a bit already, and this one is HUGE.

  33. vesuvian says:

    First off, depositors who meet the FDIC standards have nothing to worry about.

    Second, let me tell a little story: way back in the 1980s, along about the time when the “Keating 5” were in business, there were a whole lot of banks and savings/loans in Arizona. They were big banks, too – covered the state and provided great local service. Then what seemed to be the impossible happened here in the West – Bank of America bought Security Pacific National Bank. This is like Belarus buying Ukraine, if you’re looking for a modern equivalent.

    At the same time, all of the banks owned by the United California Bank chain rebranded themselves as First Interstate Bank. Hang on, it gets better.

    BofA buys Security Pacific. Wells Fargo buys First Interstate. And in the meantime, all of the Arizona banks were bought by the big then-California banks. There are some small Arizona banks now, I guess, but if you don’t want to pay an ATM charge when you travel, you pick Wells, BofA, or Citibank. Or maybe WaMu.

    What happened to all of the employees of all of the Arizona banks? As soon as they were assimilated, their jobs vanished, leaving a whole lot of white-collar, or at least benefitted, people, without jobs. I’m not speaking figuratively when I say that somebody did turn off the lights in the Arizona Bank/Bank of Arizona tower in Phoenix.

    So WaMu is safe within reason. Bear in mind the history of what happens to bankers, however. This time the hit will come to Seattle instead of Phoenix, Los Angeles, or San Francisco.

  34. vesuvian says:

    @Elisa – Farmers and Merchants Bank of Long Beach has a good reputation, I’m told. Look them up. They post their financials on their website.

  35. maines19 says:

    So what actually HAPPENS when the FDIC comes into play? What do customers of the bank have to do to get their money? Are the accounts frozen while they cut checks? Do the bank’s ATMs stop working? Do other banks’ ATMs stop giving money to customers of the affected bank? Do you have to stop writing checks to pay bills?

    I think all of us who are on the fence about whether to yank our funds or sit tight would be much better equipped to make a decision (or to live with whatever decision we’ve made) if we understood precisely what happens, step by step, when a bank goes under.

    • wastedlife says:

      @maines19: I would also like to know how the FDIC process works.

      Also, I haven’t heard anything about the bank I use, National City. Does anyone know if they are in any immediate danger of going under? Having recently become a father, I can’t just “ride it out” a few weeks or more waiting for a FDIC check to clear.

  36. zolielo says:

    Something is seemingly very wrong with WaMu for my limited experience with the accounts. I want to believe that they will be okay, however, I am starting to loose the faith.

  37. lars2112 says:

    While I do not support the idea of pulling your money out of WAMU, you don’t know who will be taking them over if someone does. If you are living paycheck to paycheck this would not be a bad time to switch as some vendors might place longer holds on your checks.(not allowed but they will do it)

    In short, go online and look at your other options, it can’t hurt.

  38. ZukeZuke says:

    Pull out? That’s what SHE said.

    Sorry, getting psyched for The Office premiere next week!

  39. katiat325 says:

    Oh man, my landlord hates me because he wants more rent and any excuse to kick me out (while I’ve been a good tenant who’s lived here for 14 years), so I’m going to have to switch and change my direct deposit to 20%-80%. 20% to WaMu, 80% to whereever I go — pref a credit union. I just hope they don’t increase the interest rate on my WaMu credit card.

  40. S-the-K says:

    IMHO, for depositors, it’s high time to bail out of that sinking ship. At least you leave on your terms instead of the FDIC’s terms (the Coast Guard throwing you a life preserver after the WaMu ship has already sunk).

    That’s what I did when Netbank went under. I suspected something was wrong so I got ready to move. When the first shoe fell (a planned merger fell through), I bailed out completely. When the other shoe fell (FDIC took them over), I was safely away and had transferred all my ACH transactions and checks to the new bank.

  41. MykalBloom says:

    I’m going to miss WaMu. Free checks, great online banking, a free bounced check every year. I’ll be sad to see it go.

  42. tasselhoff76 says:


    Is a good place to look if you want actual facts about what happens when a bank fails and how long you will have to wait. The general rule is that you won’t have an interruption at all.

  43. parrotuya says:

    This organization is an abomination. They took too many risks with their depositors’ money. I can’t wait for this puppy to lay down and die.

  44. zolielo says:

    Seemingly got a lot worse today.