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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 1, 2008 at 2:34 PM

Washington Mutual’s demise

It’s not necessarily a bad thing

Is Washington Mutual being bought such a bad deal? [“WaMu’s desperate last days,” page one, Sept. 28.] JPMorgan Chase only bought WaMu out. According to my bank teller, the majority of us were not affected by the failure. The mortgage-and-securities portion failed. The savings-and-loan portion protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was in good shape. Now JPMorgan has assets listed at $2 trillion, according to its Web site.

The U.S. economy made about $12 trillion last year. So we just joined a bank that has been around for more than 100 years. According to its Web site, the bank operates in 60 countries. So it is definitely not simply depending on credit-card-happy America. On the East Coast, I had several friends at JPMorgan. They were generally very happy with it. When you are in the Persian Gulf and can still deposit $1,000 into your U.S. savings account, that is convenience at its finest.

On the flip side, regarding how to help the U.S. economy, I recommend you start paying down those credit cards, even if it’s only a couple of dollars. Pay even $10 extra per month off the mortgage. Another tip: Have more than one account in separate mutual funds, high-risk stocks, savings bonds, and have a savings account.

My father never told us, but he always has a few hundred dollars in a mattress, just in case.

The key about stocks is, they are risky. The important thing is, everybody is panicking. I used to have this tried-and-true tradition of having a stable stock and putting the [extra] money from a raise in a reliable bank.

WaMu had free checking, but Bank of America was larger. Cover your bets and watch. I personally believe WaMu got caught in a panic where everybody withdrew funds too quickly.

Remember, this is a crisis that can definitely be diverted. We are just going to face issues later on with Social Security. We simply got greedy, and now we are paying for it.

— James Simpson, Seattle

Explain yourself, Killinger et. al

Now that Kerry Killinger, ex-CEO of now-defunct WaMu, along with his executive team and his board of directors, have A-bombed the Seattle economy, what do they have to say for themselves?

Or are they hiding outside U.S. territorial waters on their mega-yachts?

— Mark Nassutti, Kirkland

Give back to WaMu, Fishman

If I were Alan Fishman, WaMu’s current CEO, I would offer refreshing leadership in directing my $19 million “fee” for three weeks of work at Washington Mutual into a fund to benefit any of the 43,200 employees likely to be laid off from the dissolution of WaMu and subsequent transition to JPMorgan Chase [“Job cuts — and maybe hires too,” page one, Sept. 27].

How about it, Mr. Fishman? You’ve probably amassed enough of a fortune from your leadership at banks across the country to pay for your kids’ and grandkids’ education and a few houses, besides. How about helping some of the hardworking individuals at the former Washington Mutual who may not be able to afford to pay for their kids’ or grandkids’ education, or maybe even a roof over their heads, in the next few months?

You would receive wide acclaim for seeing the writing on the wall.

We look forward to your thoughtful, even visionary, leadership in this regard.

— Jalair Box, Seattle

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