Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Big Wheels Keep On Turnin'

Washington Mutual has put itself up for sale. It is a bank that gained a huge consumer base during the Savings and Loan debacle, by taking over several failed Thrifts. They have a lot of branches where I live. I had an account there for a while because they offered free checking, which was not common at that time. Along with the check book, they were eager to issue you a credit card that had generous cash advance provisions, at interest rates that were about the same as you would pay a six for five payday loan shark, in the old days, before Ronald Reagan "deregulated" banking.

This bank is dead meat. The stock is already worthless. Management is assuaging the concerns of stockholders, by seeking buyers, while they steal what odds and ends are left in the cash drawer. This week or next they will fall into the hands of the FDIC. This bank has a lot of depositors. It's failure will go a long way towards depleting the remaining reserves the FDIC holds. It's only money, the government can print all it wants. Compared to the 85 billion dollar bail out of AIG, this will seem like a reasonable amount.

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