Kerry Killinger said he wanted to create the Wal-Mart of banks. He attempted to do it in a curious way, by ruining the very customers he said he wanted to serve.
The spectacular train wreck that was Washington Mutual continues to be dissected a year after the 119-year-old institution became the nation's biggest bank failure.
The latest study is The Seattle Times' two-part report this week that offers a case study of how fast greed can turn a good company bad.
It lays much of the blame for the company's collapse on a reckless business strategy CEO Killinger and other executives launched as late as 2003. The idea was to boost profits by marketing risky and overpriced loans to borrowers
The tactic bared a blatant disregard for the bank's customers and a stunningly myopic business plan.
Late last year, The New York Times detailed how WaMu's once-responsible corporate culture morphed into a three-ring circus of liar-lending. Borrowers were allowed, even encouraged, to exaggerate their income and creditworthiness.
But the company wasn't just capitalizing on borrowers' greed; it was manufacturing its own.
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