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Washington Mutual`s Last - Press Release - Ever
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September 26, 2008, 05:08 PM
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Thanks to a commenter, here`s the last press release from the nation`s 6th largest bank on the day before it finally went under:

WaMu Recognized as Top Diverse Employer—Again Company ranks in top ten of Hispanic Business’ Diversity Elite and earns perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index

SEATTLE, WA (September 24, 2008) – Washington Mutual, Inc. (NYSE:WM), one of the nation’s leading banks for consumers and small businesses, has once again been recognized as a top employer by Hispanic Business magazine and the Human Rights Campaign.

Hispanic Business magazine recently ranked WaMu sixth in its annual Diversity Elite list, which names the top 60 companies for Hispanics. The company was honored specifically for its efforts to recruit Hispanic employees, reach out to Hispanic consumers and support Hispanic communities and organizations.

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) civil rights organization, also awarded WaMu its second consecutive 100 percent score in the organization’s 2009 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which measures progress in attaining equal rights for GLBT employees and consumers. WaMu joins the ranks of 259 other major U.S. businesses that also received top marks in the annual survey. The CEI rated a total of 583 businesses on GLBT-related policies and practices, including non-discrimination policies and domestic partner benefits.

In both surveys, WaMu earned points for competitive diversity policies and programs, including the recently established Latino, African American and GLBT employee network groups, all of which have a corporate executive sponsor and champion.

�Diversity is an integral part of cultivating a welcoming, innovative and dynamic workplace here at WaMu. We are proud to be recognized for the opportunities and benefits we offer to all of our employees, including the specific efforts we have made to engage Hispanics and the GLBT community,� said Steve Rotella, WaMu president and COO. �We are committed to diversity at WaMu and pledge to listen to our customers and work closely with our employees to continue to make progress.�

These two recent honors build upon diversity recognitions WaMu received earlier in 2008. WaMu was named one of 25 Noteworthy Companies by Diversity Inc magazine and one of the Top 50 Corporations for Supplier Diversity by Hispanic Enterprise magazine.

About WaMu

WaMu, through its subsidiaries, is one of the nation`s leading consumer and small business banks. At June 30, 2008, WaMu and its subsidiaries had assets of $309.73 billion. The company has a history dating back to 1889 and its subsidiary banks currently operate approximately 2,300 consumer and small business banking stores throughout the nation. WaMu’s press releases are available at http://newsroom.wamu.com.

The NYT reports:
Until recently, Washington Mutual was one of Wall Street’s strongest performers. It reaped big profits quarter after quarter as its then chief executive, Kerry K. Killinger, enlarged its presence by buying banks on both coasts and ramping up mortgage lending.

His goal was to transform what was once a sleepy Seattle thrift into the �Wal-Mart of Banking,� which would cater to lower- and middle-class consumers that other banks deemed too risky. It offered complex mortgages and credit cards whose terms made it easy for the least creditworthy borrowers to get financing, a strategy the bank extended in big cities, including Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. With this grand plan, Mr. Killinger built Washington Mutual into the sixth-largest bank in the United States.

Okay, Mr. Killinger, but perhaps by now you`ve noticed the fundamental difference between Wal-Mart and WaMu: Wal-Mart takes money from lower- and middle-class customers, while you gave money to them.

While our increasingly diverse lower- and middle-class American residents have been spending a lot in recent years in our vibrant, globalized economy, they haven`t been making a lot. (You may have noticed that our elites were united in their horror of "wage inflation" and did their best combat it.) In the long run, that`s a problem. To cover the difference between what the bottom 2/3rds or whatever of society was spending and making, they`ve been going more in debt to, say, WaMu. You were able to mark that up as profits, which Wall Street celebrated, but eventually the clock struck twelve and the carriage turned back into a pumpkin.

To broaden the subject slightly, it`s interesting that we don`t yet have a name for this decade yet, even though it`s almost over. All other decades for the last 80 years were named directly from the third digit (e.g., The Sixties), but nobody has agreed upon a quantitative title for this decade. Therefore, we should feel free to recommend a qualitative name. Pardon the vulgarity, but at this point I can`t come up with anything more descriptive and accurate than The Bullsh*t Years.