September 26, 2008

Washington Mutual's Last - Press Release - Ever

By commenter demand, here's a commercial from the late, not-so-great Washington Mutual bank:


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.

Rex May has a cartoon take on WaMu.

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 to combat it through encouraging massive immigration, outsourcing, cutting tariffs, and the like.) 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 Bullshit Years.

68 comments:

halfbreed said...

The Seventies were the Me Decade, and the Eighties were the Decade of Greed (soon to be eclipsed), but what were the Nineties called? If they were named, it escaped me.

dearieme said...

"chief executive, Kerry K. Killinger,...": his (or her) initials are KKK and you made nothing of it?

Robert said...

I saw a graffito on a wall at FSU here in Tallahassee about the class of "2K8". Maybe that will become the nickname of this decade - the "2K's" or, perhaps more appropriately,
the "2K0's".

headache said...

Good posting!
We are seeing the effects of the 68 revolution all around us. By now the march through the institutions has been completed, and the next generation of hippies are sitting at the levers of power throughout the western world. In the US we have the diversity meltdown and in Europe Islamisation. I would be interested in a "popular sociology" piece from Steve about the connection between the hippies and the current mess. In addition I think the "Bullshit Years" does not aptly describe the roll that certain radical ideologies of the hippies played: cultural relativism, religious relativism, promiscuity, adultery, drugs, easy going on crime, conscious lowering of standards, dress codes etc. How does it all fit together?

Anonymous said...

yes! The Bullshit Years--brilliant. We were BS'd into fear, war, mayhem (more to come), social displacement or replacement, financial disaster (ditto) and possibly fascism.
I can see it now, a columnist in the future: "...and during the Bullshit years...

there'll be a lot to clean up. Get out the brushes.

Anonymous said...

The Naughty Oughties.

Outland said...

Bullshit years?

How about "the Bush years", the age of do-goodery.

Memo for the 2010s: first do no good

rightsaidfred said...

Here's a link that says the same thing, but in a totally different way.

here

Evil Sandmich said...

I had heard someone before the turn of the century pitch "The Singles". I thought it was pretty cool, but it never caught on for whatever reason.

Anonymous said...

The Naughty Oughties?

Anonymous said...

The Naught Years

Darwin's Sh*tlist said...

I work for a large (and, yes, considerably troubled) financial institution which has also racked up tons of those same diversity awards the past few years.

As you might expect, the awards are touted on the firm's internal home page. Interestingly, at other times major grants (or, ahem, "partnerships") to the awarding organizations are similarly touted. I know, for example, that the firm has received awards from the HRC, and has been a major sponsor for several of its regional and national events.

Has anyone ever looked into these awards to see how often this happens? In the grand scheme of things, not a huge problem, but interesting nonetheless.

Darwin's Sh*tlist said...

Oh, and regarding naming the decade - the BS years is fine. If we revert to the old third-digit convention, then we'll have to hear "But it's the (decade)" used as an argument for why something stupid should be normalized.

George said...

Be Patient Steve. It hasn't played out yet. We may yet end up calling it The Cannibal Years.

Henry Canaday said...

American brevity would prefer "The Naughty Ought-ies."

But German philosophers and composers (they come to much the same thing) prefer long, capitalized nouns, so might refer to this decade as "Die Vielfaltdaemmerung," or "The Twilight of Diversity."

Whenever anyone in Washington mentions the word Diversity in coming years, wags will counter with, "you mean $1.3 trillion?"

SFG said...

You know, Steve, I wish the Left could make common cause with the Old right and throw these bums out. I see the same analysis of the banks and the elites bleeding us dry from both you and the Nation, and it's too bad the ghosts of 1965 keep us from joining forces.

Anonymous said...

The average executive level manager has views on racial and cultural issues that are similar to the average sociology professor.

Anonymous said...

I think the decade should be titled the "Aughts", like Grampa saying "back in aught-7, we took the pony to town"...That way it can double as "oughts", like "we ought to have done some credit research before giving them that loan", "we ought to have thought about how much that medicare plan was going to coast", "we ought to have sent more troops to Iraq sooner", etc.

Jockney said...

Steve,
in the UK, this poxy decade is sometimes known as the 'noughties'.

Sideways said...

I wonder how many points they were awarded for their stereotyping in their commercials

Jim O'Sullivan said...

This, too, is one of my pet peeves.
What did they call the 1900's? The oughts?
"Soft music" FM stations tell us that they play hits from "the eighties, the nineties, and today." In ten years, this will be "the nineties, the oughts and today!" I like it!

Eric Falkenstein said...

Beautifully illustrates your point, and how truly deep this massive mistake is. That is, believing in something so big and so wrong, that even today is not well recognized (lots of blame on derivatives, greed).

Anonymous said...

I've been calling them the naughties, which seems an appropriate description of banks behaviour

kurt said...

The second half of the 90's was also the bullshit years.

The early 90's sucked in that we had a rather nasty recession. However, it did purge the 80's excess out of the economy. The economy did start to have small to medium sized business driven growth starting around 1993. However, Greenspan started pursuing an inflationary monetary policy and cheap credit bubble around 1995 that has led to all of the BS that we have had ever since.

Close the F'ing Borders said...

"I can't come up with anything more descriptive and accurate than The Bullshit Years."

How about the "Sailer told you so" decade?

Anonymous said...

You should go to youtube and search for "WAMU commercials". There was an Ad campaign which featured "old fashioned bankers" (old white guys) and the hip (Black) WAMU banker who schooled them in the new ways of banking.

Anonymous said...

I thought this decade was the Noughts. Which might also be appropriate symbolically.

Svigor said...

but nobody has agreed upon a quantitative title for this decade

The Aughts didn't seem particularly apropos until recently...

Bill said...

Remember the WaMu commercials that poked fun at stuffy old white men? There was always some hip young woman or minority setting them straight.

The commercials were straight up racist, but I never thought they took their own marketing that seriously.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Have you seen the Wamu ads which make fun of older white men? Go look at them

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfmJWYJFYfk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ7EIKbnnkw

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Does anyone remember the WaMu ads from not far back? The ones with all the "bad" old white dude bankers and the "good," hip new black dude banker? These ads?

Pretty blatantly racist, I thought. I wasn't laughing then. I'm LMAO now.

AC said...

Whoo hoo™!

agnostic said...

I think the Nineties would be jealous of another decade having that title.

stari_momak said...

Couldn't have happened to a nicer institution. The inventors of the racially-tinged 'Banker's Pen' and the oh so hip, not un-Obama-like spokesmen that torments those old stuffy white guys. If I were in the US right now I'd go down to a local branch and do a little celebration dance.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, we can indulge in a little virtual schadenfreude.

Anonymous said...

"If these stodgy old bankers think an idea is wrong, then we know it's right"

Lol.

M.A. said...

The bubbling naughties?

Anonymous said...

My analysis:

Bwahahahahahaha!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the "O's" (as in zero). Ground zero, credit zero and if Obama is elected ...

testing99 said...

SFG -- The Left IS the problem. The bailout bill crafted by Pelosi, Reid, Obama, etc. gives billions to the National Council of La Raza and ACORN.

Heck ACORN already got billions courtesy of Barney Frank and Chuck Schumer.

What the decade of the 2000's should be named is the decade of delusions.

Delusions that nuclear proliferation without fear and deterrence down to the tribal level, deep and constant fear, won't result in nuked American cities.

Delusions that diversity = wealth, see Richard Florida, "Gays + minorities = wealthy cities."

Delusions that failing to deal with problems: Social Security, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc. will make the problem simply go away.

Delusions that multiculturalism and PC will prevent hardened tribal killers from from well, killing lots of Americans. Delusions that the wide oceans still protect us, in the era of global container shipping. Delusions we can suddenly turn either isolationist and removed from the world or exploit the collapse of the USSR forever. Delusions that peace, love, and understanding will fix everything.

Delusions that everything has its price, and nothing is for free.

Anonymous said...

", but what were the Nineties called? If they were named, it escaped me."

the "Gay 90s" would be reasonably appropo. Great strides were made concerning their visibility in them media.

Bill said...

kurt said...

The second half of the 90's was also the bullshit years.


I would agree. The Bullshit years lasted from about '95-'06.

I remember feeling this vague unease about how things were changing back in the mid-late '90s. High school kids driving brand new SUVs, urban festivals and traditions suddenly becoming overpriced corporate showcases, gay pride marches becoming the dominant urban parades...

I was just old enough to see how thoroughly hard-won values were being rejected for some brave new world that foolishly tossed received wisdom in the trash.

Anonymous said...

the whiteRpeopler decade

desmond jones said...

"The Platinum Age of BS" with apologies to Michael Magee aka Fred C. Dobbs aka Cyril Sneer.

Danindc said...

That commercial is the funniest. most illuminating piece I've seen in a long time. Perfect- and of course you can only find it on Sailer. Another 50 bucks for Steve.

James Kabala said...

Those ads are pretty unintentionally hilarious. I'm pretty sure the lead actor is the same guy who played a reformed white-collar criminal in an episode of The Office (U.S.), which adds another layer of meta-humor to it.

Anonymous said...

From online LA times:

As Congress argues over limits on executive pay, the New York Times reports that the chief executive of Washington Mutual, who was on the job just 17 days, is eligible for $19.1 million in compensation.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laland/2008/09/wamu-moolah-ceo.html

a Californian said...

Today, I just closed my accounts at another obsessively diverse-a-loon bank, Wachovia, which has a huge list of "diversity" awards on its webpage and the usual lists of donations to La Raza, NAACP et. al., and the usual weird, long-winded screed about how much "diversity" and "inclusiveness" is valued at their company. I had wanted to close my accounts at Wachovia for a long time, after reading an article on "Diversity Inc." praising Wachovia because apparently, 81 percent of the people in its current management training program are "people of color." I thought that was rather racist since whites are still more than 60 percent of the country's population. I fantasized about pulling my money out (which is a rather substantial amount), then writing Wachovia management a nasty letter telling them I pulled I did so because I didn't want to patronize a company that was racist against white people. I kept procrastinating though because the branch office was very convenient to my house, and the people at the front desks were really, really nice, and I'd had my account there for a really, really long time. Well today after Wachovia was fingered by the finance press as the next to fall afte WaMu, it made my decision a lot easier. Bye bye "diversity." I moved my account to Chuck Schwab, which has a "diversity" statement on its website that's about two sentences long, and that's it. I've developed a new rule of thumb: the more "diversity" awards, the more unstable the financial institution.

a Californian said...

Heh. This is a good time to savor the mantra chanted by the anti-white racist Luke Visconti, propieter of "DiversityInc.":

"Diversity management is a disciplined business subject that, properly implemented, drives productivity, innovation, profitability and sustainability."

Don't spit your drink onto the screen monitor now!

Ronduck said...

Washington Mutual was so blind to the loans it was giving minorities in part because it was based in one of the whitest areas of the United States.

Black Sea said...

I believe John Derbyshire has already dubbed this "The Era of Bad Ideas."

I can go with that.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Today, I just closed my accounts at another obsessively diverse-a-loon bank, Wachovia, which has a huge list of "diversity" awards on its webpage

Wachovia has about $100 billion in suprime ARMs on its books and it's next in line in the "bankers pen" to go belly up.

As for the name of this decade? To help give a dumb idea an extra kick in the grave, how about the Decade of Compassionate Conservatism?

OTOH, to tie cause to effect, we can call it the Decade of Multiculturalism.

Whenever anyone in Washington mentions the word Diversity in coming years, wags will counter with, "you mean $1.3 trillion?"

Yeah, why is it pols and pedants are always telling us how great diversity is? It's like they're worried if they don't keep reminding us that we might forget.

"we ought to have sent more troops to Iraq sooner", etc.

Or we ought not to have sent any at all. Or we ought to have thought there was a reason Latin America is so poor.

For all of us enjoying WaMu's demise, keep in mind that this is the diversity policy at JP Morgan Chase: more of the same, though (possibly) without the racist commercials.

"Jamie Dimon [JPMC's CEO] leads the Corporate Diversity Council—a group of senior leaders from around the globe who meet regularly on diversity action plans within each of JPMorgan Chase’s businesses. Progress is monitored, and a portion of their compensation is tied to their ability to attract, retain and lead a diverse employee base."

This is the future of working in America (an living in America, going to school in America, watching TV in America). Not just actual diversity itself, but all the propaganda telling you how great it is, all the efforts at work to hire people and promote people based on their ethnicity and race.

If diversity's supposed to be so damned good then why do they have to push it so hard in our faces to accept it? Perhaps because we know the truth?

Dennis Dale said...

The Blunder Years

simon newman said...

testing99:

"Delusions that nuclear proliferation without fear and deterrence down to the tribal level, deep and constant fear, won't result in nuked American cities."

There was an insightful TAC article some time ago that recommended tribal-level deterrence and punishment - dealing with the Pashtun *as* "The Pashtun", not pretending they don't exist and it's just Afghans, Talebans and Pakistanis. "Deep and constant fear" seems way OTT too, though - people need certainty, they need to know that if they behave well they *won't* be attacked/nuked, just as they need to know that hostile behaviour will bring certain and harsh reprisal. Sometimes I think America is more hated for its inconsistency as for anything else - people need to know where they stand. As far as Pakistan goes, I think the key to success would be the following:

1. Declare formal war on Pakistan.
2. Fight a short, victorious war with the Pakistani armed forces, sticking scrupulously to the Geneva & customary rules of war. Minimise damage to both civilian infrastructure and to the Pakistani military.
3. In victory, declare that the Pakistanis fought well and bravely, that they were honourable foes, but were outclassed by our superior technology and firepower. Sign an honourable peace - where we get Bin Laden and co, of course, and occupy the tribal areas temporarily, alongside Pakistani peacekeepers.

The result: We 'big up' the Pakistanu state and state military, we don't destroy it. We make the Pakistanis feel good about themselves and their State. Who needs Al Qaeda when the guys in crisply pressed uniforms fought the US 'almost to a standstill'?

Of course, for the US to do this would require a change in US military and political culture that would be difficult. Since the alternative is Forever War, it'd be worth it.

David said...

a californian said

I've developed a new rule of thumb: the more "diversity" awards, the more unstable the financial institution.

Exactly. I call it "the smell quotient." The greater the amount of BS, the worse the smell. And "diversity" is BS par excellence.

David said...

The worst part is, that commercial is a preview of coming attractions.

The black actor in the commercial resembles Obama. And we will be in the "pen" in real life. With America suffering the fate of WaMu.

Never has it become more imperative to buy a clothes pen and vote. Vote McCain. Why the clothes pen? To put on your nose.

Are you registered to vote? Friendly reminder: better check.

Capain Jack Aubrey said...

Diversity: Spike Lee's new movie ("The Miracle of St Anna") about a black WW2 unit. The actors are black, of course (unless Robert Downey, Jr's in there somewhere). And here's a picture of the crew.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

And as Wachovia goes down in flames, we can all ponder this, from their own website:

Wachovia has been recognized year over year as an inclusive workplace and one of the best companies to work for by many national and diverse organizations. Below is a partial listing of recognitions and awards
Wachovia has received in 2007:

1) Top 50 Companies for Diversity by DiversityInc magazine for the fifth consecutive year.

2) Top score among financial services companies on the NAACP’s Economic Reciprocity scorecard for the fifth consecutive year.

3) A score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for the second
consecutive year.

4) One of Black Enterprise’s Best Companies for Diversity.

5) Top 50 Best Companies for Latinas in the United States by LatinaStyle for seven consecutive years.

6) One of Top 10 Military Spouse Friendly Employers (Military Spouse magazine).

7) One of Elite Eight Top Companies for Women (Pink magazine).

8) One of Black MBA magazine’s top 50 companies.

David said...

cjb said

senior leaders from around the globe who meet regularly on diversity action plans within each of JPMorgan Chase’s businesses. Progress is monitored, and a portion of their compensation is tied to their ability to attract, retain and lead a diverse employee base."

This is the future of working in America (an living in America, going to school in America, watching TV in America). Not just actual diversity itself, but all the propaganda telling you how great it is, all the efforts at work to hire people and promote people based on their ethnicity and race.


What do you mean, "the future"? It's the present. And it has been so for some time now.

As discussed in Steve's/Godless Capitalist's recent post on "non-specific immune response due to intention attribution error," our society is bent on the mad goal of Racial Equality, No Matter What. It's a religious obsession, and the dangers not only to heretics but also to the broader society are as real, dangerous, and calamitous as any other devotion to falsehoods is.

M_Over_M said...

the uh-oh decade
as in boo boo
as in we're in the year 2-oh-oh-8

nick said...

Now we know how to tell when a bank is going to fail: they start to run commercials night and day practically begging for deposits.

Mark said...

My suggestion is Hispanderburg decade.

cranky matron said...

Bill wrote: I would agree. The Bullshit years lasted from about '95-'06.

I remember feeling this vague unease about how things were changing back in the mid-late '90s. High school kids driving brand new SUVs, urban festivals and traditions suddenly becoming overpriced corporate showcases, gay pride marches becoming the dominant urban parades...

I was just old enough to see how thoroughly hard-won values were being rejected for some brave new world that foolishly tossed received wisdom in the trash.


Yeah, I know what you mean. A free-floating sense of anxiety that things were too easy, too cheap, too fake, too disconnected from physical reality.

I was 19 in 2000, and felt oddly claustrophobic when another big-box strip mall would open up and offer all kinds of luxury and faux-luxury goodies at prices that even I could easily afford.

Actually, I think this was a common affliction, which helped fuel the hipster's obsession with "vibrancy."

They were all dying to feel something authentic, to feel the sting of self-sacrifice. They just chose to sacrifice themselves for something delusional.

I'd go for The Zeroes.

Michael T said...

I would agree. The Bullshit years lasted from about '95-'06.

I remember feeling this vague unease about how things were changing back in the mid-late '90s. High school kids driving brand new SUVs, urban festivals and traditions suddenly becoming overpriced corporate showcases, gay pride marches becoming the dominant urban parades...


It was up until the mid-90s you could still encounter formidable mainstream resistance to pee-cee, diversity and immigration. Some might have thought there was a real chance at reform at that point, counting on the gathering bullshit finally forcing the white majority to resist. Instead, the bullshit went into hyperdrive.

"The Blunder Years" gets my nod.

David said...

Huh. Looks like the conservative old bankers in that commercial were right after all - and Obama's little brother was wrong.

Glaivester said...

Is Kerry K. Killinger any relation to the Venture Brothers villain?

sbroadway said...

My vote: "The Crap Sandwich Years"

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/28/politics/politico/thecrypt/main4484035.shtml

Isn't this just the story of the Bush years...Republicans disliking (yet voting for and passing) legislation that betrays their conservative principles?

Anonymous said...

After reading all this, and then reading Coulter's column on the same issue, can we say out loud (or is this STILL the 'elephant in the room') the following??

Investment - of any kind- in non-White, non-European peoples - and their socioeconomic 'culture', as opposed to our own Anglo-American culture and instutions, inevitably leads, not to progress,nor to parity, equality or any other B.S. term, but merely to a 'third world' devolution of the parent culture, and a destruction of the financial infrastructure bequeathed to us by our Anglo-Saxon forebears.

Seems the comments of Jefferson and Lincoln about 'non-adaptibility' and 'impossibility of coexistence' need to be heeded for a new century.

-Fr. John

michelle said...

thank you