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Field trip / interview report - Essay Example

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I didn’t expect it to happen so soon, though we knew that WaMu had tough choices. This is by far the largest bank failure in American history. Washington Mutual deserved better fate. This is a big casualty relating to the excesses of the mortgage…
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Field trip / interview report
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Order 332373 Topic: field trip interview report
Mr. Robert, District Manager of JPMorgan Chase interviewed by a newspaper reporter:
Reporter: Good morning, Mr. Robert. Are you comfortable speaking about the failure of your competitor financial institution?
Robert (District Manager): Not exactly. We Bankers are tough competitors-we have got to be! But we don’t desire another financial institution should fail.
Reporter: What were your personal reactions when Washington Mutual was seized by the federal regulators on September 25, 2008?
Robert: One of shock! I didn’t expect it to happen so soon, though we knew that WaMu had tough choices. This is by far the largest bank failure in American history. Washington Mutual deserved better fate. This is a big casualty relating to the excesses of the mortgage boom.
Reporter: What are the immediate implications for the depositors? Are their deposits secured?
Robert: The customers should be safe. The bondholders and shareholders will be wiped out. The Account holders are guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation up to $100,000, and they are provided by the backup for additional deposits by JPMorgan Chase.
Reporter: How the employees have absorbed this shock?
Robert: This is the real issue, a thorny one! The estimate is, as many as 5,000 may be axed. The Bank will close about 540 branch sites, where JPMorgan offices exist. JPMorgan will absorb about $31 million in losses (mortgages and credit card loans) that normally would have fallen to the lot of F.D.I.C.
Reporter: What have you to say about the explanatory statement of Sheila C. Bair, the chairwoman of the F. I. D. C., and I quote, “This institution was a big question mark about the health of the deposit fund; it was unique in its size and exposure to higher risk mortgages and the distressed housing market. This is the big one that everybody was worried about.” She said that the bank’s rapidly deteriorating condition prompted regulators to seize it.
Robert: She must tell the truth, because she owns the responsibility for the corrective actions. The bank was the worst hit by the housing crisis. They hired Goldman Sachs about two weeks before the federal action, to identify potential bidders. But bidders did not surface, even after several deadlines passed. In desperate situations, chain reactions are often seen. With the collapse of Lehman Brothers, WaMu customers began to withdraw the deposits. On that fateful Thursday morning our chairman and chief executive got the government notification that we are the winners.
Reporter: Was it a fair dealing according to you?
Robert: I will answer this question, but please note my observagions are off the record and not for quoting elsewhere. As a banking official, I would like to say, the government is dealing with the troubled financial institutions not with the same yardstick. Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual are allowed to collapse. As for others, like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and the American International Group, government took extraordinary measures for their stabilization. Mind you, WaMu has a 119-year run as an independent company.
Reporter: What according to you the secret behind WaMu’s initial success and the ultimate collapse?
Robert: Mr. Killinger was an ambitious man, with creative ideas in providing banking services. He reposed faith in the lower and middle-class consumers wereas other banks were too shy to provide credit to customers in that category. He provided complex mortgages and credit cards on easy terms. The least creditworthy borrowers got easy finance. The strategy yielded rich dividends and soon WaMu reached the position of sixth-largest bank in the United States. Soon, the housing market began to crumble. Branch expansion programs were put in cold storage. But to deflate the ballooning losses proved impossible. Share prices began to tumble daily and it lost confidence from all ends. WaMu stuck Share deals with more than 25 percent discount to save the situation. But such deals were counter-productive. The existing shareholders resented the discount-deals.
Reporter: Thank you Mr. Robert, for giving your perspective of the collapse of WaMu. Finally one last question. What according to you is the single most important reason for the collapse?
Robert: As a Banker, I would pinpoint the functioning of the Mortgage Division of the Bank. With such a level of delegation of powers, the checks and balances that are absolutely necessary in a financial institution, are gone. The free run of powers to the executives is the chief reason for its collapse.
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