Washington Mutual's long, drawn-out struggle to find a buyer came to an end late Thursday, Sept. 25, when it was announced that the nation's largest savings and loan would be bought by an even larger rival, JPMorgan Chase (JPM). WaMu customers are not expected to see any disruption in service. The deal, brokered by federal regulators, resolves the largest bank failure in U.S. history. WaMu (WM) had $310 billion in assets.
Regulators have been trying desperately to prevent the kind of run on the bank that occurred when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized IndyMac bank in July. "They had to act," former banking exec William Seidman told CNBC. Seidman led America through a previous financial crisis as head of the government's Resolution Trust Corp. in the early 1990s. The FDIC will briefly take over WaMu's deposits and branches before handing them over to JPMorgan. In exchange, the FDIC will receive $1.9 billion. JPMorgan did not acquire claims by equity, subordinated and senior debt holders, the FDIC said.