WaMu Takes M&A Break

Washington Mutual, Seattle, which has been on an intense "buy and build" spree the past three years is now, officially, taking a respite from major acquisitions.

During a speech last week at the annual convention of America's Community Bankers, WaMu chief executive Kerry Killinger indicated that the thrift - the nation's largest - will build its base of depository branches de novo instead of through acquisitions.

For the past nine months, WaMu watchers have been saying that the mega-thrift has been on the sidelines when it comes to buying mortgage-related firms.

A WaMu spokesman clarified to National Mortgage News that the thrift will "selectively" consider mortgage acquisitions, but said future purchases will be "modest in size" and have "compelling value."

He said Mr. Killinger's comments at ACB dealt more with WaMu's current stance in regard to buying other depository franchises.

WaMu is busy concentrating on de novo growth in the Chicago and Denver markets, he noted.

The mortgage-related M&A market has been slow the past half year, with a few exceptions. In August, WaMu agreed to buy HomeSide's huge servicing portfolio, but that deal had been anticipated for a year. (WaMu was already subservicing HomeSide's portfolio.)

Copyright c 2002 Thomson Media. All Rights Reserved.

Next in News ►