Story breaking in the USA this week is all about Washington Mutual (WaMu), the Seattle-based mortgage bank closed down by the FDIC in September 2008 to be taken over by Bank of America.
What a difference a year or two makes.
In 2006, just two years before their collapse, an employee annual jamboree for the best staffers took place in Hawaii – the "President's Retreat" – and resulted in a range of amusements which WaMu has been desperately trying to keep secret, but are now revealed in the Senate Committee's investigations.
Not surprising they wanted to keep these things quiet as they had a few fun moments that are great for internal morale and motivation … but can look a bit dubious externally.
For example, they staged a mock funeral
their biggest rival, Countrywide Financial, a mortgage lender that collapsed just eight months before WaMu and, like them, was 'saved' by Bank of America in January 2008.
WaMu's take on Countrywide in 2006?
Well, as four pallbearers entered stage left with a coffin emblazoned with the Countrywide logo, the WaMu host said: “So many of us warned the dearly departed about the risky – some say
reckless – behaviour they engaged in,” and then the sound system broke into the great songtune: Na na na na, na na na na, hey, hey hey, goodbye.
This was followed by the rather amusing rendition of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s hip-hop hit “Baby
Got Back.” Now, you may not be familiar with that song so, just in case, here's the original:
And the WaMu words go like this:
I like big bucks and I cannot lie
You mortgage brothers can't deny
That when the dough roles in like you're printin’ your own cash
And you gotta make a splash
You just spends
Like it never ends
Cuz you gotta have that big new Benz
All of that bling you're wearin'
Shining so bright peoples starin'
It's crazy, I gotta ski Aspen
That's all I'm askin'
The presentation included cheerleaders moving in time to the
music and choreographed moves by the singers. A kind of Glee, 2006 stylee.
Here's the whole of the original papers aired in court: