Announced (late) yesterday, Washington Mutual will be exiting the wholesale business and changing to a strictly retail business model. The decision was extremely surprising to me after a recent conference call I was involved in. In the call, WAMU discussed some of their plans the wholesale division. These changes were specifically targeted at reducing fraud issues, verifying benefit to borrower, etc.
I guess since they've announced they are closing, It doesn't really matter - does it?
For you're entertainment, I googled 'WAMU' under the image search feature.. This was the first photo that popped up, not kidding. I have to be honest, it's not the way I feel about it.. but it definitely took the edge off. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. So, I'm going to post it for you.. I hope you find it comforting (or something like that). Seriously, I'm still laughing.
Here's the official announcement to brokers:
"Today, WaMu announced significant changes affecting our Home Loans business. As part of this announcement, and consistent with the company's retail focused strategy, WaMu has made the very difficult decision to exit the Wholesale lending business. In order to have an orderly shut down, we have determined the following critical dates:
April 10, 2008: Last date to submit new applications or locks.
May 31, 2008: All WaMu Wholesale Sales Centers will be closed by this date.
June 13, 2008: Generally, all loans must be closed/funded by this date. We will, however, honor outstanding loan commitments with expiration dates after June 13, 2008 up until the expiration dates set forth in those commitments.
June 30, 2008: All WaMu Wholesale loan fulfillment centers (LFCs) [San Diego, CA; Pleasanton, CA; Downers Grove, IL; and Jacksonville, FL] will be closed by this date.
.. Locked loans with an expiration date prior to June 13, 2008 may be extended per current policy provided the loan is closed/funded by June 13, 2008.
.. Effective April 8, 2008, a condition will be added to each new commitment which will supersede the normal expiration provision.
.. Floating loans must generally be locked, closed/funded by June 13, 2008. Again, they may only close and funded after June 13, 2008 if a loan commitment has already been issued and the commitment expires after June 13, 2008.
.. If a loan is locked with an expiration date past June 13, 2008, it will not be honored unless a loan commitment has been issued and the commitment expires after June 13, 2008.
.. We are unable to make any exceptions regarding the closed/funded date of June 13, 2008. Again, however, we will honor outstanding commitments with commitment expiration dates beyond June 13, 2008.
WaMu will continue to originate loans through Consumer Direct and our Retail Lending channel.
Your Account Manager or Sales Manager will be available to support you while we transition out of this business.
This is a very hard day for WaMu and all of Wholesale Lending. We have appreciated your partnership and support over these many years and wish you the best as we move on to new opportunities."
I'm extremely disappointed with Washington Mutual's decision to exit wholesale. They were one of the most systematic lenders to work with and they seemed to have things figured out. They will be missed.
Now everyone's wondering, who's next?