On the evening of September 25, 2008, federal regulators seized Washington Mutual (“WaMu”) in what was, and still is, the largest bank failure in United States history. The government immediately sold virtually all of WaMu to J.P. Morgan Chase (“Chase”), at which point Chase took control of all of WaMu’s branches and deposits, and became the employer of WaMu’s more than 43,000 workers.
In the ensuing months, WaMu’s headquarters, which were in Washington, were shuttered and its operations were moved to Chase’s New York headquarters and other locations throughout the country. Many WaMu branches were closed rather than rebranded as Chase locations. While some employees initially stayed on with Chase, thousands were laid off. Others were offered bonuses to remain with Chase temporarily for a transition period.