Kerry Killinger

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Kerry K Killinger (born June 6, 1949) is an American businessman and a former chairman and chief executive officer of Washington Mutual.[1][2]

Early life and career[edit]

Killinger was born in Des Moines, Iowa. He received his education at the University of Iowa, from which he received his BBA in 1970 and MBA in 1971. He began his career in the financial services industry in 1972, as an investment analyst with Bankers Life Insurance Company of Nebraska, and moved on to Murphey Favre in the 1976, at which he was a securities analyst and eventually a vice president.


Throughout his life, Killinger (with wife Linda) has supported charitable organizations and higher education institutions in Seattle, Iowa, and Palm Desert[3], including 2018 donations to support Cascade Public Media's Crosscut Festival in Seattle[4] and a Communications and Civility in our Democracy Summit at Iowa State University in fall 2019.[5]

Washington Mutual[edit]

Washington Mutual acquired Murphey Favre in 1983. Killinger was named executive vice president, and promoted in 1986 to senior vice president, and to director in 1988. He was named president of the company that year, CEO in 1990, and chairman in 1991. American Banker named him its 2001 Banker of the Year. In 2003, Killinger predicted that by 2008, Washington Mutual would not be identified as a bank. He said "We hope to do to this industry what Wal-Mart did to theirs, Starbucks did to theirs, Costco did to theirs and Lowe’s-Home Depot did to their industry."[6]

Faced with mounting losses from the mortgage market and steep declines in the stock price as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis, the board of directors removed Killinger as CEO on September 8, 2008. The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) seized Washington Mutual's banking divisions on September 25, 2008, and named the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as their receiver in the largest bank failure in the history of the United States.[7]

While CEO of Washington Mutual in 2007, Killinger earned a total compensation of $14,364,883.[8] In 2008, he took home $25.1 million in compensation. Killinger received a $15.3 million severance payment in September 2008 "as well as a $445,200 lump-sum payment for vacation benefits and a $300,669 'special payment'".[9]

In March 2011, Killinger and two other bank officers were sued by the FDIC for "reckless lending".[10] That case was settled in 2012.[11] As of 2013, "Killinger, who was investigated by the Justice Department but never charged with any crimes, now appears to be clear of all legal action against him."[12]

The portrayal of Killinger’s role in WaMu's downfall, told by Wall Street Journal reporter Kirsten Grind in The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual —the Biggest Bank Failure in American History[13] was challenged by Killinger in an open letter[14].

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Jesse Hamilton (December 4, 2013). "Ex-WaMu CEO Killinger Said to Be Near Settlement in Bank Failure". Bloomberg News. 
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  6. ^ Goodman, Peter S.; Gretchen Morgenson (December 27, 2008). "By Saying Yes, WaMu Built Empire on Shaky Loans". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved December 28, 2008. 
  7. ^ Levy, Ari; Elizabeth Hester (September 26, 2008). "WaMu Assets Sold to JPMorgan in Record Bank Failure". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved April 13, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Compensation for Kerry K. Killinger at Washington Mutual (WM)". Equilar. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. 
  9. ^ DeSilver, Drew (April 12, 2010). "Killinger got $25M in WaMu's final year". The Seattle Times. Retrieved April 13, 2010. 
  10. ^ Dash, Eric (March 17, 2011). "F.D.I.C. Sues Chief Executive in Washington Mutual Collapse". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved March 22, 2012. 
  11. ^ {{|title=Former WaMu CEO Kerry Killinger maintains a low profile |url=}}
  12. ^ {{|title=Former WaMu CEO Kerry Killinger maintains a low profile |url=}}
  13. ^ {{ |title=The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual-The Biggest Bank Failure in American History |url=}}
  14. ^ {{ |title=Former WaMu CEO Kerry Killinger maintains a low profile |url=}}