Projected losses on credit cards, commercial loans and mortgages at Washington Mutual Inc. may force the Seattle-based bank to set aside up to $30 billion for credit losses through 2011, says Lehman Brothers Inc. analyst Bruce Harting.
Last week WaMu officials reported $12 billion to $19 billion may need to be charged off of its $187 billion one-family residential home loan portfolio within four years. WaMu lost about $3 billion in the six months ended March 31.
WaMu began issuing credit cards in 2005 after the $6.45 billion takeover of Providian Financial Corp. Company officials had hoped WaMu's credit card business would help it recover from losses on subprime mortgage loans, those given to customers with poor credit. Mortgage delinquencies and defaults have badly hurt the bank.
WaMu last week announced it has eliminated 1,200 jobs that support the home lending unit, cuts affecting an estimated 3% of the company's employee base. Mounting losses caused WaMu this year to slash its dividend and raise $7 billion of capital that diluted existing shareholders. The thrift this month also stripped Chief Executive Kerry Killinger of his role as chairman, after a majority of shareholders voted to name an independent director to the role.