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WaMu CEO Brings in Old Finance Friend

The two worked together at two companies from 2001 to 2007. At WaMu, the new hire will be "special assistant" to the chief executive.
Stephen TaubSeptember 12, 2008

Washington Mutual’s new chief executive officer, Alan Fishman, has brought in a finance expert he has been working with since the beginning of the decade to help him manage the struggling savings and loan.

According to The Wall Street Journal, WaMu has tapped Frank Baier to serve as special assistant to the CEO. However, he will not serve as chief financial officer, according to the paper, citing a WaMu spokesman. The current CFO is Thomas Casey.

Baier was most recently CFO and chief administrative officer of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. According to the April proxy of Doral Financial, whose board he sits on, Baier has been a consultant since May 2007 for commercial mortgage broker Meridian Capital Partners, where Fishman was chairman. From 2001 to 2006, Baier was CFO at Independence Community Bank in Brooklyn, where Fishman was CEO.

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WaMu’s shares recently fell below $3, but published reports claim that JPMorgan Chase is mulling an acquisition or some other type of deal for the embattled savings and loan.

On Thursday WaMu announced some third-quarter projections in an attempt to allay growing concerns among investors and other participants in the financial markets. Like many struggling banks, it is using retail deposits to raise capital, offering 5 percent on a 13-month certificate of deposit, which is much higher than the market rate. WaMu also said its Tier I capital ratio is well above the regulatory minimum.

The wild card, of course, is how much it will lose on its mortgage portfolio.