The Rise & Fall Of WaMu
*From The University Of Astrology Forum on MySpace*: http://groups.myspace.com/uoaforum
10:11 AM 09/27/2008 Sat
Last week's reports of yet another financial behemoth biting the dust, this time the nation's sixth largest bank, Washington Mutual, gives us astrologers yet another chance to watch the stars at work on the Markets. I've been spending the better part of the morning so far astrologically tracking the rise and fall of WaMu, and I must say, the results have been striking to the eye.
So far in this tutorial thread, we have been mainly focusing on the ongoing movements of the planets thru their Signs and in terms of the aspects they make to one another, to give us cues as to the ebb and flow of the Markets. On certain occasions, we've also made use of particular horoscopes, such as that of nations, or institutions, such as the NYSE and DJIA. And, we've seen a bit of how Incorporation and First Trade charts work as well, often as a compliment to the aforementioned transit movements.
The WaMu chart is no exception. It both ties in nicely to the current transit scheme, and as well, works perfectly as a diagnostic and timing tool in its own right:
Washington Mutual Sep 25 1889 Seattle WA 12PM LMT; Placidus 10 Sag 12, Wikipedia. No time is known, so "12PM" is used.
Right off the bat, we can see why WaMu was so big, and its size contributing to its eventual downfall; Jupiter both rises in and rules the Sagittarius Asc, and is the Final Dispositor of the horoscope. Jupiter represents banking and credit. Note the close trine between Jupiter and Saturn in this map it mirrors that of the ongoing trine between Jupiter and Saturn in the skies as we speak. One line of thought in astrology circles is that one can expect major events to take place when natal configurations are "repeated" in the skies after one's birth. Known as "recurrance transits" these events are carefully watched for by some astrologers. I've been quietly observing this for myself, and I have to say, that it is indeed something to lookout for, as the WaMu meltdown shows.
Saturn in the WaMu chart rules the Noontime 2nd house of finances and banking, and its position in detriment in Leo, combined with its trine to Jupiter in Sag, speaks to its overdoing it in the acquisition and more importantly, *subprime* areas. Saturn in turn conjuncts Venus, ruler of the Noontime 10th house - the CEO - and is in Mutual Reception with the WaMu Sun, itself fallen in Libra. Another signal of bad decisions made at the top.
Venus is dispositor of no less than four planets in the WaMu chart - including the Sun, we also have the Moon, Mercury and Uranus all in Libra. This extreme emphasis on the Sign Libra brings our attention to that area of the Zodiac; in more recent years, WaMu was dedicated to lending to *everybody*, a classic Libran focus insofar as fundamental fairness is concerned. Yet, a major tenet of good banking is to assess risk properly; lending to those who have little ability to repay loans or credit, is a cardinal sin in the banking world. In short, it doesn't pay to "be nice" in the world of Finance, as WaMu has clearly learned.
Another key feature of this map is the rare Neptune-Pluto conjunction in Gemini, something that happens only once in some three centuries or so. Note how this conjunction is trine the Sun, and Pluto also trines the Moon. Neptune, as has been observed before, is not friendly to the World of the Markets, and almost always promises scandals, cooking of the books and other nefarious dealings, layoffs and downsizing, takeovers, mergers, and so on. And interestingly enough, a quick look to WaMu's Solar Arcs reveal an applying SA Neptune=MC!!!, to be exact only a few short months from now. The handwriting was on the wall for this bank. It was only a matter of time before it was going under. JP Morgan Chase ended up buying the bank for little or nothing, at $1.9B. Only a few years ago, WaMu posted up assets of more than $300B. My, my, what a difference a year makes.
We've observed that Venus, Jupiter and Pluto are the Money Planets, and their condition in a chart gives very strong clues as to said chart's fiscal health. For example, in the chart of the United States, it is telling that Venus and Jupiter are in conjunction, with the latter exalted and also ruling the Asc, while Pluto is in Capricorn, which for this astrologer, may suggest an exaltation placement, on the basis of the "higher octave" theory of the Outer Planets. It would certainly help to explain how the USA is among, if not the, richest nation on Earth.
In the WaMu chart, please note the following with regard to its Money Planets:
Jupiter, while angular, ruling the Noontime Asc and dignified, nevertheless is in tight aspect to a planet who both rules the 2nd house and is also in detriment, Saturn.
Venus, although also in tight aspect to Jupiter, is conjunct the same 2nd house ruler who is "hurt" by being in detriment, Saturn.
Pluto, is conjunct Neptune, and what's worse about this is that both planets are Rx.
Therefore, it was easy to see that the fiscal health of this institution was in question, on the basis of a simple assessment of its Money Planets.
Casting a tri-wheel chart that features the natal, Solar Arc and current transits, we see the following for Sep 2008:
Transit Pluto conjunct WaMu Jupiter
Later I'll post up an astrological timeline of the history of WaMu; in the meantime, here's what journalist Steve Sailer had to say about WaMu's demise earlier this week:
"Washington Mutual's Last - Press Release - Ever By commenter demand, here's a commercial from the late, not-so-great Washington Mutual bank:
Thanks to a commenter, here's the last press release from the nation's 6th largest bank on the day before it finally went under:
WaMu Recognized as Top Diverse Employer—Again Company ranks in top ten of Hispanic Business’ Diversity Elite and earns perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index SEATTLE, WA (September 24, 2008) – Washington Mutual, Inc. (NYSE:WM), one of the nation’s leading banks for consumers and small businesses, has once again been recognized as a top employer by Hispanic Business magazine and the Human Rights Campaign.
Hispanic Business magazine recently ranked WaMu sixth in its annual Diversity Elite list, which names the top 60 companies for Hispanics. The company was honored specifically for its efforts to recruit Hispanic employees, reach out to Hispanic consumers and support Hispanic communities and organizations.
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) civil rights organization, also awarded WaMu its second consecutive 100 percent score in the organization’s 2009 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which measures progress in attaining equal rights for GLBT employees and consumers. WaMu joins the ranks of 259 other major U.S. businesses that also received top marks in the annual survey. The CEI rated a total of 583 businesses on GLBT-related policies and practices, including non-discrimination policies and domestic partner benefits.
In both surveys, WaMu earned points for competitive diversity policies and programs, including the recently established Latino, African American and GLBT employee network groups, all of which have a corporate executive sponsor and champion.
“Diversity is an integral part of cultivating a welcoming, innovative and dynamic workplace here at WaMu. We are proud to be recognized for the opportunities and benefits we offer to all of our employees, including the specific efforts we have made to engage Hispanics and the GLBT community,” said Steve Rotella, WaMu president and COO. “We are committed to diversity at WaMu and pledge to listen to our customers and work closely with our employees to continue to make progress.”
These two recent honors build upon diversity recognitions WaMu received earlier in 2008. WaMu was named one of 25 Noteworthy Companies by Diversity Inc magazine and one of the Top 50 Corporations for Supplier Diversity by Hispanic Enterprise magazine.
WaMu, through its subsidiaries, is one of the nation's leading consumer and small business banks. At June 30, 2008, WaMu and its subsidiaries had assets of $309.73 billion. The company has a history dating back to 1889 and its subsidiary banks currently operate approximately 2,300 consumer and small business banking stores throughout the nation. WaMu’s press releases are available at http://newsroom.wamu.com.
Rex May has a cartoon take on WaMu.
The NYT reports:
Until recently, Washington Mutual was one of Wall Street’s strongest performers. It reaped big profits quarter after quarter as its then chief executive, Kerry K. Killinger, enlarged its presence by buying banks on both coasts and ramping up mortgage lending.
His goal was to transform what was once a sleepy Seattle thrift into the “Wal-Mart of Banking,” which would cater to lower- and middle-class consumers that other banks deemed too risky. It offered complex mortgages and credit cards whose terms made it easy for the least creditworthy borrowers to get financing, a strategy the bank extended in big cities, including Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. With this grand plan, Mr. Killinger built Washington Mutual into the sixth-largest bank in the United States.
Okay, Mr. Killinger, but perhaps by now you've noticed the fundamental difference between Wal-Mart and WaMu: Wal-Mart takes money from lower- and middle-class customers, while you gave money to them.
While our increasingly diverse lower- and middle-class American residents have been spending a lot in recent years in our vibrant, globalized economy, they haven't been making a lot. (You may have noticed that our elites were united in their horror of "wage inflation" and did their best to combat it through encouraging massive immigration, outsourcing, cutting tariffs, and the like.) In the long run, that's a problem. To cover the difference between what the bottom 2/3rds or whatever of society was spending and making, they've been going more in debt to, say, WaMu.
You were able to mark that up as profits, which Wall Street celebrated, but eventually the clock struck twelve and the carriage turned back into a pumpkin.
To broaden the subject slightly, it's interesting that we don't yet have a name for this decade yet, even though it's almost over. All other decades for the last 80 years were named directly from the third digit (e.g., The Sixties), but nobody has agreed upon a quantitative title for this decade.
Therefore, we should feel free to recommend a qualitative name. Pardon the vulgarity, but at this point I can't come up with anything more descriptive and accurate than The Bullshit Years.
My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve SailerBy Steve Sailer on 9/26/2008 Cited by 52 comments Labels: political economy"
Labels: Financial Astrology