Reading “The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual — The Biggest Bank Failure in American History,” journalist Kirsten Grind's in-depth investigation into the demise of Washington Mutual, was an emotional experience for me as a former "WaMulian" and a named character in the book. I knew that Kirsten had really done her homework based on how many times she called me with questions as she relentlessly pursued the story, but I never imagined how much truly stunning information she would dig up. I laughed, I cried (at least twice), and I gasped out loud as I read a story I thought I knew so well. Who knew a book about a bank could be such a gripping read? Who knew there was so much more to tell?
Kirsten Grind is a Wall Street Journal reporter today, but she was covering Washington Mutual for the Puget Sound Business Journal during the tumultuous final years of WaMu's dominance of the Seattle economy and skyline. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for her work covering the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s (FDIC) takeover of Washington Mutual in September of 2008. She estimates that she read over 10,000 documents related to WaMu and interviewed hundreds of people, and her diligence paid off.