WaMu failed to heed lesson learned in '80s

Part 1: Largest bank failure in U.S. history

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Twelve years ago, Washington Mutual was on a can’t-miss roll.

The Seattle-based thrift had made 22 bank buys since 1983 and increased its lead over the competition in mortgage lending in all Northwest states. It was riding high on the commercial success of the "Rodeo Grandmas," a television advertisement featuring four women aged 68-92 who adoringly yodeled and roped viewers into "corralling" WaMu’s new concept of free checking for its customers.