Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm Getting a Bailout

For probably similar reasons that people bungee jump and eat puffer fish, through all of this I've been keeping a money market account at Washington Mutual. It's a small fraction of the savings I have, but the amount is not trivial either. The branch is right down the street from me, so I went there asking for an FDIC-insured CD, but they pushed a money market on me instead—showing me CD rates that were close to a half a percent and a money market rate closer to 3%. Suspicious, I querried about the possibility of losing money but they insisted everything was insured and it was no different than a CD, and could pull out my money whenever I wanted. So I bit. It's been working out fine, except one time after making a deposit two or three weeks ago the teller machine refused to let me make a withdrawal.

Without an exhaustive bailout everybody knows Washington Mutual is teetering on a seizure by the FDIC, which doesn't worry me particularly. I figure a bank going down sooner in this mess is better than one going down later. Still, without the sudden and rather unexpected passage today by congress of a $50 billion "backstop" for institutional money market funds, I'm wondering if I might have lost some money in all this.

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