Former WaMu execs rally to help colleagues

Former WaMu execs rally to help colleagues »Play Video
SEATTLE -- Some former executives of Washington Mutual are trying to raise money to help current employees of the company.

Tens of thousands of workers at WaMu are grappling with their lives that were suddenly turned upside down. The company's stock and options are now worthless, and more employees are set to lose their jobs following the acquisition by JPMorgan Chase.

And some former top officials of WaMu say it's time to do something to help out.

"For a lot of us, Washington Mutual was a huge part of our lives, and for a long time it was a wonderful place to work," said a retired WaMu executive Fay Chapman.

And now, Chapman believes it's time to give back.

With her former company in turmoil and so many current employees there facing desperate times, she and others want to raise money for them.

"Anything is welcome at this point," she said. "We just want to have a big enough fund that we can actually give a reasonable helping hand to people."

These are tough financial times for nearly everybody, but the group is leaning on former employees who, as Chapman said, "were lucky enough to have sold their stock before the big mess," along with workers whose retirement plans haven't been wiped out.

"These people are retired. They have a nest egg. They want to reach back and help their old friends," Chapman said.

The goal is to pay for as many college scholarships as possible for WaMu families.

"We chose to help people pay for their kids' college because we think that's one of the things that a lot of people were saving for, and those college savings they've most likely lost," said Chapman.

The former WaMu employees contacted the Seattle Foundation, which helps with philanthropic efforts.

"We haven't seen anything precisely like this, but we're in different times than we were (in) before," said Allison Parker with the foundation.

So far, more than $50,000 in donations have been collected.

"The need will be great, and we realize we can't help everyone," Parker said. "But being able to help some and make a dent will give folks hope."

"I think a lot of them feel like they've been hung out to dry, and we don't want them to feel that way," said Chapman. "we

The group is not seeking contributions from the general public and so far, the former executives say the response from other former executives and managers has been very good.