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Washington Mutual

Washington Mutual is the United State’s biggest savings and loan association and is the last remaining survivor of the many major Seattle-based banks established prior to the 1980s mergers. Despite its name, Washington Mutual is no longer a mutual company and is also not a credit union. It is composed of 2600 offices with its headquarters, WaMu Center, located in Seattle. Also, the shares of Washington Mutual are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The primary activities of Washington Mutual include providing financial services to individual consumers as well as providing financial services to small businesses.

These financial services include retail banking, business banking, consumer lending, mortgage lending, real estate mortgage, credit card services, insurance services and consumer investment services. The 2600 offices of the Washington Mutual offer assistance in any collection, if not all, of these given financial services. Ethical Position and Practices As is the practice of major corporations and associations, Washington Mutual framed for itself an ethical code on which its employees could base their dealings with customers as well as with co-workers.

This was in line with the association’s stated core value of fairness. It is the stand of Washington Mutual, based on this value of fairness, that the actions of the association are guided by fair, honest and integrity-driven ethics. In order to standardize and make official their claim to ethical practices, the association compiled and published a document named the Mutual Code of Conduct which has been implemented in company dealings ever since the 1900s.

The Mutual Code of Conduct includes different scenarios and cases that could possibly occur during an employee’s stay with the association. It also delineates the options of actions and responses that are available to that employee should he or she find himself or herself in that particular ethical dilemma. Exceptions are also stated indicating possible ambiguous cases and underlining strict rules by which these can be overlooked or excused as not being ethical misconducts. One of the ethical considerations included in the Mutual Code of Conduct are conflicts in interest.

The association defines this as a situation wherein the employees interests could possibly prevent him or her from doing his or her work fully or when these interests could compete with the dealings of Washington Mutual. Thus employees are discouraged from investing in the businesses of their customers. The exception would be if this business was a public corporation with widely held stock, or if it was a family business of the employee himself or herself and it was closely held. Washington Mutual covers almost all aspects of the employee’s dealings within the company.

The Code of Conduct includes aspects of allowable and unallowable acceptance of items of value from clients. This is due to probable bribery allegations and to policies of maintaining the prestigious reputation of the company. The detailed exceptions are also tackled regarding this matter. The Mutual Code of Conduct is so comprehensive that it even includes ethical consideration when giving gifts to coworkers. These are generally encouraged as these engender a spirit of camaraderie in the workplace.

But monetary gifts are discouraged and employees are even encouraged to consult with their managers regarding a choice of gift that would be in good taste. This only goes to show that the association is indeed bent on providing the best service to its customers by ensuring that the actions of the employees, even with each other, are checked against standard ethical codes of conduct. Social Responsibility `Washington Mutual does not only focus on being excellent in the financial services it offers its customers.

Along with the different responsibilities the association holds to its many customers, it also acknowledges its social responsibility to the community it is in. Many different projects of the company has been based on this self-same ideal. The main social goals supported by Washington Mutual include education, community development, and housing. In education, the association mainly focuses on teaching children and adults how to handle money smartly and wisely. The realization of Washington Mutual’s mission to act on its social responsibility started in 2002.

This was the year when it started work on the dream of a 10-year plan to improve and develop the communities in which the association was present. The 10-year plan involved the spending of $375 billion entirely for purposes of enhancing the different communities around which the association built its name. This plan has gone a long way from being a dream Four years from that date, the association was able to proudly boast spending $59 billion in community lending and investment commitment, $45. 2 billion in single-family lending, $16. 5 million for K-12 education, $6.

1 million for financial education, $49. 7 million in charitable cash contributions, $3. 1 million for civic betterment, and much more. Environmental Issues The social work that Washington Mutual has done does not only involve direct interactions with individuals and businesses. By allowing other entities access to its financial services, it has also been the indirect cause of much development in the community. It has even been involved with environmental issues in which the association’s actions helped to maintain the ideals of keeping a healthy environment. One such example involves the Ahmanson Ranch.

This was a vast tract of land that was involved in much debate. One side wanted to buy the land for the construction of a $2 billion golf course and housing community. Environmentalists and those who supported them, on the other hand, were vehemently protesting this development. Washington Mutual, the owner of the land, decided to sell the $2 billion land to the State of California for $150 million in order for a nature preserve to be put in place. This shows that the effects of a large financial association like Washington Mutual can have effects that are far-reaching and long-lasting.

All that is needed is proper insight as to what is most important and structured goals, ethical procedures, and social commitments. Perhaps this is the reason for why Washington Mutual is still the best at what it does.

References

Dixon, C. (2004). From the crucible of a battle, a jewel of a park emerges. New York Times Retrieved December 8, 2007 from http://query. nytimes. com/gst/fullpage. html? res=980DE1D61530F930A25752C0A9629C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1 Washington Mutual. (2007). Code of conduct. Washington Mutual Inc.Retrieved December 8, 2007 from http://investors. wamu. com/Interactive/LookAndFeel/102028/04_24_07_Code_Approved. pdf Washington Mutual (2006). Community partnerships: turning dreams into reality. Washington Mutual Inc. Retrieved December 8, 2007 from http://www. wamu. com/NR/rdonlyres/795A80FB-428A-4A36-804C-6E22C6733392/0/2006WaMuCommunityReport_051630507. pdf Washington Mutual (2007). The WaMu difference. Washington Mutual Inc. Retrieved December 8, 2007 from http://www. wamu. com/about/wamudifference/default. asp

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