SEATTLE - When Kerry K. Killinger needed a code name for the deal that would catapult his thrift into the big leagues, he picked "The Babe."

The boyish-looking chairman and chief executive of Washington Mutual Savings Bank said he was inspired by slugger Babe Ruth because the $663 million cash purchase of crosstown rival Pacific First Bank earlier this year "could potentially be a home run."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.