In 2003, Killinger predicted that by 2008, Washington Mutual would not be identified as a bank. He said "We hope to do to this industry what Wal-Mart did to theirs, Starbucks did to theirs, Costco did to theirs and Lowe’s-Home Depot did to their industry."
Faced with mounting losses from the mortgage market and deep declines in the stock price as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis, the board of directors removed Killinger as CEO on September 8, 2008. Washington Mutual was seized by the FDIC on September 25, 2008 and sold off to JPMorgan Chase in the biggest failure in U.S. banking history.
In an article from December 27, 2008, The New York Times quotes Vincent Au, president of investment firm Avalon Partners, as saying that Mr. Killinger "has made over $100 million over his tenure based on the aggressiveness that sunk the company." As of December 2008, Killinger has not returned any money to the company's shareholders or employees.
While CEO of Washington Mutual in 2007, Kerry K. Killinger earned a total compensation of $14,364,883, which included a base salary of $1,000,000, a cash bonus of $0, stocks granted of $10,120,731, and options granted of $2,846,400.