Payments from Washington Mutual's deferred-compensation and supplemental-retirement plans have been indefinitely suspended as JPMorgan and the insolvent WaMu holding company sort out who's responsible for what.

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Payments to current or former Washington Mutual employees from the company’s deferred-compensation and supplemental-retirement plans have been indefinitely suspended, according to a WaMu human-resources employee who asked not to be named.

But people in WaMu’s 401(k) and pension plans will continue to be paid, because those funds are held in trust, the employee said.

Following the Sept. 25 seizure of Washington Mutual’s banking operations by federal regulators and their sale to JPMorgan Chase, ownership is in question for the company’s deferred-compensation, supplemental-retirement and other “non-qualified plans,” including those from banks that WaMu acquired in the past.

WaMu personnel are researching which company now owns each plan.

Some might belong to Washington Mutual Inc., the holding company that filed for bankruptcy after its banking operations were taken over, and some could belong to JPMorgan Chase.

“It could also be that JPMorgan was able to cherry-pick what they bought, so potentially they didn’t buy that liability even if it was part of the banking operations,” the employee said.

So far, JPMorgan has declined to answer questions about the plans.

WaMu listed about 6,200 retirees in an 2006 IRS reporting form.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or