WaMu Online Banking Treats You Like A Criminal

With all the focus on the girl rocketing across the desert in a supersonic purple dildo, Washington Mutual forgot to mention one thing. When you sign up for a new account with them online instead of in person, be prepared to be treated like a criminal at every turn. Here’s Brett’s story of why he and his partner don’t bank with WaMu, and never will again…

Brett writes:

Mark (my boyfriend) and I decided to move our accounts to the same bank to facilitate account transfers easier. Figured why not try a new bank while I was at it. We chose WAMU based on some research that showed them to have the lowest fee’s and the no charge ATM fee’s for foreign banks.

We opened our accounts online, after answering all the security questions we were in business. I switched my direct deposit, and began using the account. When it came time to pay the rent, mark attempted to get me his portion of the rent. He did a $1000 transfer using his debit card from commerce (considering it a cash advance). We waited a few days, and when we tried to buy new iPhones , he swiped his wamu MasterCard (debit) and it came back declined. After calling he found out that his deposit was put on hold and flagged as suspicious.

Unfortunately I had already deposited his check. My deposit was also put on hold. Needless to say neither of us had this money available. They apologized for the inconvenience, but was assured we wouldn’t get caught with any bounce fee’s. Finally a week after he made his deposit we received a letter outlining this hold, I’ve attached an example.

A week later it happened to me, a check I deposited was put on hold resulting in a bounced check to my roommate. I also made a deposit of my payroll check later that week, also put on hold. After several calls to customer service and talking to supervisors, I had most of the holds removed. In order to get the $1000 from the bf to pay my roommate, we went into a branch, we asked for the $1000 as cash, and then we would then deposit the cash into my account. The teller at the station told us she would do a transfer from his WAMU account into my WAMU account, assuring us it would be treated as cash, and would be available as such.

As my boyfriend was closing his account, the branch manager told us in the future if he wanted to reopen an account, to do so in person. She said these problems are common for those who open accounts online. After waiting a few days, and feeling confident there wouldn’t be any other holds set on my account, I gave the go ahead to the roommate to cash the check. He did, a week later I get the attached letter; it happened again!

So I called Loss Detection,and she said that the branch had processed it as a check and not cash. I was admittedly upset by this time, and told her as such. Her response to me was she would hang up on me if I insulted her. I of course was level headed through out the conversation, but was taken aback her immediate response was to threaten me. In the end, she was able to clear the hold, but not before the other check bounced.

Apparently WAMU has a policy putting new customers on “probation” for 90 days, this is a ridiculous amount of time and terrible customer service. I understand most banks have probation periods but not as long, or as strict.

We have both since switched to chase and closed these accounts.

It’s disingenuous to advertise signing up for banking online like it’s super easy and awesome, and then use a different set of rules that punish the customers that just did what you told them to do.

GALLERY

END

Comments

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  1. Megladon says:

    Well its natural for a bank to be suspisous of you, after all with the ecconomy the way it is, who has that kind of money to make deposits like that, and then they expect you to be late on your bills anyways, how can you blame the bank through all this?

  2. ScubaSteveKzoo says:

    This is a major hassle. I have heard SOME good things about WaMu, but stuff like this really deters me from trying to switch banks. I have had Standard Federal/LaSalle, which BoA bought and I know I should be worried in the future.

  3. Bakkster_Man says:

    Man, I was angry that my bank MADE me sign up online for eBanking, rather than in person. Seems like a huge security risk, and one I’d rather not take with my money.

  4. hills says:

    I’m new at KeyBank and they put holds on nearly everything during the 1st 30 days of having my acct open – I’m almost at 30 days, so hopefully after this they’ll quit placing holds on everything….I agree with OP that 90 days is excessive. The day I first went in to make a simple deposit it took 20 minutes (apparently because I opened my acct online and was a new customer) – I almost closed the acct right there and went up the street to Wamu, but the Consumerist was ringing in my ears telling me not to go to Wamu under any circumstances…. even though it’s so much flashier and cooler inside and their “tellers” are “listeners” (cheesy!)…

  5. tasselhoff76 says:

    Actually, I have a similar story and I opened my account in person. This was years ago, but the bank I used was being bought out and the branch I had opened the account at (in another city years before that), was being bought by a different bank that was nowhere near me.

    I wrote a check from my account before the buyout had finished and used it as an opening deposit at WAMU. A few days later, I received a letter from WAMU accusing me of fraud and larceny and they said that I was going to go to jail. Good times.

    I ended up, after going to both my old bank and the WAMU branch I opened the account at and back to my old branch, telling my old bank’s branch manager what happened and it took her calling and screaming at WAMU’s branch manager to fix it.

    What WAMU had done was not process the check. Instead, they had called my old bank, which got routed to the new bank’s offices and confirmed that there was a sufficient balance in the account to cover the check. Because that account number did not match-up in the new bank’s system, the new bank said, “No.” If WAMU had simply processed the check, as normal, this would not have happened because the routing number on the bottom of the check would have told the new bank to look at the old accounts and they would have paid on the check, which is what ended up happening.

    WAMU never apologized to me for any of it. Years later, when I went to open an online account with WAMU (great interest rates), I was somehow red-flagged in WAMU’s internal system. It took me days to finally get a manager willing to talk to their screening company to figure out why there was an internal flag in the WAMU system on me, even though I had been an account holder for 10 years. Insane. WAMU is horrible, but I like their interest rates.

  6. Scuba Steve says:

    “WAMU is horrible, but I like their interest rates.”

    sigh…

  7. Bye says:

    We signed up at WaMu in person about 5 years ago and still had issues similar to this. Every single time we would deposit a check (with money in our accounts that exceeded the deposits) we would get one of these wasteful letters mailed to us. Then they started charging us little fees for moving our money across our own accounts. After 2 months, we got out of there. They’re so ridiculous, I moved those WaMu accounts back to BofA where at least I know how to avoid their games.

  8. MrDo says:

    I’m so glad I could move to Navy Federal Credit Union (option not available to the general public). After years of pure hassles with Wells Fargo, I have never had an issue with NFCU, in fact I’ve never had to pay a fee of any kind, because they will always remove them if asked (at least that has been my experience).

    As high as the profit margin is on banking (around 21% for most) you would think they could afford to be a little more customer conscious.

  9. morganlh85 says:

    Credit unions, people. Credit unions.

  10. RageTowers says:

    I love my credit union. I haven’t had any hassles with them. Granted I’ve had my account with them since birth (thanks mom!) I don’t think I would ever switch. I was able to open a checking account with no problem at all.

    I would highly recommend getting in one

  11. tasselhoff76 says:

    @Scuba Steve: I know. It’s terrible.

  12. toddkravos says:

    @hillsrovey: KeyBank does not play with Mint.com well. So much so that they lock YOU out of your online account. It is for this reason I dumped Keybank

  13. HomersBrain says:

    I opened an account online at Wamu and until recently everything was great. Now they’ve started putting holds on my deposits. I spoke to cust svc and they said, “just go in the branch and they’ll take off the hold.” I go in the branch and they say, “since you opened your account online I can’t do anything for you” WTF ?..they act like its two different companies.

  14. The same exact thing happened to me and my wife with WaMu several years ago when we opened an account with them.

    The first check deposit we made had WaMu put a hold on our account, and we bounced two checks. I canceled the account two days later.

    We had about $700 balance, and I deposited a $1000+ check. We then paid a a couple of bills, one about $150 and another one roughly $300 if I remember correctly. I do remember that the checks totaled under the $700 we had in the account. The checks still bounced because of the hold.

    It was an interesting experience trying to explain to the bank manager why we were kinda upset. She never got it. We never went back.

  15. hills says:

    @toddkravos:
    Thanks for the heads up – I was actually looking forward to getting started with mint.com after reading such good reviews. Bummer!

  16. MissTicklebritches says:

    Shit, I just opened a WAMU account online yesterday.

    BTW, not everyone has access to credit unions.

  17. B says:

    @toddkravos: I found out from Keybank the reason this happens is they have a policy where if you access your account five times without registering your pc, it locks you out automatically. Supposedly they are getting rid of the register step, so this issue should go away.
    Back OT, banks do have regulations for flagging large transactions as suspicious, but those are limited to 5 or 10 grand and above, depending on the type of transaction. WaMu’s policies seem quite excessive. So much for them being different than the big banks.

  18. stacye says:

    My husband and I had this EXACT same problem with Wells Fargo. It took about 3 months before they stopped doing it. I still had my old checking account with Comerica open, and I went back to them. Comerica never pulled this crap with me.

    He still has his account with them, and hasn’t had trouble since the 3 month probationary period. Thankfully, I paid for almost everything out of my Comerica checking account, so we had no bounced check issues.

  19. HunterZ says:

    Switched from WAMU to Chase? Oh man…

  20. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    I’ve banked with Wamu for 5 years and never had any problems. I pay no fees. They do hold deposits for a couple days but what bank doesn’t? I transfer money in and out of my different savings/checking/CD accounts all the time with no delay and no fees. I bank online with them and also bank in person. I think it’s a great bank. Much better than Chase.

  21. xwildebeestx says:

    I’ve never had a problem with Washington Mutual in 6 years. Then again, I also know how to use apostrophes. Coincidence? I think not!!

  22. muckpond says:

    @xwildebeestx: hahahahahahaha!

  23. balthisar says:

    Fees is the correct plural of fee. I couldn’t get much out of the article, because all of the “fee’s” kept distracting me. Now I’m not blaming the consumer here, but The Consumerist has an editor, right?

  24. BrianDaBrain says:

    I use a local credit union and highly recommend this option to anybody who gets hosed over by a large bank. You’ll never go back!

  25. Jubilance22 says:

    When I switched to my credit union, I had ZERO holds on anything. I’ll never go back to a big bank again.

  26. 3drage says:

    You should really put the blame on the wonderful US PATRIOT act and BSA, they came up with a bunch of stupid restrictions on cash deposits and transfers.

  27. floraposte says:

    I’m at a credit union, and I like it all right, but it’s not quite the promised land some descriptions would suggest. There are fees, there are frequent holds on deposits, and the “fraud protection” limits debit and credit card usage considerably (I never use the former, and I’ve gone elsewhere for the latter). It’s got smaller overall resources than a big bank, and some of the policies reflect that.

  28. TVGenius says:

    Wells Fargo pulled this crap with an insurance check I got for $15,000 in damage to our house from a storm. When I initially deposited the check, they only credited about $1000 to my account, then would add another $3-4K every 4-5 days.

  29. PeteyNice says:

    I never had a problem with holds at WaMu but then I opened the checking account part (which I only have because I needed it to get a savings acct) at a branch. They have never held anything that I have deposited. However, I know they are not sweetness and light and do not doubt the OP’s story.

    I cannot stress Schwab Bank enough. They are awesome. They have also never held any of my deposits which is important since they have to get all the way to Nevada from the east coast when I mail them. If their interest rate was a little higher I would ditch WaMu and do all my banking with Schwab.

  30. lannister80 says:

    credit unions are the way to go!

    Credit Union finder:
    [www.findacreditunion.com]

  31. Etoiles says:

    @morganlh85: The thing is, sometimes it’s really, really advantageous to have a national bank.

    I grew up in Boston. I went to college in western Massachusetts. Then I lived in New York City for several years. My parents are in Rhode Island. I live in Virginia. I work in Maryland. My boyfriend’s family lives in North Carolina. So “home,” for me, is pretty much the entire eastern seaboard from southern North Carolina up to southern New Hampshire. And the way our society currently is, I’m not the only one mobile like that.

    That said, I don’t use WaMu. And my bank, other than constant sales pitches, hasn’t done anything offensive or evil to me with the account I’ve had since 1995.

  32. Jubilance22 says:

    @floraposte: I guess those things vary by credit union. Mine doesn’t nickel and dime me with fees, and my debit card has a $5000 limit before the “fraud protection” kicks in. My mom’s credit union has a limit of $1000 for fraud protection though, which sucks.

  33. hoot550 says:

    Wamu did this exact same thing to us when we first opened our account. We got this letter after depositing our paychecks from a fortune 50 company. We were waiting for direct deposit to change, so got a paper check in the interim. They told me that it was possible that even the direct deposits could be put on hold. WTF? They never were, but this is what a supervisor told us.

    We closed it after moving to a state where there are no Wamu branches. We were told that we *must* got to a Wamu branch in person to close the account. I told them I was not going to drive 800 miles to do that, they could just let that $1.89 set in my account forever. I ended up writing them a letter and they did close it eventually.

    I bank with a local community bank now and, while they’re nice and have fewer obstacles to speaking with a human being, they tend to be a pain sometimes too.

    FWIW, I’ve also used two credit unions before and those were the absolute worst “banking” experience in my life. So I’ve come to the conclusion that the process of banking in general destined to be a pain. Having low expectations makes a lot of difference.

  34. krom says:

    Hey Consumerist, if I register ihatewamu.com, and put a banner for it on my house, will you post it? Has the imbalanced BoA hatering come to an end?

  35. Pasketti says:

    @balthisar: Me too. It’s like nails on a chalkboard.

    [angryflower.com]

  36. InsaneFurry says:

    Supersonic Purple Dildo, now that’s a great name for a rock band!

  37. strathmeyer says:

    I use an online bank, so I’m really getting a kick out of these replies.

  38. azntg says:

    Personally, I’ve had the good luck to have no problems with Washington Mutual in terms of serious banking problems. I did have issues with employees of my local branch (and I now go to branches in the adjacent neighborhoods when necessary)

    @MissTicklebritches: “BTW, not everyone has access to credit unions.”

    Quoted for truth. If you are a resident of New York City, with no special connections and would prefer to do business with a local credit union (reasonable accessible by walking/driving/mass transit), you’re more or less out of luck. Your only options involve credit unions with either: 1) no internet banking option or 2) have rates/fees that are outright worse than big banks.

  39. nicemarmot617 says:

    I used to bank with WAMU. I switched when they stopped maintaining/refilling their ATMs last winter. I would have to go all over NYC looking for functional ATMs with cash in them, or else go wait in the huge line with everyone else who already tried and failed to use the ATM. Not to mention, if you needed cash on the weekend you were just screwed.

    Not that Chase is any better. I signed up with them online (they claimed it was quicker and easier) and it took me 6 months to get the account working properly. Seriously. First they claimed my transfer from WAMU was bad (probably WAMU’s fault), then they claimed I had opened the wrong kind of account, and then they took 4 more months to send me my first set of checks. Now that it’s finally working, I’m so tired of trying to find a decent bank that I just gave up and stuck with Chase. And no, I can’t switch to a credit union. NYC doesn’t have any good ones (i.e. ones with more than 1 ATM/branch in a 10 mile radius)

  40. @johnfrombrooklyn: What bank doesn’t put holds? Citibank. I think they only put a hold on me once, when I closed an account at a different bank and had a $5000 check to deposit. And even then, they only put a hold on half of it. I’ve never had to avoid insane fees at Citibank; all you have to do is keep a minimum balance, which in some accounts is $1k (I think) to avoid all fees. That’s why I recommend them to all my friends.

  41. Corydon says:

    @johnfrombrooklyn: I have the same experience with WaMu…had an account with them now for about 2½ years. Never had a problem with any kind of a hold at all on my money. I’ve deposited $1000 (USD) checks drawn on a Canadian bank and they let it go right through with the money immediately available.

    Plus no fees, free checks, no foreign ATM fees charged by WaMu (although they don’t make up the fee that the other bank charges). All in all I’ve been pretty happy.

    Is it possible that they like me more because I have direct deposit coming into that account? I seem to recall that banks trust people with direct deposit more. Or perhaps they treat you better if you walk into a branch to set up an account.

    The only other explanation is that WaMu has some kind of freaky multiple personality disorder and it’s a roll of the dice which one you’re going to get.

  42. I will agree this is pretty crazy but the last part where the rep threatened to hang up on Brett because he was being insulting is entirely fair.

  43. lordargent says:

    ALL BANKS SUCK

    All of them.

    /They just suck in different areas, which is why I have accounts at multiple banks.

  44. squishyalt says:

    IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    FIGHT BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If you have a problem with WaMu, please call the Office of Thrift Supervision at 1800-842-6929 and let them know about it.

    They oversee WaMu from a regulatory standpoint and are in a much better position than you or I to actually force WaMu to take the appropriate actions in your case.

    When you talk to WaMu next, be sure and mention that you have called the Office of Thrift and Supervision – it kinda takes the wind out of their sails. And, tell WaMu I said “Hi”.

  45. squishyalt says:

    If you have a problem with WaMu, please call the Office of Thrift Supervision at 1800-842-6929 and let them know about it.

    They oversee WaMu from a regulatory standpoint and are in a much better position than you or I to actually force WaMu to take the appropriate actions in your case.

    When you talk to WaMu next, be sure and mention that you have called the Office of Thrift and Supervision – it kinda takes the wind out of their sails. And, tell WaMu I said “Hi”.

  46. squishyalt says:

    Sorry about the double post – the first hadn’t shown after 3 refreshes and a post to another WaMu article so I re-submitted.

  47. DjDynasty says:

    I have the following banks that I deal with on personal banking needs for my household.
    BofA is really nice if your an advantage checking customer. Never a hold.
    National City- HORRID bank for the first 90 days you are with them. I’ve had to keep an imaginary $1,000 float in the checking account to avoid holds & over draft fees. I’ve had them charge overdraft fee’s while positive because a teller posted a cash deposit as a check.
    5/3 Bank- Opened the account, offered first box checks free, charged for checked, charged overdraft fee for the charge for checks, Wouldn’t reverse the OD fee, but gave the checks for free.
    ING direct. I like them the most, wish I had a faster way to get money deposited into their accounts.
    Chase- Has been rather good to me. Gave me a mortgage when no other bank would touch me. helped me save my mom’s house from foreclosure.
    Local credit union- 10 business day hold on *every* deposit, funds transfer between accounts, etc for the first 180 days of account opening. Previous CR closed my account because a large deposit check bounced.

  48. spikespeigel says:

    Are any of these WaMu people from Florida? Because I’ve never experienced any of these problems and hopefully I never will.

  49. DjDynasty says:

    Also, I used to have WaMu, I had my debit card cloned nearly $300 in charges before it was caught. I filed the proper paperwork to get everything refunded within 24 hours of noticing all the money missing out of my account. Faxed it back to them as well as mailed certified return receipt.

    30 days later they pulled the money back out claiming they never got the form. I faxed that form every day for nearly 45 days to every fax number I could locate for WaMu. They put the money back. 120 days later (to the day, actually the day Consumerist posted WaMu could no longer afford soap for the employee lounge) they pulled the money back out, claiming the same thing, they never received the paperwork. I handed them copies of my phone records showing the faxes, and the original faxes, and the certified return receipt. They said it was to late, they couldn’t open a claim, I was screwed. I let them close the negative account.

  50. stargazerlily says:

    Our Credit Union places a 5-day hold on any transaction and they give us immediate credit for the 1st $100 of that deposit.

    After suffering a few horror stories ourselves, we just decided to diversify and my husband and I have different accounts – each at a different bank. We have a household account, an emergency fund account, and 2 discretionary fund accounts – 1 for me, 1 for him – at 2 different banks. It’s a little more work, but it eliminates having a bank hold your funds hostage. We just move the funds around.

  51. wilstanton says:

    @MissTicklebritches:

    Actually, everyone has access to some credit union. They may not be around the corner, but they are there. Banks suck!

  52. Dyscord says:

    Thank GOD we don’t have WaMu around here in PA. Some of the banks are annoying (Parkvale) and some are downright evil (National City), but there are some banks where I haven’t heard ANY horror storries (PNC). Still…..credit unions sound good.

  53. Angryrider says:

    If they ever force me to use online banking, I might just act like Comcast woman.

  54. EarlNowak says:

    Putting a hold on a cash deposit is a violation of federal law, as per the expedited funds availability act..

  55. mlradio says:

    >>I’ve never had a problem with Washington Mutual in 6 years. Then again, I also know how to use apostrophes. Coincidence? I think not!!<<

    Har! The improper apostrophes was distracting, wasn’t it? The original poster should go back and review fifth grade grammar.

    Anyway, to the matter at hand — the problem is not limited to people who open accounts online, I had a similar problem when I opened a checking account in person. Earlier this year when I moved to Texas I opened a new account with the local WaMu, and ended up getting holds on my deposits as well (all except the first $100). Most annoying was when I deposited about $700 in cash using an ATM, and it was treated as a check (got one of those letters saying my ‘check’ was on hold until it could be cleared). Next time I walked into the branch and handed the teller the cash deposit in person and that seemed to solve the problem.

    Anyway, WaMu’s excessively long holds on deposits is/was not a dealbreaker for me. Since I don’t need the money immediately, I just accept it as a limitation of having to deal with WaMu, and move on.

    Never have that problem with my Bank of America account. (Then again, it’s in California and I opened it over ten years ago, so apples to oranges).

  56. Shark1998 says:

    @MrDo: Totally agree with you about NFCU. I absolutely love them.

  57. marsneedsrabbits says:

    @MissTicklebritches wrote:
    BTW, not everyone has access to credit unions.

  58. marsneedsrabbits says:

    @MissTicklebritches wrote:
    BTW, not everyone has access to credit unions.

    Sorry. Hit “send” too soon.

    This is possible true, as I don’t know banking regulations everywhere, but I found this site: [www.findacreditunion.com] linked from here: [www.creditunion.coop] that will try to help you find one that you can use.

    Worth giving it a try.

  59. mac-phisto says:

    the probationary period is standard for most financial institutions – even credit unions. some are more restrictive than others, but overall you can expect limited leeway in the first few months of opening an account – virtually all “over the counter” fraud occurs within this time period.

    & you can expect it to get worse. some new regulations to combat ID theft (dubbed “red flag regulations”) are going to take effect pretty soon. you will find that banks/cus are going to start implementing more stringent authentication methods soon.

  60. TexasBelle says:

    Call me an elitist, but Wamu’s marketing is just too lowbrow for me. It makes me think they’re trying to appeal to the … um … less savvy, less well-heeled crowd. I don’t consider myself a member of that crowd, so I figure Wamu doesn’t have anything to offer me. And I’m not too surprised to hear about the new-account probation thing. It would be a logical way for Wamu to protect itself from the very clientele it’s woo[hoo]ing with its lowbrow marketing.

  61. Landru says:

    Wamu is one of the shakiest banks in the whole sub-prime thing and are often mentioned as one of the banks likely to go under. Granted, it’s FDIC insured, but who needs the hassle? A little research can go a long ways towards avoiding headaches.

  62. ztoop says:

    I have to second PeteyNice.

    Schwab banking is great. I have had no problems with any holds on my account, despite shuffling money between all my other checking/savings accounts for a week or so after opening it. They actually called me after opening my account to ask if I had any questions for them (and never tried to even sell me a single thing).

  63. Alex Brewer says:

    Hey Consumerist. Why do you refer to Brett’s boyfriend as his “partner?” He’s his boyfriend. Don’t be scared to death of offending someone and use the words the reader gave you ;) It’s tantamount to calling a man’s girlfriend his wife.

  64. NinjaMarion says:

    @floraposte: Exactly. Credit unions aren’t some magical fairy land of happy banking like so many commenters like to imply. Not only have I been a member of a credit union (one that sucked horribly and has screwed over myself, my grandmother, and my mom on various occasions), but I worked at a credit union call center taking calls for hundreds of credit unions across the US.

    All credit unions are just as good or bad as all banks. It depends on the individual people staffing them to determine whether or not you will receive good service. We had all sorts of calls of holds being placed when they shouldn’t or not being released or fees that shouldn’t have been charged or the CU never returning calls, etc. Almost all of the credit unions were horrible when it came to servicing their customers, and generally speaking, our hands were tied to do anything for the member either, with us usually being able to do nothing more than email the CU requesting a callback for the member (which just angers the member more when they’re already complaining that the CU isn’t returning calls).

    On the other hand, I’ve been with National City ever since getting fed up with my credit union and they’ve been great. They approved me for a credit card with no hassle after getting the runaround from stupid CU employees causing me to be denied three times in six months, no minimum savings balance to keep an account, and they’ve just been pleasant to deal with in general otherwise. One way to look at it would be that while you have a share in the ownership of a CU and they’re non-profit, that results in no incentive for good service, whereas a bank has to work for you to earn your money. That would be a narrow, stupid view to take, but in my experience is far more true than the “Switch to a credit union. They are infallible.” line of thinking, which is an equally narrow, stupid viewpoint.

    Credit union or bank, the important thing obviously is to do some research and find a place with a good reputation and employees that actually seem to give a crap about their job and good customer service.

  65. INTPLibrarian says:

    @johnfrombrooklyn: TCF has never put a hold on any deposit I’ve made. I have access to the money immediately after I deposit it.

  66. fancyxamy says:

    this EXACT same thing happened to me. every detail. except add to this EXACT scenerio the fact that they told me this “holding deposits for 7 business days” thing would only last for the first 30 days. wrong. after the 30 day period, i deposited a paycheck and it was held for 14 business days! i too had arranged for automatic bill payments to start and had turned in my rent check, both of which resulted in NSF fees and me feeling like a loser who cant pay my bills. ironically, i closed my accounts with them today and they did not seem shocked when i called them only 2 months after opening these accounts to close them. treating customers who trust you with their money like criminals obviously produces this outcome quite often. i haaaate washington mutual.

  67. @Intangible_360: At least according to his story, he never insulted her, just told her that he was upset; whether the preemptive warning was necessary was another matter. On one hand, she could have been more empathetic initially, but on the other, the warning could have prevented the caller from taking it to the next level and insulting her, thus being hung up upon and wasting everyone’s time. I guess it depends on the way she said it…

  68. BigFoot_Pete says:

    A word of advise to help in these situations:

    Get a “personal banker” at whatever bank you use. After working at Wells Fargo for a few years (but no longer do), and seeing the difference in customer service, I would never go back. Personal bankers can help manage all your accounts, waive certain fees, and ensure smooth transactions so the above story never happens. You may get a call from them every so often as they try to sign you up for some new account type, but I consider it a small price to pay for ease of use and problem solving.

  69. bbb111 says:

    My local WaMu has some good staff and one outstanding customer service rep. However the phone support and back office is atrocious. I called for some information about a new credit card and they told me that I had to sign up for the card before they could tell me the terms of the card. The branch printed out an application with a set of terms, but the terms didn’t match the brochure on the counter. I called the executive office and they said someone from the credit card office would call with the answer – the credit card office called and said I had to apply to get the info. I called the executive office and after a pause to look up the case file, they repeated what the credit card office had said.

    When I closed my accounts, the local branch said they could get me the answers, but they couldn’t get the info.

  70. sega8800 says:

    I have been a happy Washington Mutual customer for the past 10 years. So far so good.

  71. hellojessi says:

    Financial institution holds are determined by Reg CC, the Fed guideline for funds availability. There is a lot of detail, including different holds for local and non-local items, but it also specifies a 30 day new customer period when holds can be longer. I’m not sure how WaMu gets away with a 90 day new customer period…

    [www.federalreserve.gov]

  72. tiatrack says:

    I closed my WaMu accounts when they sent an online bill pay to the wrong address, causing me to get late fees. When I called them, they confirmed the correct address and had “no idea why it was sent to the wrong address.”

    My husband and I now use ING direct and love it. Everything is easy to use, we get interest on our checking, and it posts charges very quickly. My husband has had WaMu for years and we tried to add me on after we got married so I had a place to deposit the rare paper check (the drawback of ING). They said they couldn’t, since he opened his account in a different state. I couldn’t believe that they couldn’t access his account information, even though he’d been using it for over a decade. He closed the accounts on the spot.

  73. hmk says:

    credit union for me, still using the same one even after I moved several states away. I’ve opened ING savings and now a checking account and am considering ditching the credit union, but not yet. credit union!!!!!! Oh my god those big banks SUCK.

  74. I was lucky enough to work on capitol Hill for a short time. We joined the House of Representatives Congressional Credit Union. That was years ago, and now we live across the country, but still use that account through credit union shared branches. I figure Congress will keep their own CU going, no matter how bad it gets out there.

  75. crashman2600 says:

    Most banks have a 30 day probation period where deposits are held, this is to prevent people from check kiting (Watch “Catch me if you can”). Whenever I have a need for a bank account I always open the account then wait 30-60 days before I start using it as my primary account. I will usually make a few small cash deposits and use the debit card a few times to put a few transactions on the books. After the 60 days you will not be subject to the holds or the problems the OP mentioned. Also it is not a bad idea to make an appearance and meet the branch manager, you never know when they might be able to help you out.

  76. dweebster says:

    I did an online signup with Citibank a couple years ago. Took them about a month to issue a simple checking account. Including TWO visits from me to a local branch to show them documents.

    Never again – Citibank OR opening an account online.

  77. dweebster says:

    @crashman2600: I’ve usually found Branch Managers at Washington Mutual and other banks helpful.

    Major problems begin if you initiate an account via online. It’s a completely different system, and seems outside the control of any brick and mortar’s manager to correct even any obvious problems.

  78. Anonymous says:

    While I agree that local credit unions have the best customer service, I split my time between WA & FL so I had to choose a bank that was national. WaMu was my only option since I refuse to bank with Bank of America. It’s been great so far, but then again, I set up my acct in-store…