updated: WaMu Accounts Become *Almost* Totally Chase July 24

Starting July 24, 2009, WaMu accounts will get fully transitioned to Chase. After that, ex-WaMuers will be able to fully enjoy the benefits of Chase banking, like making deposits into Chase ATMs, the full range of Chase branch banking services, and the luxury of paying Chase’s service fees which are higher than WaMu’s were.

UPDATE: Actually, this is just the second conversion. The third and last conversion will happen in the fall.

(Photo: mr.hodgson)

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  1. Skin Art Squared says:

    My WaMu account was sucked into the Chase fold quite a while ago. But I’m fine with it. I have three other Chase accounts and while yes, they have fees just like anyone else in the biz, Chase is the only one I’ve never had any problems with.

    But BOA, Amex, and Cap1 can all suck it.

    • Jeff-er-ee says:

      @BZMedia: Lucky you. I’ve never dealt with Chase before the takeover (West coaster), and I must say that I have nothing but contempt for them. I used to walk into my local branch and be greeted with smiles. Now it’s like walking into a…well…bank.

      They also just sent me a notice indicating that they’ll be bumping my credit card interest rate by 3 percentage points…more than 25% over my old rate. They didn’t give any reasons other than “business reasons”, even after talking to a (useless) Customer Service rep and a CS supervisor. Nothing has changed on my my end on the cc account, and there have not been any late payments (I’ve had the account for about 10 years with Wamu). I even talked to the people at my branch about it, asking if there was anything that they could do. They said no, and seemed to feel as though they were telling me that my mother had just died. They’re already sick of working for Chase (half the staff that I knew when it was Wamu have already left).

      It’s time to finally move all of my accounts to my credit union I guess, and cancel the cc account before the interest rate change takes effect. I’m lumping Chase right in with B of A. They’re just as evil as the rest of ‘em.

  2. savdavid says:

    RZMedia, when did you start working with Chase?

    • Coles_Law says:

      @savdavid: It is possible to have a positive experience with a company you don’t work for.

    • SOhp101 says:

      @savdavid: Actually I’ve had a good experience with Chase before the merger. WaMu had plenty of their own problems–extremely long wait times at the bank just to name one.

  3. JonThomasDesigns says:

    “ex-WaMuers will be able to fully enjoy the benefits of Chase banking”

    Humm it seems as if i lost all my benefits when Chase ate up my Wamu account

  4. Xerloq says:

    While I should have done it earlier, I’m switching to a local credit union. Bye, Chase!

  5. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    I finally wont have to wait for my Chase payroll check to clear!

    YEA!

  6. laker says:

    I actually find Chase to be awesome… their branches are filled with staff… they have that awesome ATM technology (no envelopes)… they seem really nice and courteous… and MOST importantly – they DECLARE all their fees/charges/minimums/maximums up front, which I appreciate.. (I left Commerce aka: TD Bank because of their stupid postcard that declared NO FEE ATMs! with a small lower right corner text that said “$15 charge for those who go below $100″ or whatever… just the lack of transparency bothered me, forget the fact that I don’t go below $100).

    BUT I don’t know if anyone noticed that Chase actually has some pretty jacked up text in the new agreement… when I get home I’ll pull it up – there’s a particularly egregious part that I think should be shared with folks… it’s on the 2nd page (left side on the inside) and it’s one of those we have all rights declarations about somethin… (I know there are a lot of those lol, but I found this one surprising)

    • Mina_da_mad_child says:

      @laker: It’s actually $15 for checking if you go below $100 and an additional $15 if your savings account goes below $1000.

      Pisses me off! But their customer service is the best I’ve experienced so far.

      • Jeff-er-ee says:

        @Mina_da_mad_child: I’ve had one experience with Chase CS, and it sucked. Useless reps, useless supervisors, spouting corporate li(n)es with no real explanations for why they’re doing what they’re doing with my old Wamu accounts.

        I’m glad for you that your experience has been beyond expectations, but I have to wonder what your expectation level is…

    • Kogenta says:

      @laker: Not terribly surprising. A lot of banks that I deal with have fees and reduced interest rates if your balance is below certain minimums of usually $500/$1000.
      At least with TD, the branches (at least my area branches) are usually open until 8PM whereas everyone else closes at 5PM.

  7. ehlaren says:

    I just wish they would have kept the website somehow. Wamu’s website is one of the best I’ve ever used. I don’t like Chase’s too well.

    I had a Chase account before Wamu. Funny, I know.

    • belyle says:

      @ehlaren:
      I agree whole-heartedly. The chase website sucks compared to the WaMu website. Everything was so logically laid out on WaMu’s website. With chase, I have to hunt for everything, and it’s like a 5 page process just to set up a one-time transfer.

  8. aultl says:

    Well, I *HAD* an 11% interest rate on my WaMu card. Thanks to Chase it is now a a staggering 24% interest rate. Good thing I pay in off every other month.

    • Anonymous says:

      @aultl: @aultl: Same here… they jacked my APR up to over 20%. I called and they said it would be 6 months before my account could even be considered for a reduction in APR. I asked why they aren’t using my good credit score and payment history from WaMu to determine my rate, and apparently 20% is what you get with good credit score and on time payments. Thank you Chase for taking $25 billion of bailout money to buy out competitors and punish their customers.

    • MaytagRepairman says:

      @aultl: Wow. I still haven’t gotten around to canceling my Chase credit card and I noticed they jacked me up to 10.99% + Prime Rate for a total of 14-15% while my credit union credit card still has me at 6.90%.

      • Jeff-er-ee says:

        @MaytagRepairman: Yep, same thing happened to me. I got the notice a few days ago, and will be refusing the rate increase and canceling the account. It’ll be paid off in a couple of months, transferring my deposit accounts to my credit union, and I can wash my hands of Chase (away-their-own-customers).

    • brink888 says:

      We had a 9.99% APR on our WAMU Mastercard. Chase also gave us a nice “welcome” gift of changing our APR to 35.86% on our May statement. We ended our banking and credit card relationship with them on Saturday when they could not explain why they changed our APR. Maybe our credit score was too high or that we paid off our credit cards regularily. @aultl:

    • Corydon says:

      @aultl: Yeah, I got the same massive rate hike too from Chase, coincidentally just before the President signed that new consumer credit bill. What are the odds?

    • Saisu Mimen says:

      @aultl:

      Same here; not only that, but with WaMu I could check my credit score (in a cool little graph!) for free whenever I wanted. I can’t seem to find that option on the Chase website :(

  9. Cameraman says:

    WaMu called me last week and asked me to take a customer satisfaction poll regarding my local branch last week. I gave them 10 out of 10 on every criteria only because they wouldn’t let me give 11 (not having heard of Spinal Tap in India, one supposes). Seriously, the people at this local WaMu branch is the reason I opened an account there, instead of at the Chase or the Commerce, both accross the road in other strip malls.

    I hope Chase closes the existing Chase branch and just goes with rebranding the (much nicer and newer) WaMu, and keeps all the old WaMu employees. Never gonna happen, right?

    • GreatCaesarsGhost says:

      @Cameraman:
      If they choose to close one of the 2 banks, they’ll pick the one with the better location, not the one that’s currently Chase.

      • azntg says:

        @GreatCaesarsGhost: At least for two locations I know in New York City, that’s not the case.

        In Flushing – Main Street, Chase already closed down the newer WaMu location and are currently sharing space in a former Bank of New York branch.

        Of course, the current location is farther away from the heart of Downtown Flushing. It’s much more darker (in lighting/ambience) and cramped than the WaMu location that they closed.

        In my neighborhood, Chase will close down the newer WaMu location in favor of the older and slightly bigger Chase branch across the street.

        Ironically, the current WaMu location in my neighborhood WAS the original location for Chase Manhattan. When Chemical bought Chase Manhattan, they closed Chase’s branch and kept the Chemical branch (the one that’s current branded as Chase and the one that’ll be kept open) right across the street. History repeats itself apparantly.

  10. NTC-Brendan says:

    As long as the folks in my branch maintain the same personnel and level of service we are good. I went out of the way to get to know each and every person in the branch and worked hard to cultivate a relationship which has done wonders for problem solving and silly issues like holds on checks from our clients.

    Between the business and family accounts we quite literally have double digit accounts with Wamu. The ball is in their court. If Chase screw this coversion up we will bounce so fast heads will spin.

  11. emona says:

    Chase can suck it. I moved to USAA the day after WaMu failed, and now that I have access to Deposit@Home, there’s no need for me to even keep my Chase account open after the transition.

    All I know about Chase, I know through my credit card. High APR (at least 10pts higher than any other card I have) and unhelpful reps. After getting the happy booklet in the mail, explaining how they’re taking away all my benefits (cash back debit, totally free checking) and giving me nothing but crap back ($12 a month if I make less than X transactions a month? No thanks.) Oh, and they also jacked up the rate on my WaMu card to match the severely inflated rate of my (now paid off) Chase card.

    Like I said… they can suck. it.

  12. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    I think WaMu and Chase were two separate companies that chose to run their banks in different ways. WaMu gave away a lot of things that most banks including Chase charge for. They had some of the highest interest rates for deposit accounts among the major banks.

    Then WaMu went under. People seem to be forgetting, this wasn’t a merger: WaMu went out of business and the gubmint sold its carcass to Chase. I’m not smart enough to know how much the “give-away-the-store” stuff contributed to WaMu’s downfall. But logic seems to suggest if you sell the same thing as everyone else for a cheaper price, you may not be making enough money to stay afloat.

    That said, Chase has retained many of the features of those WaMu accounts that it didn’t have to, like free checks for life. I think they’ve been very generous to try to keep the WaMu converts happy. But they’re not going to give away the store like WaMu did. And blaming Chase for WaMu’s death is misguided: they were dead before Chase came into the picture.

    If you don’t like any business, don’t do business with them. But criticizing them for not taking up the behaviors of another company that drove itself to insolvency seem silly.

    • idip says:

      @GreatCaesarsGhost: It wasn’t the fact that WaMu didn’t charge for many services that forced it to go bankrupt. It had to do with a lot of the loans that they were holding (subprime) they may have been fine with those after taking huge loses.

      What really put them out was the fact that all the news of them doing bad caused a panic and customers withdrew $16 billion? dollars in a 10 day period. That caused the federal government to seize the bank forcing the company to declare bankruptcy the next day.

      I guarantee you, if we started spouting that Chase was going under, and we withdrew $16 billion dollars in deposits, then that company would be forced to declare bankruptcy as well.

      It’s the same thing that happened in the depression. Make a run on the bank and you make things worse.

      We even had this discussion on this website before, and many people said, ‘It’s not my responsibility to leave my money in there so they will be okay.”

      Instead of leaving their federally guaranteed money in the bank, they pulled it, being partly responsible for Washington Mutual going under.

      So one could say, all you former WaMu customers brought this upon yourselves. :-)

      • yagisencho says:

        @idip:

        If WaMu hadn’t gotten greedy and jumped on the sub-prime loan bandwagon, they’d still be around today. So…no.

  13. Cameraman says:

    Well, the two are right across the street from each other… hopefully they’ll pick the one with the newest building, which is the old WaMu.

  14. sn0zc0r3 says:

    Wait a sec, I was told that my Wamu account was “grandfathered in” so I won’t pay those ridiculous fees for checking and savings. If that was a lie (which I wouldn’t be surprised when it comes to Chase quite frankly) then I’m getting the hell out of dodge unfortunately.

    • Elginista says:

      @sn0zc0r3: I got my conversion letter last week, skimmed it, and thought I saw the same thing – I’m grandfathered in so I’ll keep my fee-free checking and savings. I’m going to carefully re-read once I get home!

      • cpaforrent says:

        @Elginista:

        I went in to the branch the other day and sat with a banker to go over things. I have two business accounts plus use WAMU bill pay quite extensively.

        She told me the same thing about being grandfathered. I brought in the booklet outlining the ala-carte fees like $2 for account transfers and asked specifically if I was going to get hit for the $2 to move money between my primary and “firewall” checking accounts. She said I won’t pay the fee.

        Funny thing is, as an accountant, I work with several Chase bankers who wanted me to open new Chase accounts prior to the conversion (to avoid the hassle they told me). I can see now from looking at the business account options why they wanted me to do that.

    • NTC-Brendan says:

      @sn0zc0r3: Our conversion letter arrived last week. We are fee-free as well on our personal, business, savings,etc.

      So far so good. It is banking, not religion. it won’t take much for us to jump ship but I am hoping for the best, planning for the worst. There are some smaller, locally owned banks that I am sure would love the business.

  15. azntg says:

    It looks like the July 24th conversion date is definitely for NY/NJ/CT and probably for a good bulk of the states that WaMu had a business footprint in.

    According to Chase’s website and according to the transition mailer I got from Chase, some states (WA/ID/OR/UT) are already in the Chase system and other states (CA/AZ/CO/NV) won’t be in the Chase system until much later in the year.

    As much as Chase likes to tout the conversion as an “upgrade,” the features, benefits, fees and T&C ultimately equates to a rather steep downgrade. Moreso with certain product types than others.

    A myriad of fees are going up. Debit card users no longer have some of the (Gold debit) benefits once offered by WaMu for free.

    Chase’s deposit availability policy on paper is worse than WaMu’s. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Chase will necessarily enforce it, but from what I’ve been hearing, including from fellow Consumerist readers, the prospects aren’t good.

    Surprisingly, it looks like Chase will continue offering some of the perks offered under WaMu Free Checking under Chase Free Extra Checking. It’s rather clear to see, however, that Chase is doing this somewhat reluctantly (perhaps to avoid potential legislative/antitrust action and maybe to avoid an even bigger drop in customers). Note the somewhat vague “We may change your account to Chase Inferior Banking Checking (more fees all around) if there’s no customer initiated transaction within 6 calendar months.”

    And of course, nobody working at Chase (Branch staff at WaMu and Chase locations, telephone CSR, secure messaging CSR) can give me a clear concensus on what that “customer initiated transaction” means.

    So, for now, I’ll stay on with Chase until they find a way to really piss me off only because Chase actually has a lot of locations in New York City. But, as sad as it is to say, I’m beginning to remember why I went with WaMu and NOT with Chase when I opened my first checking account.

    • elganador says:

      @azntg:

      When was the last time that anything a company did in regard to customer relations a true “upgrade”? Everything seems to involve charging you more, or charging the same and dropping the services or product worth.

    • Jeff-er-ee says:

      @azntg: Do credit unions in NY have a similar network to the credit unions in CA? If so, you may actually end up with more branches than with Chase (and yes, I’m shamelessly trying to woo you away from the evil that is Chase). I can deposit, withdraw, get various financial services, etc., in any of thousands of differently branded credit unions just by being a member of my CU (Patelco), with no fees or penalties.

  16. Ilovegnomes says:

    Does anyone know if changing to Chase checking accounts means that they are going to change account numbers for the existing Wamu customers? I need to order more checks pretty soon and I don’t want to go through the hassle again if they are just going to change my account number in a month or two.

  17. PeteyNice says:

    Chase closed the two Wamu branches near me. I am looking to jump but waiting to see how the Wellschovia merger will play out. I only use this account to deposit cash and the occasional check but it is somewhat reassuring to have an account at a physical bank.

    WaMu was as close to a perfect brick and mortar bank as I was able to find (friendly tellers, great hours, low/no fees, etc). There is a Wachovia branch near my office but in my experience the tellers are more interested in upselling you than helping you.

  18. justbychance says:

    Finally. I honestly think more people are going to move down South as a result of this change. One of the hardest things for me to give us was my Chase account and it lead me to have to get a BOA account so I could deposit locally and stuff like that.

    With Wamu = Chase, I may just get rid of my BOA account and just work with Chase solely since I get rewards from my Chase Visa.

    In the meantime it sucks that you can only deposit checks at Wamu and that they take an extra 3 days to clear. July can’t come soon enough.

  19. FrankenPC says:

    You mean benefits like not honoring checks you write?

  20. Max Smolev says:

    A word of caution. If you have WaMu Free Checking and won’t have any transactions for 6 months, Chase will turn it into a “Bonus Checking” that has a nice fee attached to it:

    “We may change your account to a Chase Better Banking Checking account when you do not have at least one customer-initiated transaction over the past six monthly statement cycles (which has a $12 monthly fee if minimum balance is not met).”

  21. ShadowWylde says:

    I went to cash a check at my WAMU/Chase branch this past Friday. Realise I had cashed a check less than two weeks prior at WAMU/Chase.

    On Friday I was informed I no longer have access to my accounts. They would not cash the check, nor could I deposit it. I had more than sufficient funds in the accounts to cover the amount of the check.

    The reason? I opened the account in California. I now live in Washington.

    In order to cash a check, deposit or withdraw money from my account the teller explained I would have to have the check FedExed to California and the money Fedexed back, all on my dime. If I want to withdraw money I can go to a Target, grocery or other store that gives cash when a purchase is made using a debit card.

    I was told I will not have direct access to the account until October. I was also told I could go to California to close the account as they cannot close it in Washington, then bring back the money to open a new Washington account. I cannot write a check on the “California” account to open the “Washington” account.

    I can write a check to open an account at another bank, but would have to wait ten business days to have access to my funds. I have been checking with various banks and credit unions to figure out my options.

    I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    • PeteyNice says:

      @ShadowWylde:

      I had a similar but less awful experience when I was in college. The systems of, at the time, First Union in CT and NJ were not quite compatible. If I was making a deposit in CT I first had to call Customer Service, pray I got a rep that knew what going and get a special code to give to the bank manager. This code changed every day and the bank manager could not get it themselves.

      It was fun.

      If you like Chase, other than this situation, why don’t you open a “Washington account” and then ACH money from your “California Account” into it? Once the systems converge they should merge your accounts easily enough.

    • veronykah says:

      @ShadowWylde: Just open an online account with ING, transfer the money into it. Then open an account in Washington at a brick and mortar and cash checks there. I’d be out the door in a second if they pulled something like that with me.

  22. sean98125 says:

    When Chase offers more than 3.05% on their checking accounts like my credit union does, I might consider changing.

    But probably not. I’d rather be one of the owners of my financial institution rather than one of the sheep lined up for the fleecing.

  23. dugn says:

    Got sucked into Chase from WaMu over the previous weekend. After 6 hours with CSRs to figure stuff out over the last 7 days, I’ve moved all of my accounts to USAA.

    The Chase pros over WaMu:
    1 – Account numbers and routing codes remain exactly the same – no new checks or credit cards needed
    2 – Bill pay accounts and info transferred right over – no need to dig up and re-enter all BillPay those accounts
    3 – Bill pay section tells more about each payment (better use of account nicknames, icon indicates how quickly payment will be made)

    The Chase downfalls over WaMu:
    1 – Automatic WaMu download into MS Money was free, now it’s $9.95 a month (used this to see account activity to catch fraud, not willing to pay $10/month for it)
    2 – Previous Chase credit card account I used to download for FREE into MS Money now blocked due to above (ironically, if I close all of my WaMu/Chase accounts, I’ll get automatic downloads from my Chase credit card back) <– triple checked this and that’s the final answer
    3 – Chase CSRs had no clue and gave conflicting answers on a range of issues; got 4-5 different answers to the same question, was transferred over 20 times, every time I tried to answer the automated customer satisfaction survey after each call, the system hung up on me once my responses started going poorly for Chase.

    Oh Chase – I hardly knew thee. Thankfully.

  24. icantreplyright says:

    I dont know about anyone else but I love my WAMU card that says CHASE on it that I cannot use at any Chase locations. It just makes life so much…. fun.

  25. Armus says:

    Ugh. My wife and I have been using WaMu for years and they were great. Friendly and with great benefits and rates. We moved to Illinois for a while and had to use Chase – typical giant bank mentality. They screwed us over no less than 10 times. Just as we moved back this whole thing was announced. We’ve slowly been watching our WaMu turn into Chase. It’s like watching a scene from ‘The Blob’.

    As others have said, it’s past time I went to a Credit Union.

  26. geoffhazel says:

    we were loyal wamu customers with 4 accounts that my wife routinely transferred money between online. Now with Chase, you can do it but the transfers are not immediate like they were with Wamu. It’s driving her nuts. We are leaving as soon as we can get all the automatic deposits and withdrawls sorted out.

    I’m thinking US Bank — anyone got an opinion for me?

  27. varro says:

    My conversion has been from WaMu…..to Point West Credit Union.

    The irritating radio commercials with a faux Jewish mother don’t help. “Hiiiii, who’s Chase? Some layabout huckster from Wall Street? Ya know, ya gotta stay away from the shaygetzim…”