The scary headlines about WaMu’s stock slide have a few readers worrying if now is the time to pull their deposits. I’m a WaMu customer myself and I say no. For now, though I could be wrong, this just looks like more hot panic sweeping the market. First off, you’re FDIC-insured up to the first $100,000. You will get your money. Secondly…
Washington Mutual fired CEO Kerry Killinger today.
The quickest way to reach a human customer service rep at WamU: press 1, 6, and 2 on the successive menus. [TeresaCentric]
Wamu’s fraud department has a problem sending letters. Just like another reader, Kristin, we posted about, Rob is having trouble disputing fraudulent charges on his account. He followed their every instruction, except to respond to the second letter WaMu sent out. How could Rob do such a foolish thing? Because it never showed up in his mailbox, a point, WaMu seems to think, is owing to, not their incompetence, but Rob’s general lassitude and weakness of character. Or something like that. Here’s Rob’s story…
WaMu’s crack fraud department is at it again, according to reader Kristin. Someone broke into her iTunes account and bought a couple hundred dollars worth of iTunes gift cards with her debit card information. She disputed the charge and WaMu told her not to worry — they’d take care of it. Two months later, while on a trip to Chicago, WaMu reversed the credits, causing Kristin to become severely overdrawn. No amount of protesting will convince WaMu that she wasn’t lying about the iTunes break-in. Why? Because she never responded to some mail they sent to her old address.
WaMu, despite all their big talk about helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, is apparently too overwhelmed with a tsunami of defaulted loans to call their customers back, let alone help them stay in their homes. Meet Lori and Mark Pestana. They have a $275,000 fixed rate mortgage with WaMu as their servicer. In August 2007, the Pestanas could not make a payment on their loan. They considered dipping into their retirement savings, but WaMu’s website offered an alternative:
People who got their money from IndyMac are facing new challenges as other banks put extended holds on releasing the funds when the checks are deposited. WaMu is putting 8-week holds on the checks. Wells Fargo is putting holds on amounts over $5,000. If you deposit more than that, Wells Fargo will only let you have access to the first $5,000. The Office of Thrift Supervision is looking into whether this is ok or not. Good, we needed something like this, that panic wasn’t looking frothy enough.
WaMu goes out of its way to convince you that it is staffed by friendly, outgoing people who want to help you if something goes wrong. Their “About” page on the WaMu website says: “We’re informal, friendly and fun. We take our customers’ money seriously, but not ourselves.” We suspect that reader Drew would disagree with the whole “friendly” part of that sentence. He arrived home a day late from a business trip to Europe and was in a rush to pay his rent before it was due. He made it to the WaMu branch 5 minutes before it closed, but it was already locked.
If you’re trying to get through to Washington Mutual and regular customer service isn’t helping you, give these numbers for Executive Customer Service, a very high-up customer service team with superpowers to solve customer problems at any and all levels, a try. Be calm, polite, professional, and able to state your case in 1-2 sentences. It’s a good idea to read this post on dealing with executive customer service first. The info really works, read this lady’s story about how contacting WaMu executive customer service saved her house from foreclosure.
Another Washington Mutual insider has stepped forward with a slew of tips to help save your ass from overdraft fees, check deposit holds, and talking to Filipino bankers. Details, inside…
Reader Todd says that WaMu issued him a provisional credit after he was ripped off by a fake online merchant, but reversed the credit because he didn’t supply the bank with “a product description, cancellation policy, and cancellation number.” He can’t get a cancellation number because the transaction was fraudulent (he never received the item he ordered.) No matter who he talks to, he can’t get WaMu to understand that he’s been ripped off.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… Wachovia CEO Ken Thompson has been gobbled up in a subprime shark attack after 32 years with the company.
Bill, whose small business checking account had been inappropriately drafted $1500, sent us the following email late last night:
Washington Mutual will give you a copy of the check that you’ve been requesting for a year, but first you will need to subpoena them twice and attempt to have them held in contempt of court. That’s what one reader experienced when her employer, a law firm, needed a document from the megabank. As she puts it: “If a law firm with the power of a subpoena behind them can’t get WaMu to cough up a document in a timely manner without a massive amount of headache, I’d hate to see what the average consumer has to deal with.”
From a Digg comment on our post about a WaMu branch telling a man saying they didn’t have enough money on hand to let him withdraw $4200: “funny because i had the same experience at a Wamu. My wife had trouble cashing a $5000 check and we had to drive around to three branches until finally, after insisting continuously, that they finally cashed it!”
Maybe we’re crazy but $4200 doesn’t seem like too much money to withdraw in cash at a branch bank, especially if you give them 24 hours notice. Apparently, that large of a withdrawal leaves WaMu all tapped out. Is WaMu really that short on capital reserves?