Insiders: Probable 1-Year Timeline For Customers In WaMu To Chase Transfer

What will it be like for Washington Mutual customers as they get assimilated into the Chase fold
One of our commenters, mavrick67, who says they have over 20 years banking experience and have witnessed 8 takeovers throughout the years, provided a timeline as to what you can expect.

As a banker with 20 years experience in the industry and veteran of about 8 takeovers throughout the years I can give you the scenario with estimated timeframes.

Nothing changes, you keep writing your same checks. You get the same statement in the same format. You log in to the same website address for internet banking. Maybe you see some new faces in your office from the “Takeover” bank (in this case JP Morgan Chase)

Few changes, mostly minor. You order checks and it has the new banks name on it, maybe new procedures for sending wire transfers or making loan payments. Half of the staff at your local branch has quit or been “re-assigned” elsewhere. They start changing the signage outside the office and get new brochures, but your accounts stay the same.

6-12 MONTHS>
You get notice that the format of your checks will change in a few months but you still can use your old checks for now and you might get assigned a new account number or given a new format that adds or subtracts digits. Some freebies you used to get with your account have disappeared (ie. you now get charged for a safe deposit box rather than get it for free). They’ve changed the hours the office is open. The only person you recognize when you go to the office is old Ethel, the head teller who’s been there since 1977.

You get notice in the mail that your old account type is being discontinued and you now have the some new “special” type of account. You’re not supposed to use your old checks anymore, if you make a mistake and write one anyway they’ll probably pay it. Ethel retired and you don’t know a soul in your old branch and it looks like any other Chase office.


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  1. mariospants says:

    I know that in this day and age everything is a commodity, but in the old days, your bank was your bank for life and it still is supposed to feel that way (they have your money, after all). What’s so difficult for Chase to keep a sub-brand going? They could at least keep it regional.

    • Chols says:

      That’s a very good point.

    • raskolnik says:

      @mariospants: I can see that, although at the same time they might be worried about new customers. That is to say, new people will be less likely to join their bank since it has the name of a company that failed, even if that’s not really who has the brand anymore.

    • furseekr says:

      @mariospants: A big part of the attraction of a merger is maintaining only one brand. Designing and maintaining a brand (logo, printed materials, website, in-branch posters and EVERYTHING else) is very expensive. Even if it’s not done in house, you’ve just cut that expense by a significant percentage for the combined company. (Note that I’m not saying this is good, just that it happens.)

  2. So, how long before they get rid of those “teller stations” in the middle of the floor, and switch to the old-fashioned teller windows?

  3. Yeah.. .I dont like chase.. they screwed me once and now I’m on the hunt for another bank that liked me as a customer and not for “How much im wanting to invest in Their bank.” Wamu was all about making me feel I was investing in my future but not nickle and diming me for not having 4k in my savings account at all times.

    Anyone know a good bank that has free checks. No insane ATM junk charges. And free Money Orders and wire transfers.

    • @sinfuly Delicious: Yes, I’d be interested as well. I went with WaMu to get away from banks like Chase.

      BTW, excellent picture.

    • blackmage439 says:

      @sinfuly Delicious: National City has fee-free Checking accounts, and I believe they come with free checks for life. I just opened an account recently, so I don’t really remember what they have (I haven’t moved my funds yet).

    • theutopian says:

      @sinfuly Delicious:

      I would leave the banking system all together and join a local Credit Union. You become a shareholder in the bank, they’re not for profit, you decide who runs it, your accounts are insured just like at a bank and interest rates are much lower. Best of all, your banking will now be local as opposed to the local branch of a global conglomerate that doesn’t give a shit about you.

      • ColoradoShark says:

        @theutopian: Dang, you beat me to the required “Credit Unions Rule!” post. I will concur that credit unions are invariably more local. Some credit unions have been merged but they never get stupidly big like WaMu.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @sinfuly Delicious: if you want my professional opinion, you’re asking for a lot of free stuff. good luck getting that.

      i know in my neck of the woods, there’s a local mutual savings bank called liberty bank ([]) that offers a lot of what you’re looking for (they claim no atm fees ever). of course, if you don’t live along the i-91 corridor in CT, that’s not going to be too convenient for you.

      check out the mutual savings bank circuit in your area. i don’t know about free money orders & free wire transfers – generally that’s not something that you can command without establishing a pretty lucrative relationship with an institution. perhaps if you move a sizable amount of business their way (large deposit accounts AND/OR business accounts AND/OR mortgage…i think you get the idea), they might be able to work something out.

      if you click over to liberty bank, check out their history. i love this story:

      The Oldest Savings Account in America

      One of our favorite customer stories is about Frederick Sheffield, a young merchant from Old Saybrook. In 1844, Sheffield rode his horse to Middletown to deposit $8 in the bank. Six months later, he made an additional deposit of $18. He then moved away from the area, leaving his money on deposit at the bank. In 1994, Sheffield’s descendents finally closed his account, which had grown through interest alone to more than $32,000 and was the oldest individually owned savings account in America.

  4. jwissick says:

    I saw this coming and already bailed. See ya WAMU.

  5. thewriteguy says:

    What major banks are left now? It seems to be just BoA, Chase and Citi.

    And, for all intents and purposes, Chase didn’t buy anything; WaMu collapsed. The FDIC moved in to divest its assets and ordered Chase to absorb them into their company.

    In this day and age, we don’t have banks that collapse anymore. But the real question is how much longer can the FDIC afford to do this?

  6. bluedragonfly says:

    Chase took over Bank One, I guess it’s been a couple years now (ugh, time all blurs together anymore). Honestly, it was pretty seamless in my experience and more or less how it was outlined above. Of course, I just have basic checking (didn’t change… still free with Direct Deposit) and savings accounts, with no credit cards, mortgage, or other loans through them and do my banking primarily online. I do so little banking in person, I didn’t notice anything different at all in that respect.

    • GreatCaesarsGhost says:

      Thats because the retail operation of Bank One was retained. Chase customers saw a bigger change than Bank One.

      • bluedragonfly says:

        @GreatCaesarsGhost: That makes sense. I admit, my knowledge is limited but I can’t complain as I don’t have much more than basic checking and savings accounts and the few times I’ve needed to speak with a real person it’s always been a decent experience. I realize for others that might be a different situation entirely (those with credit cards, loans, specific types of accounts, etc).

    • veronykah says:

      @bluedragonfly: I keep seeing “free with direct deposit” how exactly does this work?
      I have a job that I have direct deposit set up with, however I do not work here all the time. It could be over a month between paychecks, would it still be free?

      • bluedragonfly says:

        @veronykah: Speak with a banker at a local branch if you can. I had a job with direct deposit and then took another at a small family-owned business that couldn’t afford to use direct deposit (cost prohibitive as I was the only employee at the time). I was able to have an even more basic account set up that didn’t incur any fees as if I had direct deposit. I don’t think it was even an account advertised, but the rep I dealt with made it happen. I had the account for a couple years until I needed to change my account number.

        Anyway, I’d talk to someone since I’m far from an expert… never hurts to ask! The way I look at it, direct deposit is direct deposit whether it’s every week, every 2 weeks, once a month or however often it is for you in your situation.

  7. Geblah187 says:

    Best picture in Consumerist history, by the way.

  8. I first opened my checking account over a decade ago when my bank was Merchant’s Bank. Then they got bought by Old Kent. Then Old Kent got bought by Fifth Third. Its been Fifth Third for a while now, but I’m still using the original checks with Merchant’s Bank on them. They work fine because the account number and routing numbers never changed.

  9. The Folding Chair Security Intern says:

    Good old Ethel. No matter how hard the times get, she just keeps handing out those Tootsie Rolls.


  10. Anonymous says:

    As an employee of the above mentioned purchasing bank, I still use my old Bank One checks. Plus since we are merging BEars Sterns right now, it wont be till end of 1st quater next year before anything starts.

  11. samurailynn says:

    People still go into their bank branches? I went into a local branch twice last year… but that was because I was getting a mortgage loan (no, not through WaMu).

    • bricklayer says:

      @samurailynn: Came in to say this. Don’t most Consumerists just use the ATM? I wouldn’t know if my local branch had an “Ethel” anyway.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        @bricklayer: Meh, you can’t get quarters from the ATM. I need quarters for the bus and for the coin operated laundry machines (The facility does not have a change machine).

        So I’m in my local branch every week to get change.

  12. Ein2015 says:

    How depressing…

    I’m not looking forward to changing my account numbers everywhere. *sighs*

  13. ShivangiGebeh says:


    No worries about the FDIC affording this. It’s not costing them a single penny. There’s no deposits to repay. That will come from Chase, if people continue to withdraw. And you’re forgetting another major bank, which will be listed as one of the 10 safest in the world in DC on October 13th by the IMF. Wells Fargo. BNP Paribas is also on that list, which wholly owns Bank of the West and First Hawaiian. You probably don’t know about Bank of the West or First Hawaiian if you’re on the east coast.

  14. newdeepdan says:

    I want my free checkings and savings… sigh… BoA is my only hope now.

    • @newdeepdan: BofA? Haha! I hope you have plenty of money to keep on deposit with them. They absolutely love to nickel and dime a person who doesn’t keep money onboard. As a matter of fact, they’ve started charging me just to have an account with them. I’m going to go close it down after work.

  15. elisa says:

    Any recommendations for a good bank – free checking, no ATM fees, etc – in Southern California? I don’t have a National City here, I don’t like HSBC or B of A (been with them before), what other alternatives?

  16. Caslonbold says:

    Alan Fishman who was hired by Wamu less than 3 weeks ago is getting a 20 million dollar payout. YES, he is getting 20 million dollars for less than 3 weeks of work. Wow. Just wow. I am floored.

    • vdragonmpc says:


      And that is the PRIME reason no bail out should occur. If the bank had the available capitol and assets to pay these lunkheads this kind of loot then they can deal with this on their own.

      Just what did this tool offer that was worth this kind of payoff? Is there a CEO in the ever loving world worth a cool mil?

      Let em all burn in a fire.

      • myfigurefemale says:

        @vdragonmpc: true, but this wasn’t a bailout. the feds seized WaMu because they didn’t have enough money to back up their depositors anymore.

      • Caslonbold says:


        None of these banks or financial organizations should receive a dime. All these CEOs should have to fund their own mistakes from their golden parachutes.

        20 million dollars for 3 weeks of work??? I am so furious… and they want tax payers to bail them out??? They should go in and cease the bank accounts of all these executives (in the US and all of their little overseas accounts) until it is decided who committed fraud and who’s dishonest little games helped bring this situation upon America. All their little bonuses and parachutes nicely tucked away in off shore accounts sure could be used help undo what they created.

        I heard last night that all the bonuses handed on on Wall Street last year totaled MORE than the entire world gave to Africa to combat famine and disease.

        Why are there no news crews parked in front of these executives houses haunting them like the paparazzi haunt celebrities trying to make them answer some questions? I’d like to hear some of these tools explain what made them so valuable and deserving of all they have taken.

        GREED. Endless GREED.

  17. myfigurefemale says:

    do you have a source for that? that is disgusting!

    did you all read that WaMu failed specifically because 10% of depositers took out their money (totalling over 1 billion) so they no longer had enough assets to conduct business? bank runs!

  18. GreatCaesarsGhost says:

    Everyone loves the freebies (like the free safe deposit boxes) and bemoans the loss when a new company takes over, but no one seems to realize that stuff like this is part of why companies go under.

    • @GreatCaesarsGhost:

      The banks themselves are making interest off my money in their bank… plus any overages… I hardly use checkes. Still on my first book. But to have a bank like chase charge me 5$ to get a money order from someone I do business with when I can go to HEB and get or for 1.50$?????

  19. sdf632 says:

    Ok, so in 6 months I get to move to Citibank. Oh well.

    Chase’s interest rates on savings and cd’s are just pathetic. Goodbye Chase!

  20. sponica says:

    Love the picture

  21. ZukeZuke says:

    Ok, awesome picture.

    I just checked Chase’s savings account rates and it’s 0.10%. I’m serious, WTF? Hope they don’t change the rate on my 5% WaMu account too quickly… :(

    Still feel bad for the tellers, including Ethel.

  22. Major-General says:

    “…you don’t know a soul in your old branch and it looks like any other Chase office.”

    Given my limited experience with WaMu, I fail to see how this is a bad thing.

  23. modelchick8806 says:

    So how long before I get stuck with Chase’s outlandish fees and policies? For instance, their overdraft fee is higher, they have an extended overdraft fee, they don’t have free checks or money orders, and they order overdrafts by amount to purposely rack up higher fees.

  24. mcobill says:

    Got a SunTrust acct 2 weeks ago..suck it WaMu!

  25. halajenn says:

    I can’t tell you how my heart sank when I got a text message last night from a co-worker telling me that I am now officially a Chase employee… WaMu made some pretty stupid decisions and I won’t justify their lending practices (I’m back office and never dealt with the mortgages) but I loved working for them. No joke – the best company I’ve ever worked for.

    What is really pissing me off right now though is that because WaMu got so much negative media attention our customers panicked and we lost what was keeping us afloat – the deposit base. Now, in the middle of all the coverage of our failure and subsequent sale to Chase, is the speculation of who will be next. Wachovia will fail for sure if the fear-mongering and sensationalistic journalism doesn’t stop.

  26. two of three wamu’s i knew of in my head recently closed, so going to the atm has become a pain in the ass. what i want to know is when can i sue chase atm’s with my card and not be charged a fee? i generally only keep what i need to pay rent in my checking account there, so this buy-out/collapse doesn’t mean much to me.

  27. yso says:

    go with your local credit union!

  28. SindhuElephino says:

    Does anyone know for sure if Chase must keep established CD rates? Or can they change existing CD rates at will?

  29. deadspork says:

    @sinfuly Delicious:
    *heart* HEB.

    If HEB were a bank I’d do business with them in a heartbeat.

  30. ErnestHaeru says:

    That’s a big contributor to a bank failing, people pulling their money out. Didn’t anyone learn from the Great Depression?

    I left my money with Wamu because I knew that I wouldn’t loose it as I have under $100,000, which is fully insured by the FDIC.

    Now Chase is in the position of absorbing billions of dollars of bad loans that they’ll be writing off.

  31. CelesteAnius says:

    Yep, this is what to expect. Good post, thanks.

    As to WaMu’s former CEO, here’s an informative article:

  32. BytheSea says:

    Don’t defile the fine spacevessel Cube with that mess. What an insult.

  33. mrearly2 says:

    So, the Rockefellers end up with WaMu, too…They own Citi. Some may argue that they are merely the largest shareholders, but either way, it’s theirs.
    The super-rich get richer.

  34. jaubele1 says:

    This is from the Wall Street Journal:
    “Alan Fishman may yet scoop the prize as this year’s shortest-serving chief executive — and possibly the most handsomely rewarded.

    It is unclear how long that Mr. Fishman will stay now that Washington Mutual has been seized and sold off to J.P. Morgan Chase, or how much will be in the holding company’s kitty to pay out. But his sign-on and termination payments entitle him to a total of $19 million. Based on the 19 days he had in the job until Thursday, he could end up earning $42,055 per hour, including his $1 million base salary.

    Of course, he should emulate Robert Willumstad, the similarly briefly-tenured chief executive officer of American International Group, who refused a $22 million severance check.

    But if he takes the money, the question will be: Which bank is safe enough these days for him to stash all that cash in?”

    Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

    The URL to the article is: []

  35. LoriLynn says:

    Well, here’s hoping Chase won’t turn my 0% Wamu card into a 22% Chase Card.