Friday, October 30, 2009

Did you bank with WaMu?


We did, and we loved it. We had some great accounts, lots of flexibility, and the only fees we had to worry about were overdraft fees (not fun, but usually avoidable.)

Last year Chase bought out WaMu. We were assured that nothing would change, we could keep our accounts, nothing would change, everything would be great...etc.

Last week marked the final stage of the takeover: our accounts were now officially Chase accounts.

Today I discovered, quite by accident, that what used to be free is no longer free. That Chase would like to charge me upwards of $90 a month in fees for the same things that WaMu let me do for free.

Nothing will change. Right. I called and politely asked if these fees could be waived for my account, since I was a customer of long standing with WaMu and I had never been charged previously. I was told "No. We can't waive any fees. We're not Washington Mutual, we're Chase, and this is how we do things."

To which I replied, "I'm so sorry to hear that. I will be transferring my money and closing my accounts."

The thing that bothers me most isn't the fact of the fees (although that is irritating), but that they were not clearly disclosed. Had I not been setting up a transfer today, I would have found all those fees after it was too late to avoid them. That is not only bad business, it is wrong. Which is why I have spent all my free time today finding a new bank and moving my money out of Chase.

So if you did bank with WaMu, you might want to dig a little and find out what fun new fees Chase wants to charge you. Then shed a few tears for WaMu, and head for the exit.

19 comments:

Pamela said...

I hear you!!! I dealt with this just yesterday after seeing a fee charged to our account. Something that WaMu never charged us for is apparently now going to cost us 3% of each transaction!! Thankfully I caught it on the first charge ($6) and didn't proceed with our next transfer of money that would have cost me $17! We are now on the hunt for a new bank as well, did you find one that you liked?

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Pamela, we've decided to use IngDirect's Electric Orange checking for our main banking. For us, this is a good choice because we already have our savings accounts with them as well as some of our investments, and we do 95% of our banking online anyway.

Because we also want to have a brick and mortar bank (for depositing and writing minor checks or getting actual cash) we're going to use USBank. We already have an account with them from last summer (they had a great free money promotion if you opened an account!) and they are located in Vons where I shop every week, so it is very convenient.

Changing banks is a pain, though! Good luck as you figure out what you want to do!

Becks said...

I know you've already picked a bank, but if you can get into Schools First FCU (used to be OCTFCU), they are the BEST. Maybe Libby could get you guys in? As far as I know, you can only get in if you are a teacher, or a relative of a teacher. Nate and I have been banking there for years and they are just SO awesome.

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Becks, what makes them so awesome? Can you elaborate?

Libby said...

Yeah, we use Schools First, and we've always been pleased with them. There are no fees at all. It's true that you could join through us, if you'd like to!

Cowen Family said...

We have savings accounts with Schools First and also our car loan. They always get the best rates around, in fact all othe companies that have requested our business say they never can compete!:)

Aicats said...

Thank you so much for this post, Emily!!! I was with WaMu as well, and will be looking for a new bank now.

Sarah said...

DUDE! I came back here because we just got a letter that they decided Dave's old credit card account wasn't meeting his needs and closed it, just like that. NOT that we used it, but we'd kept it open for credit reporting purposes. Sheesh!

(And I second or third or whatever the motion towards SchoolsFirst . . . I got in because I took a class at Cal State Fullerton and we LOVE it.)

Sarah said...

Sorry . . . in my rant I don't think I made sense. He had a CC through WaMu, which Chase just up and announced was closed. Bah on them.

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Sarah, I knew what you meant. :) I had an old credit card with Chase too, used infrequently for the same reason, and they closed it without warning as well. That was a few months ago.

Seriously, though, consumers unite! We don't have to put up with this - we have good bank accounts and good credit and we can just go elsewhere!

Anonymous said...

To those of you, who are closing your accounts with Chase – good work! Chase does not deserve to have access to your cash, only to loan it out again at high interest rates, several times over, due to fractional reserve banking. This is how these banks get rich.

Please make sure you take your money to a LOCAL bank or credit union, not another national bank, such as Bank of America, Citibank, or Wells Fargo. They can, and probably will, screw you, just like Chase.

Are major banks behaving like Super Villain organizations from all those spy movies?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpHN45Hvpr0

Amber said...

We just opened an Electric Orange account too and so far I'm liking it. We were never with WaMu, but I am looking forward to canceling our Chase credit card once we *ahem* finish paying it off (things got a little financially ugly in the late spring as we feverishly were trying to finish the house). As soon as we started carrying a balance on our card (which we've had for 4-5 years), the interest rate jumped 6%. The part I liked best was the letter we got informing us of these changes said they were bumping up our limit by several thousand dollars and increasing our interest rate "in order to serve you better." Translation - let's give you a little more rope to hang yourself with - and hey, let's make some more money while we're at it!

I'm looking forward to getting away from this company! I'm not sure if Ing is the answer, but since I do everything online it seems a good choice. We'll keep our BofA account for now (since it is free and gives us paper checks) and see how it goes. We sometimes think about doing a local bank, but I really like all the online stuff and the high interest rates I can get from a bank like Ing Direct.

Jen said...

I opened my WaMu account in my first month at Biola. I loved them. Seriously loved them...as much as any person can love a bank. Pretty early on, all of our WaMus branches here closed and we were relegated to single desks inside Chase Banks. It was awful. We tried to be patient and wait through some of the mistakes that were bound to come with the switch, but you could just tell the entire corporate culture was different than WaMu. We sent them packing. I'd been a customer for 10 years. They didn't bat an eyelash. We're now at M&I, where they know us by name, never charge us fees, and are generally pleasant people. They're just like WaMu used to be. They're a bank out of the midwest so I don't know if you have them (because of the Snowbirds, we get a lot of midwestern businesses out here-yay!), but we love them.

Linds said...

We actually really hated WaMu when we banked with them and switched to Wells Fargo years ago. No experience at all with Chase, but I can see why WaMu folded if they offered tons of stuff for free that other banks charge for regularly.

Still, they should've notified you about fee changes. That's stupid.

A.E.B. said...

I've had good luck with my local bank (Fullerton Community Bank). I've never had any trouble with fees, even when withdrawing from ATMs when I was living overseas for a few months. They are attentive, quick, and I've always found them to be very friendly.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Emily. I was a Valley Fed customer and they were taken over by Wamu. Wamu honored my prior relationship with Valley Fed and I had a good relationship with them for years. I have closed several accounts with them since they have been acquired by Chase and will be finished with that relationship within the next month. Chase calls me wanting my business back but the have nothing competitive to offer.

Anonymous said...

Banking is a business and every business needs to make a profit.
The reason WaMu merger with Chase
because it not only operated on loss profits, but went shall we say "bankrupty". In fact, on Sept. 25, 2008, it became the largest bank failure in U.S. history.
America was built on the notion of meritocrast and capitalist spirit not on communist beliefs. If consumers find better and more competitive rates than Chase; great, change banks because it's a free market. But don't blame Chase for hidden fees because there is no free lunch, except from your mom and papa.

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Anonymous:

1) Wamu folded because they bought Countrywide, not because they were losing money for lack of fees.

2) I'm not upset with Chase *having* fees, I'm upset that they didn't tell me about them.

3) We did indeed move our money elsewhere. Yay capitalism. :)

TroxTalks said...

After seeing a $9 million transaction on my account Friday I called assuming it was fraud. Instead I learned that it was Chase's way of telling me that they have decided to "terminate our business relationship" without notice. I still have NO idea why. I was told that Chase does not have or need a reason to terminate a relationship without notice. So do I have access to my funds?? Of course not - that will take approximately 14 business days!! CHASE BANK SUCKS!!!