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Washington Mutual and Gluttony

September 17th, 2008 · 1 Comment · Gripes

photo by: Joshua Lott

Pete and I opened our Washington Mutual account two years ago when we relocated from Austin to NJ.  We needed a local checking account because no one in NJ seemed to want to accept an out of state check.  We selected WAMU because they offered free checking and they had a number of local branches.  We immediately had a couple problems with the bank. They insisted that a certified cashier’s check had to be held for 12 days to clear (this was after they told us 7 days maximum for any check to clear when we signed up for the account) and then they charged us for some membership service that we had not signed up for. Then it took two weeks for a wire transfer to be applied to our account.   After having the account for one month, I was ready to close it.  At this point we had already setup direct deposit and our own laziness kept us from looking around.  Fast forward to this month: You may have noticed that Washington Mutual has been in the news lately. Standard and Poor’s lowered their credit ranking of Washington Mutual to junk.  Apparently federal regulators are asking around to see if other banks will purchase WAMU. Pete and I decided today that we needed to open a new local checking account. I know that the money is insured and we have other accounts, but it would p*** me off if this bank failed and I had to wait to access the funds until the federal government cleared up their mess. I read a report today that Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is underfunded and if WAMU was to fail the FDIC would need a loan from the US Treasury.  Pete did some research and found a financially sound bank right down the street from our house. We are going in the morning to open the account.  I am disgusted with the fact that taxpayers are being hit up to bail out banks and other private companies and I for one don’t feel comfortable that our politicians know how to address the problems. Political interference in the market appears to be part of what created the sub-prime crisis. What do you think is the solution? What changes would you like to see? Is bigger government the answer?

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Binary Blonde

    I closed my WaMu account after moving to Austin 4 months ago because they refused to help me when my debit card number was stolen and over $4,000 dollars was spent at a Lowes in Florida. I had to sort out the mess myself. After many calls back and forth and much stress and tears, Lowes helped me sort it out. NOT WaMu. (Lowes corporate has incredible customer service, BTW. I heart them.)

    I was a WaMu customer since my mother co-signed on my account because I was not yet 16 years old when I opened it. So.. 13 years I was a loyal customer and the one time I really needed their help, they dropped the ball.

    The very next day (because Lowes actually helped and stopped payment right away), I took out my money and opened an account with Wells Fargo. Love them.

    Moral of the story: WaMu just plain sucks. It’s no surprise to me that they’re flailing right now. I’m upset that we’re having to bail out these stupid companies, too, but really, what can we really do about it?

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