I am beginning to wonder if banks are really serious about keeping their customers or if they are more interested in driving them away so that they can have more free time to stare at the walls of the building. I have been driven absolutely mad because of the acquisition of Washington Mutual Bank by Chase Bank and the absurdly long transition period involved.

When the acquisition was first announced, I received notification that everything would remain the same – I would keep my account number and would be able to “soon” make deposits at Chase as well as Washington Mutual. This was last fall. At some point I asked for a little clarification on what was meant by soon.

I went in to a Chase bank in December to try to make a deposit at the ATM using the nifty system they have – you can insert a check directly without a deposit slip or envelope or anything. It had no indication of allowing me to make a deposit. I asked a teller when that would be available and they told me that it would be in February, when a lot of Washington Mutual banks that were redundant (right next door to Chase banks, etc.) would be closed.

Come February I tried the trick again and even though my preferred Washington Mutual location was now closed, I could still not make deposits at the ATM or at the teller. I was told that my account was still a Washington Mutual account.

Last week I had to make a deposit and I had just gotten an email telling me that I was now fully a Chase customer. When I went into Chase bank, I was told that I was still a Washington Mutual customer. I then went to Washington Mutual and was told that I was no longer a Washington Mutual customer and was now a Chase customer.

I felt like a child being tossed between two parents, neither of whom want him. I found out that because my Washington Mutual account was opened in Washington, I was a Chase customer. However, they assumed that I had opened my account in New York because that’s where I was standing at the time.

This morning, the situation somewhat repeated itself but I managed to assert my Chase membership. The teller told me that because I was still a Washington Mutual customer, it would take two to three business days for the transaction to go through.  Not so, I told her, and explained. Her supervisor backed me. Nevertheless, the receipt told me that “Further review may result in delayed availability of this deposit.”

All of this, by the way, was done with nary a smile. I remember when I used to go to the bank and the teller was more than happy to help me. Sometimes now I can hope for a smirk at best.


  1. Such a great story, Gordon! I love it how dryly you tell it when the rage and fury are bubbling just beneath your control.
    Customer Service is dead today. We’re the enemy. We’re the ones left crying in the street with no access to our money while the banks laugh us all the way to the poorhouse.

  2. So true. You’d think they want us for customers but it’s almost like they know that we have no choice but to go to them, so why not mistreat us?

  3. It just makes no sense, Gordon! THEY did the merger, not you, but when you try to continue your banking after the change, you’re the one getting shortchanged as the enemy!

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