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Tag Archive for 'washington-mutual'

Why Washington Mutual will go under

No, they will not die because of lack of liquidity, they have a much bigger problem at their hands. This may end up being the most controversial blog post I have ever written but I like it that way. I think Washington Mutual deserves it after all the trouble I went through today with them resolving banking issues and still wasn’t able to do so.

So the long story short, I went to the WaMu branch today to open the 5% CD they are marketing and while in the branch found out my free checking account is closed and I have service charges on my (also presumably free) savings account. On top of that there is an overdraft warning in the account.

The branch officer was incapable to do anything to clarify why this happened (reasoning that the account was opened online) and for some reason gave me a Forgery and Bill Pay number, which ended up being a wrong number to call, and I was eventually redirected to the customer support.

What turned out is that my checking account was closed due to inactivity and after that happened they started to charge a service fee for the savings account since it didn’t meet the minimum balance requirement (waved with checking). Since there was very little money in the savings account, it went negative and now I have an overdraft warning.

So what went wrong?

The problem is that they never notified me that my account was closed, nor can I see it when I go online. The account is in the list and looks just as usual. In fact I can still see online statements for it (including one for the last month) and nowhere on the statement it says it is closed. The only way to find it out is if you attempt to transfer funds to/from it or if you go to a special link called ‘About this account’ where you will find that the Account Status field is set to ‘CLOSED’.

The situation didn’t improve after more than an hour on the phone today. They cannot reopen my checking nor will they reverse the service fees. My only option to avoid future fees is to fund the savings account over the minimum balance requirement, or open new checking account and somehow bind it with the existing savings.

I have been so much frustrated over this mess that I feel like abandoning WaMu altogether. During my customer service calls I have encountered on several occasions that the automated system is not able to access my account information, at which point I am thrown back to the main menu to type my a/n and pin over again. Also the inability of the branch manager to clarify (or solve) this mess is very puzzling to me. I would so much rather talk to a branch representative when dealing with complicated issues like this.

Conclusion

If anything, I have given up on the 5% CD deal because I strongly believe a company with the customer service record like this will not last long, and even if it does - I don’t want to have business with it.

Do you have an account at Washington Mutual? What is your experience with them? Are you a happy / frustrated customer? Pour it out in the comments!

Washington Mutual offers 5% APY 12/13 month CD

Washington Mutual has just rolled out a promotional CD rate. It is available online and in branch (if you have WaMu in your state). The minimum investment is $1,000 and early withdrawal penalty is 90 days of interest. There are 12 and 13 month terms available

This is an incredibly good rate from a decently sized bank. You can fund the CD with an ACH transfer within 7 calendar days of opening an account. If you already have an account with them like me then this should be just a matter of an internal funds transfer.

WaMu has not been exactly doing great financially over the past year and this promotion could be a sign that they are running into liquidity problems. That said, the account is FDIC insured and you will be fine as long as you are under the total FDIC coverage limit.

wamu 5% CD

Moving my primary bank account to WaMu

WaMu Savings 5%I have been using Citibank as my primary bank account for a while. It is a big bank with tons of cash and lots of customers and as such it tends to provide services of mediocre value. Banking with Citibank is almost like overpaying for a brand name, just in finance world.

I have speculated about a move for a while and the last straw has been the $23.50 check printing fee Citibank slapped on me last month, so I finally decided to look for greener pastures.

In my search, I have avoided any pure online banks. I want my primary bank to have a local branch for easy access to my money. Also, burned by recent Netbank failure, I wanted it to be a financial institution with solid reputation, a bank I can truly trust.

After some research and your useful tips, I settled on this offer from Washington Mutual and opened an account last week. This checking/savings combo totally blows away anything Citibank currently offers and beats most offers from other banks. Where else can you get 5% APY on your regular savings? And that free overdraft protection can easily save you $25-30 a year depending on your bank. Here are the offer details in brief in case you consider a move as well:

  • No minimum monthly balance
  • Free checks for life
  • No ATM charges on WaMu’s part
  • One free overdraft protection per year
  • Free outgoing wire transfers
  • 5% APY on your savings
  • Free online bill pay

Coincidently, Washington Mutual also holds my home mortgage and I find it very refreshing to see my debt as well as my savings in one place. Kind of puts you down a bit. ;-)

What bank do you use? What do you like / not like about it? Please share your own experience in the comments




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