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WaMu Failure: What To Do If You Have Deposits with Washington Mutual


So Washington Mutual, once the nation’s largest savings and loan, yesterday became the nation’s latest bank failure. If you have money deposited with WaMu—or use the bank for any other financial products like loans, credit cards, or your mortgage—you don’t have to panic. In this case, Chase has acquired WaMu’s assets (and deposits). Here’s what this means for you.

In the short term, you can continue to access your money using WaMu’s website and ATMs. Additionally, you should continue to make payments to any WaMu loans as usual.

In the future, your accounts will be rolled over to Chase. WaMu branches and ATMs will bear the Chase name, etc. Of course, Chase may very well change your banking services. Interest rates and fees and everything else on checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and other products may change.

You’ll want to keep a close eye on your bank statements and other communications from Chase to ensure you’re still getting a good deal from your bank. Otherwise, there’s no reason to panic.

One of the things that led to WaMu’s demise was that in the past few weeks, customers have withdrawn over $16 billion in deposits from WaMu. While you should withdraw any amount over the FDIC insured $100,000 that you have deposited in any bank, there’s no reason to withdraw any amount more than that…doing so is the behavior that will simply continue to make more banks fail.

WaMu customer’s were lucky, in a way, that Chase was able to step in and buy the bank. If more banks fail, some may not be so lucky, which means that customers will need to retrieve their deposits directly from the FDIC. Curious about whether your bank might be next to go under? Learn how to check your bank’s health.

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the tip. I’ll pass this along to my friends that have accounts at WaMu.