I will now be a customer of Chase bank instead of Washington Mutual. While the official transition will take awhile, the purchasing has already been done. I've been anxiously watching the WaMu news for the past few weeks and hoping that nothing would happen. While WaMu is no longer my main bank, I've left a decent amount of money there (well, not for them probably, but a good amount for me) for years. It makes me angry that others have been pulling their money out of Washington Mutual over the past few weeks, as runs on deposits make it difficult for banks to maintain the capital they need to stay solvent.
WaMu was the first bank account I ever personally opened, and I've had my account for just about a decade now. When I was 15 and started working at the Kingdome, my mom took my first paycheck and me over to the bank, sat us down, and helped me open up an account. I faithfully and happily used WaMu for almost everything (one exception: car loan from BECU) for the entire time I was in Seattle. Moving to Michigan, where there are no WaMu branches, is the only reason I ever reduced my use of WaMu. I've been keeping my account in hopes that I would one day move back to the land of WaMu and be able to use my bank again.
I'm not sure why I like WaMu so much. It's probably like any other bank. But I liked the home-town connection and plethora of pleasant tellers at local banks. I didn't mind banking at a west coast only bank (at least, I didn't mind it until I moved off the west coast).
I suppose it doesn't matter so much. My account will slide into becoming a Chase account (which would be nice except for the fact that there doesn't appear to be any Chase banks in Minnesota either). I'll still have my stupid CD that comes due in 2010 for something like $170; don't ask me why I signed up for a 5 year CD and then forgot about it and let it roll over. And since I now bank with a bank in Michigan (University of Michigan Credit Union), I will just have to figure out a better bank once I finally figure out where I might someday live.
I have to say this: I'm not a fan of big corporate bailouts. I don't think we should save the shirts of people who made bad investments. I certainly think limits need to be placed on how taxpayer money is spent to both manage our economy well and not infuse too much cash into the upper echelons of society. I still firmly believe that helping the consumer will do much more, and the non-trained portion of my brain (I never took econ) wonders why we can't just use those billions of dollars to pay into the mortgages that are failing for people in order to let them keep their house and allow cash to flow to the banks.
But I'm still sad that WaMu will be no more.