WaMu Chase merger

5 May 2009

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’: The Post-WaMu Chase Blues

by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango LLC + Guy Who Likes Brands With Personalities…

So my longtime bank, Washington Mutual (WaMu), recently got taken over by megabank Chase. ‘Twas a sad day for us WaMulians, because for all its faults — and it had a few — WaMu was a friendly place to bank, with everything from chirpy messages on the ATMs to free candy at the teller windows. What wasn’t to like?

WaMu was expanding rapidly nationwide without losing its character, but WaMu’s execs decided to join the greedheads in quaffing some subprime Kool-Aid. We all know what happened after that: with WaMu on the verge of failure, along came a monster of the financial deep, Chase, to swallow it up.

the good ol' days...

The other day my wife and I strolled into a Chase branch, and it was like entering the tomb of the unknown banker. WaMu’s bright yellow had been covered in deep corporate blue, and the flamboyant posters that once hyped WaMu’s services had been replaced by… blank wall. The tellers who once wore casual shirts were now suited up.

We guessed all this was to convey how solid and dependable our bank had become — but, uh, yo, East Coast dweebs, we’re all like laid-back Los Angelenos, you know? And we still vividly remember how your Wall Street was like totally screwed up and over by men in conservative suits — men whose enormous badness made those Somali pirates look like shoplifters, right?

So instead of instilling us with confidence, Chase’s ultra-corporate vibe just depressed us, and we couldn’t wait to leave the premises. Sorry, teller dude, but no thanks, we don’t have time to discuss your credit card offer…

Most striking of all was the silence.

It was like being in the public library of the undead. We felt compelled to whisper. And that’s when we realized there was no more pop music playing over the speakers, as there always had been in WaMu. Yes, the day when WaMu became Chase was also the day the music died.

In honor of this transformation, I’ve penned some new lyrics to a classic pop song that will no longer be heard in our bank. So with apologies to the Righteous Brothers and their hit “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”, here’s a little ditty I call “The Post-WaMu Chase Blues”…

When you bought WaMu
you said everything would stay the same
Then you spent 300 million
to redecorate and change the name

You took a big happy braaaand
Then Chase-y, you done made it so blaaaand…

You lost that WaMu feeling
You’re now just walls and a ceiling
And that is so unappealing
The fun is gone… it’s… wrong… whoohoo-not

Now your tellers wear suits
and no music ever fills the air
Your vibrant colors are gone
and your once postered walls are bare

It makes us all feel like snoozing
Oh Chase-y, don’t you know what you’re losing?

You lost that WaMu feeling
You’re now just walls and a ceiling
And that is so unappealing
The fun is gone… it’s… wrong… whoohoo-not

Chase-y, Chase-y, we still have all our savings with you
If you would only please us — at least tease us — like WaMu used to do
You had a brand… so grand… that millions of us came to adore
And now… somehow… you think “trustworthy” means being a bore

Oh Chase-y (Chase-y), Chase-y (Chase-y)
We beg you please… please
Give us WaMu (give us WaMu)
We miss WaMu (we miss WaMu)
So bring it on back (so bring it on back)
Bring it on back (so bring it on back)

Bring back that WaMu feeling
Its loss has sent us reeling
Our souls are now congealing
‘Cause your brand… is… cold…
and it feels… so… old…
And we’re totally… not… sold…


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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches graduate-level marketing communication courses at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

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15 years ago

Yes this financial downturn really has taken a huge toll on everyone. Love the song. I echo the sentiments about joining a credit union. I’m not saying this because I manage one, but I’ve been on both sides of the isle and I can tell you that you can get that feeling back that was lost at a CU or a local community bank. Happier days will come back someday…hopefully sooner than later.

15 years ago

Here is one insane reality of WAMU becoming Chase:

SUMMARY: WAMU customers should never use the “change address” feature when logged into their online accounts. If you are a WAMU customer and you need to change your address and order a new ATM card within 30 days YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR ADDRESS INSIDE A BRANCH to avoid excess frustration. If you attempt to change your address online and then get a new ATM card you will have to put all banking on hold for more than a month or open up a new account. Sounds insane? It happened to me.

I am very frustrated with WAMU’s attempt to serve customers. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ATTEMPT TO CHANGE THE ADDRESS ON YOUR ACCOUNT ONLINE. I hope someone heeds my advice before its too late. Here is what happened to me.

1. I went to a WAMU ATM and for the first time in my life I actually forgot to remove my ATM card. The card was sucked back into the machine. I called customer service that night and they said “no problem the branch will call you when they recover the card tomorrow.” So I decided not to worry about it.

2. I had a very busy day the next day and I didn’t call the branch and they didn’t call me. I called them within 48 hours after this incident and they informed me that within 24 hours they had to shred my card… ok not good but I thought well… I’ll just order a new card. They direct me to call customer service to order a card.

3. I Call WAMU customer service and inform them that I need to change my address on file and I need to have a new card sent to me. The agent informs me that it will take 30 days to receive my card. I ask why. He says its because I need it sent to a different address than the one on file. I can’t receive a card within 30 days of him changing my address. I asked if the result would be different if I changed it myself online and he said that that is what I should do.

I change my address online.

4. I call customer service back and ask for a card. They inform me that because I changed my address online I can no longer order a new card unless I physically go inside a branch and order one. The agent apologizes but states that if I just go inside the branch I can resolve this issue.

5. I go inside the branch and they state that because I changed my address online and not in their branch I have to wait 30 days before they can even process my request to have a new card sent out. Ok this is mind blowing I am physically standing in the branch and they are telling me they can’t even enter in the request that would eventually allow my card to be delivered to me. I must physically enter the branch 30 days from today and then make the request in person that a new card be sent out which would take an additional 7 to 10 business days.

The best they could do for me is open up a brand new account. I asked if I could transfer money from my old account to my new account online and the answer was no.


15 years ago

Looks like it’s time to join a credit union!

15 years ago

I just came for the music.

Let me know if you need a vocal for this.


(Good stuff, Freddy!)

Jeffry Pilcher
15 years ago

That is extremely hilarious. I beg you: Please let me reprint this at The Financial Brand. I’m serious. I have over 1,000 subscribers who would love to read this. Please shoot me an email.

15 years ago

Not only that, they are starting to close most of the wamu locations leaving us with few places to bank until they complete the merge. The convenience factor went from A+ to D-! There used to be a wamu around every corner now they are miles away.

You are right about the fun factor too…they stole our Ferrari and replaced it with a Ford Taurus! All the while trying to convince us that it will outperform our old Ferrari!! I want my Ferrari back please!!

15 years ago

Besides just the fun (if banking can be fun) factor, I’ve already had three problems with my account since it’s gone to Chase. Four years previously with WaMu? Zero.
I may be shopping for a new bank soon.

Phanos Pitiris
Phanos Pitiris
15 years ago

An emotional shock turns into an inspirational ode
if you want any clues, it’s “The Post-WaMu Chase Blues”


[…] esto viene a propósito de un post que leí la semana pasada sobre los cambios drásticos que JP Morgan Chase está haciendo en la […]

Yelena Shuster
15 years ago

this is a great post.

i have the same sentiments towards wamu. i used to have an account in chase before they merged and i felt the same depressing feeling when i walked into their branches because i was expected the same uplifting easy feeling wamu provides.
i haven’t been back in the states in months, but i’ll be switching banks upon my return. now to find a good, customer service oriented bank. any recommendations?

14 years ago

I changed to Wachovia. Chase is awful, horrible, evil. They have stolen my money– I went inside a branch to close my account. I thought hey had done that– they didn’t. I thought I had notified everyone that I had monthly withdrawals from this old Wamu account, I missed one. So– you guessed it, instead of it bouncing back I get a call from that comany, I get a bill from Chase NOTIFYING ME OF THE OVERDRAFT. Their mistake, but did they recify it? No, so now I have to drive to old Wamu (2 hours away) to close my account– hopefully it will be successful his time. I hate chase.

14 years ago

Wow…. I searched for “I want wamu back” and this is what I got. Chase is the complete opposite of Wamu. I loved WaMu and never had problems. I’m running into problems almost daily with these new guys. Their online website is what I REALLY dislike. The Billpay is horrible and aside from adding a couple more days to the float time (your money is zapped out the moment you send a billpay… even though the check isn’t even cut and mailed for several days), the interface is just crappy as can be. I have to click 6 times (I counted!) just to see what bills are coming up due. Anyone else with me on that?

I wanted to transfer funds to another bank. There was a a message “External transfers MAY incur a $3 charge”. I e-mailed them for a clarification to what “MAY” means. THREE days later I get this e-mail:

“We are currently experiencing higher than normal e-mail volume and, as a result, we are not able to respond to your e-mail message within the promised 24 hours. You can expect to receive a response from us within four to five
days. ”

Are you kidding me? More than a WEEK to answer a simple e-mail? Hmmm…the name “Chase” is starting to make sense now.

I don’t know… I’m sounding like a raving lunatic. I opened an account at 3 different banks and in the process of testing their Billpays. I have 6 accounts, 2 of them business, at Chase and use Billpay for all biz and personal transactions so its important to me.

I’m DEFINITELY bailing on Chase the moment I get set up elsewhere!


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