I wanted to provide a quick update on my tales as a Washington Mutual customer. Yesterday morning, I took a trip up to my local Washington Mutual branch to take out $2,000 in cash. It was entirely, completely uneventful. I’m not sure what I was expecting – I knew it wasn’t going to be the bank run in It’s A Wonderful Life where I ask for $2,000 and the teller says, “Aw, Debbie, do you need that? How about $200?” But I guess I did expect something out of the ordinary – maybe a long line of customers or a quiet funeral dirge playing over the speakers…
There was only one other customer in the bank and there was no JPMorgan signage. Had I not read the news, I would never have guessed the bank just tanked. I asked the teller if my direct deposit and auto-bill pay would be affected; he said no. I asked if he thought this branch would remain open; he said absolutely – JPMorgan doesn’t have a West coast presence, so the only branches that were in jeopardy were on the East coast where there is some redundancy.
I’m glad it appears these folks will be keeping their jobs. I know that my teller wasn’t one of the WaMu executives looking at no income, no asset mortgages and saying, “Wow, these look great. Let’s get a few billion dollars worth.”
So who got screwed? Not me – my money was right there. Maybe I’ll want to change banks down the road if I don’t like the policies that JPMorgan brings with it, but as for now, it really is business as usual. Hopefully not the WaMu line workers – my teller seemed pretty sure of his job security. Not the FDIC – they played the deal broker role here and didn’t need to tap any of their funds to cover accounts. WaMu executives? Given the size of executive pay and bonuses for the last few years, I’m certainly not going to cry any tears for them. WaMu shareholders? Yup. Things sure haven’t been pretty for them for the last several months, but this deal guarantees their investment is just about worthless.