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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Chased Away to BECU

Chase Sucks
When I first moved to Seattle about 12 years ago I set up a checking account with Washington Mutual (WAMU) Bank. At first I was satisfied with the service, they had plenty of locations, they didn't charge monthly fees and provided other services I was satisfied with. They were a bank, so I didn't love them, but my card worked, my checks were cashed, and they did what they were supposed to do.

Later when I opened my own small business, I set up a checking account for that as well through them. No minimum balance requirements required or monthly fees. Just a basic checking account with my business name on it.

Fast forward to the financial crisis and the housing bubble bust, and WAMU ends up under the new ownership of Chase Bank. At first they said nothing would change, and I didn't have to big of an issue getting my account transferred over for online access.

But it wasn't long before the quality of service started to suffer. The first thing that happened was they told me if I didn't have a minimum balance in my business checking account, I would pay a fee. So I closed the account. It was a very small business.

Then a couple of months ago, they told me the same thing for my personal checking account. I either had to have a direct deposit setup or minimum monthly balance. I actually already met the requirements, so there was no danger of me being charged the fees. But, people get laid off, stuff happens, and my financial status might change. And if it did, I wouldn't want to have an additional monthly charge from my bank.

So, I went down the street to BECU and opened an account. They also had some of the same requirements, and if I met those requirements, they would give me interest on my checking account. If I didn't they wouldn't. Either way, there is no fee.

Chase prefers the stick, BECU likes the carrot. And it works, because my Chase account is now closed, they no longer make money of my debit card transaction fees, and I won't be using them for any other services. BECU however, will be making money from me. Assuming they keep the same business practices, that is.






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