The letter and the law isn’t enough

Clueless or malicious? Guy Strickland paid off his WaMu equity line after losing his home in a fire. By California law, early payment penalties are not allowed after a home is lost in a disaster. Chase corporate even gave him a letter waiving fee. But when he went into a local WaMu branch, they refused to waive the prepayment penalty despite the letter and the law. He took them to small claims and won. He sent the Sheriff with a court order to collect the money. They refused. It was only after a reporter started poking around that Chase corporate refunded him the money and sent an apology letter. (story)

Overdraft fee and debit policy changes

Ahead of (and in response to) a bill in Congress that will limit overdraft and other bank fees, Chase and BofA announced overdraft fee and debit policy changes. The changes for Chase include no overdraft if an account is overdrawn by $5 of less and a maximum of 3 overdraft penalties per day instead of 6. They will also start handling debits chronologically rather than lumping them together at the end of the day and processing the largest amounts first. Chages to take effect in the 1st quarter in 2010. The NYT article also claims that Chase will begin allowing people to turn off automatic overdraft protection, although their disclosure statement seems to indicate this is already possible.

Bottom line: it is still possible to rack up significant overdraft fees using a debit card. Chase and other banks need to stop automatically enrolling customers in these overdraft protection schemes. (WSJNYT)

Update: according to this LA Times article, Chase will in fact still process the largest charges first, giving you more of a chance of an overdraft. The article also says Chase is switching to opt-in for overdraft protection, but doesn’t say what will happen to existing accounts (i.e. will they turn it off if you never asked for it in the first place).

Anti-Chase rant

Here is a pretty good anti-Chase rant that makes a lot of sense.

Summary of changes since the seizure

Even as bad as I thought WaMu was, I would hear an occasional story about a well run branch that people liked. Here is one person who liked their WaMu experience and now hates what it has become with Chase. It has a good summary of what has changed with Chase (story)

Corporate policy: no deposit drop boxes

Customers love the deposit drop box. It is simple and quick and it just works. So why did Chase rip out all of the WaMu deposit drop boxes? Because it is their corporate policy (story)

Turn off overdraft protection

story in yesterday’s NPR Marketplace claims that banks are racheting up debit card fees to make up for lost revenue from credit card fees. Among the big fee generators is overdraft protection, something that comes enabled for most new checking acocunts and generates about $38 Billion a year for banks. The story also claims that many banks do not allow you to turn off overdraft protection. According to Chase’s checking account disclosure, you CAN turn it off but you must visit a branch or put the request in writing. Our most important tip to Chase customers is TURN OFF AUTOMATIC OVERDRAFT PROTECTION! It will bit you sooner or later.

Loan fee for a loan WaMu doesn’t offer

In a similar story, WaMu took a customers loan application fee even though they didn’t offer the type of loan the person wanted. They refused to refund the money until reporters started asking questions.

Reflect on WaMu’s seizure

This fridary 9/25 is the one year anniversary of WaMu’s seizure by the FDIC and sale to JP Morgan Chase. This is a good time to reflect on whether things have gotten better or worse under Chase than they were under WaMu. In the past year I haven’t heard a single story about a WaMu customer being pleased that their bank is now Chase.

WordPress Themes