Once Again, WaMu Screws Me

Services for Real Estate Pros

angry, young mortgage brokerOkay my last post was about WaMu and the way they intentionally target people who may be living hand-to-mouth -- those that tend to bounce checks.  Feel free to read it here.  I don't mean to bore my readers with more of the same stuff, but I've got a little more.  This will be the last time I write about this lousy bank...I hope to be rid of them forever.

After they charged me hundreds of dollars (over $300 so far) for bounced checks, I vowed to close my account.  In fact, I intended to do it the day I wrote my last post.  However, I had some outgoing payments coming from the WaMu account, and I just wanted to wait until the next billing cycle.

Here's what the jerks did to me this time:

The first time they nailed me with bounced check fees, it was because they put a hold on a direct wire transfer from my Bank of America account.  That's right:  I made my initial deposit with a wire transfer.  It might as well have been cash.  Why put a hold on it?  So they could charge me all kinds of bounced check fees, that's why!

My next deposit was a direct deposit from the IRS.  It was about $1500.

Altogether, I had about $2600, including the $1500 that was freshly deposited from our government.  Anybody ever hear of putting a hold on a government check?  Heck, the pawn shops will cash government checks on the spot.  Apparently, pawn shops have a better check cashing policy than WaMu does.

I needed to put some money into my Bank of America checking account, to cover some checks.  So I wrote myself a $1500 check against the $2600 in my WaMu account.  Again, every cent in my WaMu account is from some sort of wire transfer or direct deposit.

As you can see below, WaMu did not pay on my $1500 check-- although I had plenty to cover it-- and I incurred 5 bounced check fees from Bank of America.

That came to $125.  Bank of America charges $25 for a bounced check; Washington Mutual-- with their "one free bounced check per year"-- charges $34.

bank of america

Above is a condensed version of my Bank of America statement.  Due to Washington Mutual's bogus policy, I went into the red by $907 and I was charged for 5 overdrafts.

So what was a girl to do?

I called Bank of America on June 20th and told them exactly what happened.  I explained how WaMu screwed me and put a hold on wire transfered funds.

What did Bank of America do?

bank of america statement


On June 23rd, Bank of America reversed all five bounced check fees, even though-- as far as they were concerned, I was in the "red."  They were polite, courteous, and more than willing to help.

WaMu on the other hand...  Well, when I called them, they referred to their commercial and told me they would waive one fee per year.  I said, "Considering the ridiculous circumstances, is that really the best you can do?"

She assured me that WaMu would only give me back $34 of the hundreds they stole from me.

But guess what?  I have yet to see the $34 credit.  WaMu has not even given me the "one ISF fee waived per year" that they advertise.

In all my life, this is the worst banking experience I have had.  Oh, and as a mortgage broker, I can also tell you that their are many, many banks with lower rates than WaMu.  I wouldn't even consider them if I were in the market for a mortgage.

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Carol Spengel
Prudential Rubloff - Wheaton, IL
Wheaton IL

I just love this School of Rock scene about "The Man."  Don't give up.

Jul 02, 2008 02:23 PM #6
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re

I hesitate to change from our local Credit union because they will talk to you. I would like the connivance of more ATM.s but stories like this make me want to say where I am.

Jul 02, 2008 02:45 PM #7
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

Good to know about Bank of America! That's the kind of service I expect from SunTrust, where I've held accounts for about 15 years. I guess WaMu won't be going out of business any time soon. They're going to stay afloat on overdraft fees.

Jul 02, 2008 03:01 PM #8
Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN

I know that bad customer service is the best way to lose money. Hopefully those guys will all get fired who started this type of behavior. It's a bad poilicy, and if enough people leave and complain, the person reponsible will get booted out.

Jul 02, 2008 03:37 PM #9
Carol Smith
Casmi Photography - Mebane, NC

Karen - that's rotten!  WaMu is/was in trouble with mortgages too so maybe they are trying to recoup some of that money through NSF fees.

Jul 02, 2008 03:57 PM #10
Gary McNinch
Better Properties Real Estate - Renton, WA
Broker, Renton WA Real Estate

Karen,    Glad you are feeling so good, that you can get your dander and blood pressure up and fire off nasty notes and phone calls.  I am just snotty enough that I would talk with the Regional Manager, in person.  Do you have any WAMU contacts thru your lending, may go that route to get a real live person too.

List and Sell (and WAMU isn't getting any loans from guess who??)    Gary @ RentonHomeFinder

Jul 02, 2008 06:28 PM #11
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate

Karen, this is just crazy.  I am amazed that B of A behaved well as they used to react as WaMU just did.  It is just so unfair and irrational...grrrrrr.

Jul 03, 2008 12:12 AM #12
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Karen thanks again for the heads up on WAMU. I will be sure to stay as far away as possible!

Jul 03, 2008 01:59 AM #13
Harold "Hal" Place
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL

Hi Karen,

Sorry to hear your continuing banking issues with WAMU! I do hope you have moved every account you have/had away from them.

One of my investment properties is mortgaged with them. They bought the mortgage from the orginal lender. Thankfully, I haven't had any problems with them.

Jul 03, 2008 08:18 AM #14
Geordie Romer
Windermere Real Estate / NCW - Leavenworth, WA
Serving Leavenworth, Lake Wenatchee, and Plain

Karen you will be disappointed to learn that you still haven't made it to the first few pages on Google for the term "wamu screws consumers". With 165,000 entries there is a lot of competition.  

Jul 03, 2008 10:35 AM #15
Arizona Real Estate Associate Broker
MR Realty - Mesa, AZ

Karen - Sorry to hear about this misfortune with Wa(y)Mu(ch)..I wondered how they were as an overall bank. I have seen them pop up more and more around the valley of the sun.

I have personally been told by a Wells Fargo banker that the banks don't make money on their customers on interest etc, but on the bank fees, overdrafts etc. That is what keeps them afloat. Now whether there is hard facts to support that I don't know. However, I have been in your shoes and have sat at my bank/s when I did the messing up. I have to say they reversed all the charges at the tune of $160+ and just fixed it. I know this might sound arrogant, but that is exactly what I expected from the customer service department even though it was an honest mistake on my part. I felt my bank believed me and that was huge.

As for your situation, it blows my mind as to why the wire didn't hit your account immediately. That wire should have been good as gold. I say pack your bags and move on from WahhhhBooooo..I mean WaMu

Jul 05, 2008 06:37 AM #16
Linda M. Cataldo
Dock Street Realty - Myrtle Beach, SC
Beach Destinations Realty Myrtle Beach

It's hard to believe in this very competitive time we are in that a bank would risk all this negative exposure - 100,000 Active Rainers can really do some damage.  If each of us were to tell all of our clients to avoid WaMu like the plague, what an amazing negative it could have on their bottom line.

Keep up the fight.  Forward this blog and its responses to WaMu and you may be able to recover some of those fees...Good Luck!

Jul 12, 2008 07:20 AM #17
Tucson Real Estate Experts Anne McKechnie
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Tucson, AZ
Previews Property Specialist

Hey Karen,

Many banks have outrageous policies. I deposited a large amount of cash from one bank to the other because of the same issue in the past with Chase.....it was at 3.55pm in the afternoon and the teller was so concerned that one of the bills was..... she said counterfeit....the money from Alliance Bank of Arizona........ so is makes you wonder if banks not only take counterfeit money but also give it...... but did not give me credit until after 4pm....hence bounced check too.  We cannot win for losing :)


Chase were not going to even give me a receipt or anything for the $100 they took and would not give  the bill back to me....I intended to take it back to Alliance Bank, as they gave it to me...instead they sent it to the Federal Reserve and I am out $100 Dollars

Jul 21, 2008 04:49 AM #18
Gina Zimmerman
North Eastern Group Realty - Fort Wayne, IN
Fort Wayne Real Estate

Wow, thanks for the warning.  There ought to be a law!  What ever happened to the "customer is always right!"

Jul 21, 2008 09:07 AM #19
Mary Anne S. Daly
Stearns NMLS #232164 CA BRE #01380812 - Mill Valley, CA
Queen of the Loan & Radio Broadcaster


That is OUTRAGEOUS!  I would take your blog post right to the local TV Station, newspaper and any other potential public source that could show WAMU up for their theivery.

It is stealing pure and simple. 

I happen to bank w/ BofA and even though they are a large bank, I have found them to be decent.

Make them pay and good luck!

Jul 23, 2008 03:33 PM #20
Ryan Trask
3plains - Shakopee, MN

Karen, they need to make their money somehow. They are screwed.

Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D. on WaMu. WaMu is on a death spiral, losing $3.3 billion in the second quarter ... admitting to losses of as much as $19 billion this year ... and probably on its way to losses of an estimated $26 billion.

Here's the big problem: As of the latest reckoning, Washington Mutual has $214.6 billion in residential mortgages on its books. And among those, more than three-quarters are in non-traditional categories - option ARMs, subprime loans, home equity loans and multi-family mortgages. Less than one-quarter is of the traditional, single-family prime variety.

WaMu is in big touble.

Jul 29, 2008 11:12 PM #21
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

That example of rotten treatment is one of the reasons I switched to a smaller local bank. Its actually a credit union and they treat members much better. OK there are not branches in other states, but most people still use travelers check when traveling so its no big deal. I love Austin Telco Credit Union. They treat me right and don't charge for ATM usage. That is the other thing that burns me. Charging people to access their own money, what a rip off. thanks for the post and good luck getting switched to a better bank!

Oct 06, 2008 06:11 AM #23
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

My bank also put a hold on the Federal stimulus check I received for 7 days -- the same banks that receive our federal tax dollars in a bailout.

Jan 28, 2009 02:19 AM #24
Ty Jacob

I tried to cash a payroll check at wamu today. The rep asked me for 2 ids, no biggy, then she asked for my phone number,again no biggy, but then she asked for my social security #. I have been a victim of stolen ss# beofre. I refused to give it and they refused to cash the payroll check written on there bank.. Now I remember why I closed my account years ago.

Mar 10, 2009 10:29 AM #25
Grant Powell

Dude, I got so screwed too! They won't even let me use my line of credit now... but it's still active... it doesn't make sense! Read my story here, you won't believe it!



Apr 22, 2009 10:50 AM #26
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