How the Washington Mutual Takeover Will Affect Consumers

Customers can still get their cash—and still have to pay their mortgage.

By + More

The government seized banking giant Washington Mutual last night and then sold some pieces of it to JPMorgan Chase for approximately $1.9 billion. Here is how this will affect former Washington Mutual consumers:

What will happen to my bank account?

If you had an account with Washington Mutual Bank yesterday, you now have an account with JPMorgan Chase Bank. All deposit accounts, including savings, checking, money market, and retirement accounts and certificates of deposit, have been transferred to JPMorgan Chase Bank. No depositor has lost any money, even if it was above FDIC insurance limits. Direct deposits and Social Security checks will continue as normal. Can I get access to my money today?

Your debit card and bill-paying services will continue to work. You can still use the checks you have now, and checks already written that did not clear before the institution closed will be honored if there are sufficient funds in the account. Local branches will be open as usual. "For bank customers, it will be a seamless transition," FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said in a statement. "There will be no interruption in services, and bank customers should expect business as usual come Friday morning." What about my loan or mortgage?

All Washington Mutual loans have been assumed by JPMorgan Chase Bank. Payment amounts and due dates will not change, and automatic payments will still work. Customers should continue to make checks out to Washington Mutual Bank. Will my interest rate change?

Interest on deposits accrued through Sept. 25, 2008, will be paid at the previously stated rate. JPMorgan Chase Bank will be reviewing rates and will provide customers with information at a later date. What if I already have an account with JPMorgan Chase and the combined balance will put me over the FDIC insurance limit?

Your transferred deposits will be separately insured from any accounts you may already have at JPMorgan Chase Bank for six months. CDs from Washington Mutual are separately insured until the earliest maturity date after the end of the six-month grace period. If a CD matures during the six-month period and is renewed for the same term and in the same dollar amount, it will continue to be separately insured until the first maturity date after the six-month period. If a CD matures during the six-month grace period and is renewed on any other basis, it would be separately insured only until the end of the six-month grace period.

What if I have other questions about the transition?

Customers can call a Washington Mutual banking representative at 1-800-788-7000 or the FDIC Call Center at 1-877-275-3342 with questions. You can calculate your FDIC insurance coverage for each FDIC-insured bank where you have deposit accounts using this calculator.