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Q&A | JPMorgan Chase-WaMu deal

It's business as usual

What does the sale mean for customers?

JPMorgan Chase assured customers on both the WaMu Web site and its own that it's business as usual after it assumed the deposit and loan accounts, and all branches of Washington Mutual. "You can continue to access your accounts just the way you've accessed them in the past: use your same branch, same debit, credit and ATM cards, same checks."

How safe is WaMu customers' money?

"No one lost any money that was deposited in Washington Mutual Bank," the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said. FDIC insurance protects deposits up to $100,000, or $250,000 for some individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s. But that insurance should not be needed if the JPMorgan takeover proceeds smoothly. The purchase prevents WaMu's collapse from depleting the FDIC's insurance fund, which stood at $45 billion on Thursday.

What about WaMu investors?

The news is much worse. Stockholders, who had already seen shares plunge 95 percent, have the lowest priority for claims against WaMu. "Equity investors generally get the short end of the stick on these kinds of things," said "Stock Trader's Almanac" author and publisher Jeff Hirsch. "The company goes belly up, you lose."

Do direct deposit, automated payments, transfers remain the same? What about credit card and loan payments?

JPMorgan Chase says all those services will continue without interruption or change. Payment instructions and addresses remain the same.

If customers have deposit accounts at both WaMu and Chase, are both insured?

Yes. FDIC regulations say deposits at WaMu that transferred to Chase will be separately insured from any accounts at Chase for at least six months after the sale. CDs from WaMu are separately insured until the earliest maturity date after the six-month period.

When can WaMu customers bank at Chase bank branches?

Not yet, according to JPMorgan Chase, which will need some time to get the two systems combined. Less than 10 percent of the new company's combined branches will close. That could still mean a few branch closings in the Tampa Bay area.

Can existing Chase bank customers make credit card, car loan or mortgage payments at a WaMu branch now?

No. JPMorgan Chase says the date for that isn't yet known.

It's business as usual 09/26/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 1:33pm]
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