Washington Mutual is one of Americas largest regional banks. Miel and I have used Washington Mutual (WaMu), since we first moved in together. They are also our home mortgage lender, and in the past we’ve owned some shares of the companies common stock. All in all, I feel we have an informed opinion about the company, so I’ll just outline it briefly for you.
Customer Service: We’ve interacted with the banks retail and customer service reps both on-line and in person. On-line they’re pretty prompt about responding, but person to person, our experience has been mixed. WaMu got its start on the west coast, and out in Oregon their customer service is great. On the other hand the branches we’ve been to in New York City had long lines, complemented with surly and ill trained employees.
On-Line Access: Online access has been an issue. We have two loans with WaMu (one for our investment property and one for our home). However, when we inquired about getting access to both of the loans in one on-line account, we were told that it wasn’t technically possible. What this means is that their on-line service is inflexible. On the bright side, their core on-line services seem to work well. For example, their bill pay service and account transfers work in a timely and efficient manner.
On a final note, WaMu doesn’t seem to be able to handle non-standard requests well. For example, we called to see if we could change the interest rate and terms of our mortgage without refinancing (this is called a contract modification), but the bank did not appear to have an office that did this. We also attempted to make two mortgage payments per month to pay down our balance more quickly. WaMu also was unable to cope with this.
All in all, WaMu is okay. If you just want a standard checking account, its fine. If want more than just regular service, you might consider looking elsewhere.