Washington Mutual is screwing everything up

Anyone notice all the construction going on at just about every Washington Mutual? They are supposed to be making them better, but instead they are srewing them all up. OK, the way it used to work at most of them was you walked in freely, there was some guard dude who would nod at you and you could either walk up to wait in line then then talk to a teller who was behind a few inches of bullet proof glass, or if you were in a rush you could just throw your deposit envelope into the express deposit box and then take off. Well, I guess they thought that was too “impersonal” or some crap so they are getting rid of all that and replacing the windows with individual islands where you can just go talk to someone in person. It sounds good, but there’s a HUGE flaw that is playing out most obviously at the Vermont branch between Hollywood and Sunset. Because the tellers are just out in the open now you have to walk through a crazy double door weapon scanner thing when you walk in, and there’s no room for a line inside, so a guard stands outside and lets people in one at a time. Which takes for ever. The line the other day took over 30 minutes. Here’s the great, super well thought out part. The express deposit box? It’s inside. So if you just want to make a quick deposit, you have to wait in the same line outside with everyone for the entire time before you can get to the “express” box. Not very express at all. Well, at least there’s the ATMs right? Sort of. That’s great if you are making a withdraw, but if you want to make a deposit, you need a deposit envelope. Guess where those are. With the ATMs? Nope. Inside. Get in line sucker.

So what do people talk about while waiting in line? How much it sucks, and how there’s none of this chaos at other banks. I’ve heard several people talking about how they were waiting in line to close their accounts because it’s a nightmare to do business there now. On that note I opened a new account at Union Bank of California the other day and the experience was much, much better.

10 Replies to “Washington Mutual is screwing everything up”

  1. you’re over generalizing. yeah, the vermont branch is jacked, but that is because they closed/acquired/merged three branches into one place. that is how you got your “new” starbucks. ever notice how there is a line of 70 people there five minutes after they open?

    now, that island paradigm (sans booby-trap door no less)works incredibly well at the brand new WAMU branch by my work. it is the best bank in the world.

    do what i did after going to vermont once: drive to glendale.

  2. I don’t know anything about a new starbucks but I’ve been there at all hours since the switch and it’s been the same problem. the two other branches that I regularly go to, on Larchmont and in Beverly Hills are now having the same problem so if your bank in your building isn’t that’s great but I’m not talking about just one branch.

  3. that’s my point, that vermont is jacked from the moment it opens and that you have to go to the burbs for easy WAMU access. all the branches in the city are over extended. i used to go to the one on wilshire and whatever, right by the masonic temple and that used to be pretty good. vermont and prospect pre-starbucks was manageable. but you are still over generalizing.

    i understand though, you might not remember when the auto club/starbucks was a great western bank…

  4. The Port Hueneme branch is jacked too. But the whole redesign makes sense if the goal was to stop people from coming to the branch. They all have been redesigned to be worse.

  5. When I first encountered their islands, I was so confused, I didn’t even know where to form a line – at one of the islands, each island, in the aisle?

    I’ve given up on the whole idea of banking with a person. If I can’t do it at an ATM, or better yet, online, then I don’t want to do it.

    Frankly, I trust a machine more than a person with my money.

  6. It’s been so long since I’ve actually been inside a bank that the last branch I remember going into was an oak bough hanging over the El Prieto singletrack รณ and that was back in 1997 (rimshot). I’m here all week folks.

    And points to Keith for spelling “Hueneme” correctly.

  7. I switched away from WaMu and over to Union Bank a year or so ago because WaMu said they couldn’t change my gold checking account back to a regular one. Since the main benefit of the gold account was free checks, and I only write one check a month now, I decided that instead of closing my gold account and re-opening a brand new account with all the deposit restrictions that come with it, I’d just move away. The customer service experiences I have had at Union Bank have been fantastic.

  8. it seems that there hasn’t been much need to enter an actual bank branch for years now. and a hint…grab a huge stack of deposit envelopes and keep em in your glove box so you don’t have to even get out of the car to get your deposit ready. but cna anyone explain why WAMU doesn’t charge anyone else to use their ATMs yet still charges me to use someone elses?

  9. What I hate about Washington Mutual is that they defaced the old Home Savings branches that they aquired with their tacky purple and yellow logos. The Home Savings banks with the wonderful mosaics are in earth tones that really look ugly with the old purple and yellow slapped on them. My reason for never opening an account with WM.

  10. PERSONALLY, I LOVE WASHINGTON MUTUAL. WAMU EMPHASIZES ON CUSTOMER SERVICE WHEN I WAS AT WELLS FARGO AND BANK OF AMERICA THEY CHARGED FOR EVERYTHING. WAMU HAS FREE CHECKING ACCOUNTS AND YOU CAN HAVE IT WITH ONE DOLLAR OR LESS. IT IS TRUE THAT THEY HAVE A LOT OF CUSTOMERS BUT IT’S OVERALL PERFORMANCE PAYS IT OFF!!! WE SHOULDN’T BE SO NEGATIVE

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