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Chase buys WaMu’s banking, credit card businesses

JP Morgan Chase announced it has acquired all banking assets — including credit card accounts — of Washington Mutual Bank after the thrift was closed by federal regulators late Thursday.

A statement released by the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said the acquisition was facilitated by the FDIC and the Office of Thrift Supervision, which closed the thrift late Thursday and named a receiver. Chase then stepped in to purchase WaMu, which has assets totaling more than $300 billion.

“For all depositors and other customers of Washington Mutual Bank, this is simply a combination of two banks,” FDIC chairman Sheila C. Bair said in the Thursday release. “For bank customers, it will be a seamless transition. There will be no interruption in services and bank customers should expect business as usual come Friday morning.” 

Chase issued a statement saying “the acquisition expands Chase’s consumer branch network into the attractive states of California, Florida and Washington state and creates the nation’s second-largest branch network — with locations reaching 42 percent of the U.S. population.”

It will also “extend the reach of the business banking, commercial banking, credit card, consumer lending and wealth management businesses,” according to Chase.

WaMu credit cardholders
Customers carrying WaMu credit cards should continue with business as usual, Chase said. Payments should continue to be mailed to the payment address customers currently use. WaMu credit card and ATM cards will be accepted as normal. As those cards expire, they will be replaced with credit cards carrying the Chase logo. Monthly WaMu credit card statements will gradually begin to carry the Chase logo. (See: What happens to credit debt when a bank fails and Credit crisis survival tips)  

“Continue to bank just as you usually do,” Chase advised WaMu customers on a website welcoming them to the Chase family. Chase says WaMu customers will “soon” be able to use more than 9,300 Chase ATMs without incurring fees. The two banks’ combined ATMs will total 14,000 nationwide.

To comment on this article, write to: Editors@CreditCards.com.

See related: Credit crisis survival tips, What happens to credit debt when a bank fails, Citi buys Wachovia’s banking assets with FDIC backing, Will cash become king again?, Wachovia card user wonders what nextLessons from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’    

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