I had a long-term CD account at Washington Mutual, which was bought by Chase during the econopocalypse. In my latest quarterly statement (which Chase has managed to bloat into two pages), there was a note that I had to “claim” my account or they would be forced to turn it over to the FDIC. I called the number and here is roughly what transpired.
Recording: Thanks for calling Chase to claim your account. You can claim your account by executing a transaction on it.
Me: No, I can’t, not without incurring an interest penalty. It’s a long term CD that doesn’t mature until 2010.
Recording: Or by visiting a branch.
Me: I haven’t been inside a bank branch in years.
Recording: Or by logging into your Washington Mutual online banking account.
Me: I don’t have one of those.
Recording: Or by remaining on the line to talk to a banker.
Me: Now we’re getting somewhere.
Recording: If you’d like to participate in a customer satisfaction survey, please stay on the line after the banker disconnects, and you’ll be automatically connected to the survey.
Banker: Thanks for calling Chase. How can I help you?
Me: I got a note in my statement that I have to claim the CD account I had with Washington Mutual.
Banker: No problem. What’s the account number?
Me: [reads number from the statement]
Banker: Hmm. I don’t see an account with that number.
Me: It’s the number right from the statement.
Banker: Did you open this account in California?
Me: Yes. I opened it with Great Western Savings in California. After the savings and loan melt-down, Great Western Savings became Great Western Bank, which was bought by Washington Mutual, which closed my branch without notice, and now they’ve been bought by you.
Banker: Wow, you’ve had that CD for quite a while.
Me: Yes, and this is the most work I’ve ever had to put into maintaining it.
Banker: Maybe I can look it up by your name.
Me: [gives name, address, date-of-birth, and full Social Security number, and hopes that this isn't some scam]
Banker: Oh, OK, here it is. I see it was opened in 2002.
Me: Quicken says I’ve had it since at least 1992. I think that was after Great Western switch from an S&L to a bank.
Banker: Let me confirm the balance with you then. [tells me the balance]
Me: Yeah, that’s right.
Banker: OK, you’ve now claimed your account.
Me: Gee, that’s a relief, because it seems like you didn’t have it there for a minute. And I don’t really understand why I had to claim it. Every bank account I’ve ever had has changed hands at least once before, and I’ve never had to claim any of those.
Banker: It’s just a regulation, sir.
Me: Then it’s a regulation no other bank follows.
Banker: Is there anything else I can do for you?
Me: No, just keep my money safe, thanks.
Banker: Thanks for calling Chase. Goodbye.
Me: [waits on the line for the promised customer satisfaction survey]
Me: [… and waits]
Me: [… and waits]
Click. Dial tone.
Me: Note to self, move the CD when it matures next year.