Can You Still Cash Washington Mutual Bank Checks?

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Burdened with thousands of defaulted mortgage loans, Washington Mutual went out of business as an independent company in September 2008. JP Morgan Chase took over WaMu's liabilities and assets, and took control of the old bank's checking and savings accounts. Washington Mutual account holders found themselves in possession of blank checks carrying the old bank's routing and account numbers, and payees began to wonder: What do I do with this check?

Accounts and Loans

Checking Accounts

Unfree Checking

Under management by JP Morgan Chase, WaMu checking accounts began conforming to Chase's fee structure in 2011. Washington Mutual customers no longer enjoyed their "free checking" privileges, which is another reason the old accounts are closing and the old checks are fast disappearing. To avoid the monthly fee, checking customers had to keep a minimum average daily balance or have one direct deposit of at least $500 during the month.

Inactive Accounts

As part of the receivership agreement, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took over inactive WaMu accounts, then forwarded those accounts to the state of the account-holder's last known address. If you are holding a check drawn on an inactive account, then the check will be returned if you try to deposit it. You would then have to file a claim against the account's balance, which has legally become "unclaimed property" in the custody of the state.