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Our banking needs are simple, so I haven’t paid too much attention to the switch from Washington Mutual to Chase. My biggest concern was that C2 not be locked out of using her debit card while she was in Chile last year because that’s what she lived on, and she wasn’t, and we haven’t encountered more than a momentary glitch, so I haven’t spent any time worrying about it. But the other day while pretending to be responsible I tried to find a table comparing our old Washington Mutual accounts to what they’d become as Chase accounts. Not available, on the Chase site (which was quite a surprise to the support guy for or in a branch.

I asked someone at the bank to go over things with me. She told me all the WaMu accounts were grandfathered.

For six to eight months.

Six or eight? And do you know from when?

Oh, I don’t know. March, May, whenever they made the switch. Just plan on the end of the year. [And then she winked at me. Bank employees should not wink.]

My reason for asking is that, if I’m going to be charged new fees, I want to move accounts before then. She told me that if I’m charged, she’d reverse them. Then she called, on the phone, the guy twenty feet across the room, who told her the old accounts are grandfathered forever. That’s something, but so far two people have given two different answers to the same question, so I’m not too comforted by that. So I asked for a comparison of the accounts and she found a booklet targeted to people opening new accounts. I don’t know all the features of our old accounts or even what they’re called because they seemed to change names all the time, and they aren’t listed in the booklet, so I looked at the page with a sort-of comparison. I wanted to be reassured that I wouldn’t have to pay for things that used to be free so that I wouldn’t have to look for a new bank.

No, they’re grandfathered. And forever!

So, nothing will change?

No, nothing. Grandfathered.

No fees? No minimums? No transaction limits? Free bill pay? Chase won’t charge me to use non-Chase ATMs? Free checks?

No. Everything is exactly the same. Nothing has changed. Grandfathered.

I then notice a line item on the page that mentions Chase charges $2.00 to use a non-Chase ATM. WaMu did not. Now I’m looking at the bottom of the page, where there’s a note saying that debit rewards has been discontinued.

So, nothing at all will change, except this will change?

She’s getting a little annoyed with me, and it’s not her fault that the damn bank hasn’t created a document that would answer what are surely common questions. I can only imagine the frustrated customers they’ve had to deal with, made all the more frustrating because they haven’t been given enough information to pass on to their customers. She starts to tell me, again, that everything is exactly the same, grandfathered and all that, when I show her the parts of the page that suggest changes. She puts on her reading glasses.

Yes, nothing will change. Except that.