Chase Will Begin to Rebrand WaMu Branches

Some Advertising to Begin Next Week Explaining Changes Following $1.9 Billion Acquisition

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YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) -- Goodbye, Washington Mutual. Hello, Chase.

Now that JPMorgan Chase has shelled out $1.9 billion for beleaguered Washington Mutual, the deal will ultimately shelve the Washington Mutual name in favor of the Chase bank brand.
WaMu Chase
WaMu Chase

In a welcome letter to the savings-and-loan's customers on its website, Chase wrote that some of the changes will include branches being re-named Chase and the re-issuing of new debit cards with the Chase name, as well as the Chase name beginning to appear on statements, online and new credit cards as they come up for re-issue. A Chase spokesman said no major changes are occurring immediately and that the full transition to the Chase brand will take several years.

No marketing plans set
The Chase spokesman also said no definitive plans for marketing have been set; however, he did say that it is "looking" to do some advertising next week and at WaMu markets in particular. The message to WaMu customers today -- and likely in those upcoming ads -- he said, is to keep "doing what you're doing. Just know that now you're part of a bigger and stronger bank."

As far as agency alignments, he said it's much too early to tell. Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., handles Washington Mutual, while independent shop McGarryBowen, New York, handles Chase.

The spokesman said the unique problem is timing -- in most mergers, an announcement precedes the actual merger by six months or more, but with government involved because of the current financial crisis, the deal was done "yesterday."

"We've gone through this before and we're good at it, but it's a lot of work to make sure it's all done right," he said.
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