Remember when anarchists vandalized a Chase Bank on Capitol Hill a couple years ago?
When the story ran on The Seattle Times website, most online commenters actually seemed to side with the anarchists. “I don’t break windows” one top-rated comment reads, “I moved to a credit union.”
Does Chase have an image problem in Seattle — even more so than the other big banks? Jon Talton a year ago blamed it on lingering anger over the circumstances surrounding Chase’s takeover of Seattle-based WaMu in 2008.
To make matters worse, cherished neighborhood businesses seem to be turning into Chase Banks at an alarming rate: Easy Street Records in Lower Queen Anne, Costas Opa restaurant in Fremont, and Twice Sold Tales bookstore in the University District have all been replaced by Chase branches in the last two years.
So it may not surprise you to learn that even as Chase has increased its brick-and-mortar footprint in Seattle, the bank has been losing ground among customers. Market data from Scarborough Research show that since Chase acquired WaMu in 2008, it has seen a sharp decline in the percentage of Seattle-area households who use it as their primary bank.
And in that same time, an increasing number of local households have chosen to bank with BECU (formerly known as Boeing Employees Credit Union). In fact, BECU has edged out Chase as the second-most widely used bank in the Seattle metropolitan area, as the chart illustrates.
This represents a dramatic reversal. Just five years ago, when Chase entered this market by acquiring WaMu, the percentage of households using it as their primary bank was double that of BECU.
Bank of America remains the No. 1 bank in the Seattle area with 24 percent of households doing the majority of their banking there. Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank round out the top-5 institutions that Seattle-area households use as their primary banks, according to Scarborough.
Have you switched from Chase to BECU or one of the other credit unions? Or are you a satisfied Chase customer? Feel free to sound off in the comments.