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New bank on White Plains Road

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White Plains Road WaMu customers will be looking for a new branch.

A long-standing Washington Mutual location at 2178 White Plains Road has closed its doors, and will soon reopen as an Amalgamated Bank.

The store sits between two discount clothing boutiques, Pretty Girl Inc. and Studio 2180. WaMu has been owned by JPMorgan Chase since September of 2008, though the company filed a lawsuit in 2009 against the FDIC for allegedly allowing WaMu to be sold to Chase for an unfairly low price.

A sign on the door from Chase reads: “We’ve moved! We will now serve you at the Pelham Parkway branch, located at 2126 White Plains Road.”

A second sign announces that AB is coming soon and touts full-service banking and free checking.

Lee said that when she first heard Washington Mutual would be moving out, she hoped for something new and exciting — like a grocery or or electronics store — but was disappointed to learn one bank was moving out so another bank could move in.

Larry Prospect, executive director of the White Plains Road BID, agreed that the block is saturated with banks, but stressed that any new business is better than an empty storefront.

“I would have preferred something different, since we do have enough banks,” he said. “But banks seem to be pretty successful in this area. It proves that we have a viable community.”

Prospect said that many people will barely notice the change, except for those who really relied on the location. “Someone complained to me that they need the WaMu there, but someone else I know told me ‘Oh, I bank at Amalgamated and I always have to go elsewhere, so this will be great.’”

Mike Fusco, Chase rep for New York, said that, “We acquired WaMu locations last year and we are still going through our real estate.” According to Fusco, then, the reason for this particular closure was that there was already a WaMu or Chase bank right nearby.

Before its failure and sale to Chase, WaMu banking locations were known for their unique design.

Under a system called Occasio, WaMu locations had no teller windows inside, instead using a circular interior with tellers stationed behind free-standing podiums, and a greeter in the middle of the room.

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