Bank branches change owners

Washington Federal takes over Bank of America

— Bank of America branches in Omak, Republic, Chelan and several other Eastern Washington cities will become Washington Federal branches in early December.

Seattle-based Washington Federal recently acquired 51 Bank of America branches in Washington, Idaho, New Mexico and Oregon. In Washington, 19 branches will make the changeover.

“We’re very excited to be in Eastern Washington,” Washington Federal spokeswoman Cathy Cooper said.

The deal was inked in July. Bank of America notified its customers in mid-October and Washington Federal sent welcome notices last week.

The transition is scheduled for Dec. 6.

Washington Federal is sending conversion guides to customers, along with starter packs of checks, account number information and new debit cards.

Bank of America customers can opt out of the conversion by notifying Washington Federal. Similarly, those in areas not affected by the buyout can opt in to the Washington Federal system, Cooper said.

Safe deposit boxes will remain unchanged, with customers keeping the same keys.

The deal does not include Bank of America’s mortgages and credit card accounts, Cooper said. Washington Federal does offer its own line of credit cards, but Bank of America customers would have to apply.

Bank of America is keeping several branches in larger cities within the state.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

In July, Washington Federal said its assets will swell to about $15 billion and its work force will grow by more than 20 percent to nearly 1,800 employees in eight states.

The company has said it will offer jobs to all of the Bank of America employees at the affected branches.

Bank of America succeeded Seattle-First National Bank in the area. It closed its Okanogan branch in 2005.

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