April 10, 2006
An Undignified End to an Internet Pioneer
I was one of Wingspan Bank’s first customers when they opened their online banking system as a division of Bank One back in 1997 or so. Wingspan closed its doors and merged with Bank One probably about 6 years ago now, with (if I remember correctly) only 77,000 customers — obviously, the world had changed a lot, and online banking no longer required a dedicated “online bank.”
Even after Wingspan closed, I kept my Wingspan-turned-Bank One account, although there wasn’t much money in it and I didn’t really use it for much of anything. Finally, last week, I decided to close the account — easy, I figured, since Bank One had merged with Chase, which is where we have our main savings and checking accounts.
Well, after three phone calls and one fax, the conclusion was that there was no way to automatically merge the Bank One and Chase accounts or even electronically transfer the funds from one to the other as part of the same bank (hello, merger integration?). So in the end, my big experimental Wingspan online banking account drew to a close with a paper check mailed to me so I could re-deposit it at Chase. Even for a connoisseur of irony, that seemed like a bit much to me.