Chase Discovers That South Florida is Sunny

The long-awaited computer conversion that allows South Florida Chase and Washington Mutual customers to become one happy family -- and not rely on snail-mail to make deposits -- has finally occurred. Former WaMu branches all over Delray Beach and Boca Raton have been hoisting that familiar blue octagon logo over their doors and hosting "Chase Day" parties to celebrate.

Now, Chase faces the difficult task of convincing former WaMu customers and other potential clients to give them their business. The New York-based bank has launched an advertising campaign in Florida, and has vowed to "spend a ton of money" wooing customers, according to the Orlando Business Journal.

This can't be easy. Nowadays, it's hard for any bank to sound trustworthy. Their target audience can't seem to forget the pesky $700 billion it just lent them.

Chase is one of the lucky ones that repaid the investments it received under the federal Troubled Assets Relief Program. But as Mother Jones recently reported:

In the first quarter of 2009, JPMorgan Chase's troubled asset ratio--the ratio of bad loans to the cash a bank has set aside to cover them--increased by nearly 16 percent, US Bancorp's by 21 percent, and Capital One's by 17 percent, numbers that put them in the same ballpark as many banks that are holding their TARP money.

So what kind of advertising can Chase do to win the confidence of customers in Florida? Well, it's off to rocky start with a billboard on I-95 near the Linton Boulevard exit.

"82° and Sunny With a 100% Chance of Helpful Banking" the sign reads.

Ah yes, the old weather slogan. A classic tourist mistake. We live here, remember? Sun isn't news to us. In fact, we frequently pray for rain. So Chase, if you want us to believe you're really here to help, you'll have to stop reminding us that you're bankers...who live in New York.

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