Washington Mutual Bank customers who visited the bank website this morning found a new graphic welcoming them to the bank’s new owner, J. P. Morgan Chase.

And bank customers may soon be going to a different physical location to do their banking.

The failure Thursday of WaMu, crippled by its bad bets on the mortgage market, is expected by some industry observers to lead to the closure of up to 80 percent of the WaMu branches in the Chicago area, according to a story today in Chicago Business

Branches close to an existing Chase branch are especially vunerable, and the one in Sherman Plaza in downtown Evanston would seem likely to be in that pool, since Chase has two of its own branches within a couple blocks.

The other WaMu branch in Evanston, in the Dempster-Dodge plaza, likely is also at risk, because Chase has a branch inside the Dominicks supermarket that anchors the plaza.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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