The Most Evil Bank
I bet you know who the most evil bank is before I even name it.
If you want to read all day about why the largest bank in the U.S. is evil, have at it. I could tell you stories about people that I knew who were foreclosed on by this bank, put out on the streets while the executives were taking the bailout money and giving themselves eight-figure bonuses.
I could write about the London Whale, MF Global (where my brother had one of his trading accounts), and overcharging and foreclosing on military families while their primary breadwinners were stationed overseas.
I think that I hate this evil bank because us Middle Class U.S. taxpayers bailed them out, only to have them proceed with countless foreclosures during the Recession and then awarding their executives with bonuses more than you and me will earn in our entire lives.
The price that you and me, U.S. taxpayers, paid to the most evil bank?
$16 billion and counting.
According to Richard Eskow, who authored “The Price of Evil at JPMorgan Chase” for the Huffington Post in May of 2013, “The price of evil may be high at JPMorgan Chase, but the malefactors who actually committed the wrongdoing aren’t paying it. Wrongdoing and incompetence may be expensive. But for executives at JPMorgan Chase and our other too-big-to fail banks, it’s also surprisingly affordable.”
I took a gander at the Chase Bank Sucks site, which the webmaster claims irritated the giant foreclosure machine to the point where they sent a nasty threatening email to him. I guess they did not appreciate people who were mistreated by their too-big-to-fail institution venting their frustrations and exercising their right of Free Speech. By the way, I am exercising my own Free Speech via this blog and this post.
There are hundreds of articles about why this bank is evil, and I suspect that you could find similar articles and blog posts ranting about nearly every other bank. It is just that the other’s aren’t quite as evil as JP Morgan.
In another 2013 article, this one by Halah Touryalai on Forbes entitled “Is JPMorgan Chase American’s New Bad Bank?” she writes “These days though JPM’s executives are invited to Washington for far less appealing events–Congressional testimony over questionable behavior at the bank, for example.
The steady stream of negative news, congressional appearances and scathing Senate reports is something more familiar to the likes of Bank of America, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs than JPM; but now Dimon & Co. are forced to play defense much more often.”
This year, the evil CEO of the evil bank was paid $28 million and most of the top executives made more than $10 million per an article on Fortune in January. Thanks to them dinking you on fees every time you dare access your own money and when you pay them more in interest every month than you pay towards your home’s principal.
My reasons for hating the bank are much less to do with high finance, rogue traders, and manipulation. I do not like the way they foreclosed on so many homes during the Recession, even though I agree and acknowledge that the homeowners borrowed the money from them and agreed to pay it back in agreed-upon installments. I do not like it anyway. So sue me.
I do not like the way they hiked the interest rate on my own credit card, even though I had originally signed up for a fixed rate of 9.9% for life (prior to the Recession), never made a late payment, and paid off the balance of my card with them 11 months out of 12, sometimes taking an extra month paying off the annual Christmas and Hanukkah extravaganza and/or several trips to Walt Disney World.
When I noticed the higher interest rate in the throes of the Recession and called their customer service to ask about it, the representative claimed that the bank sent a “change of terms” agreement to me, undoubtedly one out of a hundred pieces of mail that I got the last month, and also undoubtedly consisting of fifty pages of legalese gobblety gook. By not canceling my card, I had agreed to the higher interest rate.
Did I cancel my card? No. I have had it for about fifteen years now and still strive to pay it in full every month so the interest rate does not really matter. But it did not endear this evil bank to me at all.
I heard on the radio once that nearly half of all U.S. residents have some type of banking relationship with this giant. JP Morgan Chase makes this claim on their website, as well: Chase Bank serves nearly half of U.S. households with a broad range of products.
Count our middle class family as one with a banking relationship with Chase, although I refuse to switch our primary bank from U.S. Bank to them although I joke with my wife that some day Chase will probably buy our bank, anyway.
Made $200 From the Evil Giant
Nearly every month for the past several years, I get offers to open checking and savings accounts with Chase included in my credit card bills. For the first two or so years, I threw them straight in the recycle bin until about a year ago when my brother informed me that he opens and closes a savings account and a business checking account with Chase every year, and makes $500 for his troubles.
I was impressed on two counts. One, that a successful attorney who can make a quarter to a third of a mil per year would bother with the paperwork and sitting with a local banker to make that amount and, two, that he would made an extra $500 two years in a row just by opening accounts with a bank. $500 is nothing to sneeze at for Middle Class Guys like me.
So last year I transferred $15,000 from one of our two savings accounts that each usually have about $30,000 in them. These days, that particular account had more like $25,000 before the transfer. Maybe that sounds like a lot to have in savings to you, or perhaps a pittance. To me, it sounds kind of small since it is nearly all of our non-college and non-IRA savings in the World.
I went over to the Evil Bank branch near my office with one of the flyers that offered $300 to start a checking account with direct deposit, or $200 to open a savings account with a non-existent APR with a minimum of $15,000 on deposit for six months.
I pleasantly answered some, but not all, of the banker’s questions.
“Where do you work?”
“In the area.”
“What do you do?”
“Some business consulting.”
“How do you like U.S. Bank?”
“I love it. I am in a hurry, so if you could just…”
“Are you aware of our promotion offering $300 for opening a new Chase checking account?”
“Yes, I saw it on this flyer but I am not interested…”
I left there with mounds of paper documenting my $15,000 deposit and the terms and conditions attached. More pages of legalese.
The months went by, they mailed me monthly statements showing eight or ten cents of interest per month, and I continued living my Middle Class Guy life.
Six months plus a few days later, I stopped back to close out my account, thank you very much.
The total amount: $15,200.90. I deposited the check into our checking account, then transferred the amount back to our Capital One savings account.
The $200 you ask? Did I travel the World? Purchase a new Porsche? Move my family to a better neighborhood?
Not quite. I gave $50 to each of my kids for our trip to the U.P. last August, and the other $100 ended up as part of the $800 that I brought and spent on our wonderful trip last August.
The $200 is long gone, but I still feel glad when I think of how the Evil Bank that charges me more interest than originally promised on my credit card when I carry a balance had to shell out two Benjamins to Yours Truly Middle Class Guy.
The Next $400
I recently opened another account with BMO Harris, this time $10,000 on deposit for 90 days, which will turn into another $200 that will be given to our daughter for her December marching band trip. I opened that account in late January and will be cashing it out in early May.
The Evil Bank must have caught wind of the shorter waiting time offered by their more friendly, neighborhood-oriented competitor, so they are now also offering the $200 bonus after only 90 days instead of 180, like last year. Their offer still requires a $15,000 deposit, making it unlikely that I will open one up until very close to cashing out the BMO Harris account since things could get hairy in our household if I start putting all of our liquid savings into these accounts.
But I do intend to visit the Evil Bank again this spring to open another $200 bonus savings account, so they can pay me again this year and I can take a few of this “Too Big to Fail” bank’s collected ATM fees and deposit them into my own account.