Wednesday, April 27, 2011


April 27, 2011

Dear Bloodsuckers,
No you don’t. No thanks. No way. Get lost and stop Chasing me! That’s my message for a certain New York bank and its $20-million-a-year president James Dimon, who’s also chairman and CEO.
Picked up the mail last week and Monroe Postmistress Vicki Gangi handed me several days’ worth: some bills, some boxes and three invitations from the Chase Manhattan Bank to accept their credit card. That’s three more, bringing the total over the last few months to 31.
Me? They want me? The way these dogs are hounding me it’s as though I owe them money. I don’t. They’re just trying to get me to owe them money. And I won’t.
Thirty-one times this bank pokes me in the ribs and dangles before my eyes offers ranging from zero to the latest: “Start with $200 cash back”.
They’re going to give me $200 just to take their card? It was $150 only a week ago and $100 in January. I’m obviously a wanted man. But for Mr Dimon and his gang to be so persistent means it has to be to their great advantage... and not at all to mine.
To accept, just use the card one time. Flutter into the web they spun for you. You’ll also pay nothing above the prime rate. Nothing? Wow! Um... for the first year, that is, because the moment you use that card they’ve got you by the short-and-curlies.
Once that year’s up it’s a whopping 11.99 (why don’t they just say twelve?) percent on top of prime, which, at present, stands at 3.25 percent. Your interest is now 15.24 percent and, depending on the market, it can go even higher. Which they say may happen and you can be sure will. I see nothing in there about rates dropping below that.
Oh, I forgot the Chase “calendar” which gives you “bonus points” for shopping in different types of stores for each quarter of the year.
Y’know what? I’m not going to play this imbecilic Chase Me game of smoke, mirrors and bonus marks. Nor the “rewards” nonsense some of these other banks play where your money can get you greenie points toward a toaster or a waffle maker. That’s precisely what it is: waffle.
I’d prefer for them all to introduce a really novel idea. It’s called Just Stop Charging Me So Much. This is merely my small voice tellin’ the banks: I ain’t payin’ your protection-era fees, so git yore sticky, graspy hands outta my wallet!
Chase loves foreclosing on folks and does so to the tune of $20 billion, including the cash-strapped families of our military, and bilking 4,000 of them while the breadwinners are away fighting for our country. How American, eh? Hail to the cheats!
This bank joined with JP Morgan, ditched the “Manhattan” and moved its credit card operation to Wilmington, Delaware, a state that allows leeches like them to demand whatever interest they fancy. Bank Of New York and Citibank are among those who did likewise. As did the outfit called Cardmember Services that appears to be the object of a myriad consumer complaints. Chase is consistently named the worst bank on earth, as is evidenced on the Internet.
The Morgan part is the largest hedge fund operation in the United States. Hedge funds are unregulated and probably the easiest way for investors to be scammed: there have been complaints about this bank’s hedge fund operation and a $6.4 million lawsuit has been lodged. Documents just unsealed accuse Chase’s officers of complicity “at the very center” of the greatest fraud of all time, the one perpetrated by embezzler Bernie Madoff.
Without my knowledge or permission, JP More-gain has already been at the very center of my own modest affairs. The sneaky, fleshy hand on this company’s international arm has been picking my pocket every time I earn a few bucks from overseas.
The banks’ latest little dodge is the reverse mortgage idea, targeting older folk who may be suffering in the current economic climate but own a house and likely have good credit. It may not be a full-blown scambola but it stinks.
Here’s a certain Leonard Hill: “Call me to learn more about this important financial option from MetLife Bank.” Is he legit? Probably. But the FBI warns about the reverse mortgage trap MetLife, Chase and many others are pushing, saying folks who grew up in the 1930s to 1950s were raised to be polite and trusting. Oh what a wicked world we live in today.
Old folk fall victim to scurrilous gypsy workmen like the travelers, but you’d expect a bank to be above that sort of thing. Another “financial option” that’s rife with deception, though, is the debt consolidation game that banks and financial institutions offer. Tempting to think that your worries are over once you sign, but often it’s the key to a nightmare
It’s come to that again, where we are forced to take a hard look at our bank’s trustworthiness. Will we soon be back to the 1930s where robbin’ hoods like John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde were cheered on by the common folk?
With the Mafia at least you know in advance you’ll be shaken down: paradoxically, there’s a certain honesty about that. Well, with JP Morgan Chase you now know it too, because this outfit announced it wants to raise to $5 its ATM withdrawal charge for folks who don’t hold actual bank accounts there.
So theirs is an offer I can refuse. And I have another message for Mr Dimon and all those greedy New York/Delaware goons who like to toss my neighbors out onto the street while trying to sucker me in: Go Chase yourselves!


© 2011 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.