FDIC sues former WaMu execs

This makes perfect sense.  The FDIC has to prove that it was justified in siezing WaMu and finding former executives guilty of mismanaging the bank is a good way to swing the public perception.

FDIC Sues Ex-Washington Mutual CEO Killinger for Bank Losses

Former Washington Mutual Inc. Chief Executive Officer Kerry Killinger and Chief Operating Officer Stephen Rotella took extreme risks with the bank’s home-loans portfolio, causing billions of dollars in losses, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said in a complaint.

Rotella, Killinger and David Schneider, Washington Mutual’s home loans president, showed reckless disregard for the bank’s long-term safety and instead focused on short-term gains to increase their compensation and “should be held accountable,” the FDIC said in the complaint filed March 16 in federal court in Seattle. The agency seeks unspecified damages and an order freezing the assets of Killinger and Rotella and their wives.

Federal regulators seized Washington Mutual, once the nation’s biggest savings and loan, in September 2008 and sold it to New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. for $1.9 billion.

Bank executives blamed Killinger, who was CEO for 18 years, during hearings before the U.S. Senate last year for ineffective management controls and lax lending standards.

“This action runs counter to the facts about my relatively short time at the company,” Rotella wrote in a letter e-mailed to Bloomberg by his spokesman, Daniel Hilley. “As you might imagine, I am angered by this abuse of power by the FDIC.”

JPMorgan spokesman Joseph Evangelisti declined to comment. No phone number is listed for Kerry Killinger in Washington State and Schneider couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The case is FDIC v. Killinger, 11-00459, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle).

Do credit card minimum payments really make sense?

This is from my very own credit card statement.

In what reasonable sense of business does a credit card company allow someone to pay such a small amount each month that it would take 34 years to pay off their balance?  If you’ve seen The Secret History of the Credit Card (PBS Frontline) you know why this makes business sense; banks make way more than just interest off of customers that pay only the (extremely undersized) minimum payment, in the form of late fees, much higher rates, and the like.

So, the next time you hear of a bank complaining about customers not being responsible and paying off their credit cards, remember the credit pushers that got the customer hooked in the first place.

I pay off my bill in full every month by the way. 🙂

Chase jacking up ATM fees

According to the Wall Street Journal (ATM Fees Heading Higher, 3/16/11) Chase is testing higher fees for non-customers who use their ATM’s.  Chase currently charges $3 for an out-of-network user (that is in addition to whatever that customers bank will charge them) and is testing $4 and $5 ATM withdrawal charges in several states to see what the market will bear.

Keep it up Chase, your just giving lawmakers more reason to consider regulating ATM fees as well as debit swipe fees and overdraft programs.

Banks and oversized profits

Big banks like Chase are constantly complaining these days for the loss of revenue (profits) associated with new laws that curb (abusive) practices like automatic overdraft protection and debit card swipe fees.  They claim that all this new legislation that restricts their ability to make money is forcing them to raise fees on consumers in other ways.

I’m not buying it.

What is reallly happening here is that we have seen two decades of banking innovation.  Banking innovation is really just another term for banks discovering new and better ways to bilk their customers for more and more fees.  From lending practices that urged customers to borrow beyond their means, to pages of small-print rules that let them jack up the fees and rates when those same customers couldn’t afford to pay (i.e. the bank’s desired outcome).  Overdraft “protection” programs that customers didn’t want but got surprised with anyways, credit card and debit card swipe fees that bilked merchants, you name it, banks have added it on over the last two decades any way they could.

The biggest banks were/are the worst and most banks aren’t at all what banks were 20 or more years ago:  institutions that served their customers.

Now, the expectation of all this added fee income is a higher level of profitability that has set a new bar.

So of course banks are going to whine about their gravy train going away and look for other ways to get paid more money for providing less and worse service.  It makes perfect sense.

Unless you go back and reconsider what a bank is really meant to be.  If you did, you’d be leaving your big bank for a smaller one that exemplifies what banks are supposed to be like.

Big bank humor (cartoon)

Is Chase killing off Leisure Rewards program

Our post some time ago on the points changes (read, devaluation) for the Chase Leisure Rewards program has generated quite a few comments, including one containing this helpful information:

Ok, here’s the really important thing: He said the program is ending in July. I asked if I needed to cash out my points before them. He said no. I didn’t believe him; I’m going to redeem them before July. He told me that if I want to keep earning points I should use my Chase Freedom Mastercard. I told him that I’m not going to go further into debt just to win points. He didn’t know what to say to that.

More clarification is necessary on whether they are killing off the entire program or just for some cards (i.e. debit cards).

Use those points or lose them.

JPMorgan Chase gets nailed for fraud in bond case

This story clearly shows that Chase has a history defrauding its customers to benefit itself.

NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) has settled a lawsuit accusing it of defrauding bond investors out of at least $1.2 billion through bad record keeping, court records show.

The settlement of the five-year-old case comes as banks’ ability to handle paperwork faces intense scrutiny, especially over their mortgage operations.

Investors had accused JPMorgan of deleting records on $46.8 billion of bonds from roughly 6,500 bond issues that had not been cashed in, and then covering up its mistakes.

They said the second-largest U.S. bank did this so it could retain for itself unclaimed bond proceeds that belonged to thousands of investors.

JPMorgan “stole the trust funds and concealed the theft long enough to try to run out the statute of limitations,” an amended complaint filed in 2009 said.

If that wasn’t clear enough, Chase is accused of deleting records so that it would be harder for people to claim bond proceeds so Chase could keep any of the proceeds that went unclaimed.

Chase: The squeaky wheel gets the grease

I came across a slightly bizarre review posted on a Better Business Bureau clone called TrustLink

Ref: KELLY WITZEL, Consumer Banking, 1705 E Capitol Expressway, San Jose, CA 95121 (408-528-7301) kelly.witzel@chase.com

I am writing this letter to let you know how appreciative I am of the great job that Kelly has been doing for my company.

I own a telecom cabling business here in San Jose. For six months, I had a problem with Chase getting me the correct Business checks. Every order I received, I got the wrong checks. I placed at least 4 orders for business checks. Each time, I would receive the wrong checks. Each time I took a copy of the check that I wanted printed to the bank and showed them! I still received the wrong checks each time.

I became so angry that I wrote a letter to chase advising them if this happens one more time, I would take my business elsewhere. I was so angry; I decided to writer this letter to each branch in San Jose.

As soon as Kelly heard about this letter, she called me. She was very apologetic and wanted very much to make things right for me. I was very impressed with her eagerness to help me. She made me feel like I did matter with Chase, that I am not just a number!

Kelly was able to get me the checks that I ordered. I was very impressed with hear desire to help me and to keep me as a personal and business customer.

Any issues I have, I just call Kelly now and she always returns my calls and assists me with what I need.

I am satisfied with the excellent service that Kelly offers every time I call.

If it were not for Kelly, I would have closed all four of my accounts with Chase. Thanks to Kelly, she was able to convince me to stay with Chase.

Please let her know how grateful I am to be able to rely on her expertise to handle my accounts.


I’m sure this customer intended for the review to be a positive one (he gave Chase five stars) but when you consider how they completely failed at the simplest bank-type-stuff (getting checks right) and the fact that he had to go to extraordinary measures (mailing every single branch in a rather large town) to get someones attention, it doesn’t look all the great for Chase.

Yet another example that sometimes you have to complain incredibly loudly for Chase to assign someone competent to help you.

Also, if you are in the San Jose area and are having problems with Chase, you might give Kelly a call. 🙂

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