How JP Morgan Chase Plans to Profit Off the 300,000 People It’s Forcing to Lose Their Jobs

picture-96.thumbnail.pngAs I pointed out Saturday and yesterday, JP Morgan Chase is reportedly pushing Chrysler into bankruptcy. And as I explained yesterday, that will mean 300,000 people will lose their jobs.

So who will be left to bank with Chase in Michigan, you might ask, after JP Morgan Chase forces so many people out of work?

Well, as klynn pointed out, JP Morgan Chase has figured out a way to profit off all the unemployed people it is creating in Michigan. Chase, you see, provides Michigan’s unemployment insurance debit cards. 

And the services can end up being pretty expensive for beneficiaries. Here’s what Chase charges (and will be able to charge those that it causes to lose their job) for use of their debit card.

More than two withdrawals in a 2-week pay period: $1.50 each

Non-Chase withdrawals: $1.50 each

More than one bank teller withdrawal in a pay period:  $4.00 each

Transaction denied for insufficient funds at POS, ATM, or teller: $1.50 each

More than one ATM balance inquiry in a pay period: $1.00 for each

Statement delivered by regular mail: 95¢ per statement

Granted, if an unemployed person manages their meager finances well and has Internet access (those inquiries are free), they probably can get by on one weekly withdrawal. But if someone loses track of their spending or doesn’t have Internet access or likes dealing with human beings, these fees are going to start to take a huge bite out of what little they get.

Though debit card users can spend all they want in stores. As with Chase customers normally, Chase loves when you use your debit card at stores, because they get a bigger fee from merchants (back in the day when we still banked at Chase, that’s what the Chase guy told me) than if you use a credit card.  They’re profiting coming and going.

Now granted, for a company that already has gotten $25 billion from taxpayers (or $83 dollars from every man, woman, and child in this country), even $5 a month in fees from the 300,000 people JP Morgan Chase is pushing into unemployment is chump change–a mere $18 million a year. 

But don’t imagine for a minute that JP Morgan Chase hasn’t already lined up a way to profit from the unemployment it is causing in Michigan. 

21 replies
  1. phred says:

    This should be illegal. If recipients of unemployment benefits got an old fashioned check, they would get to choose how all of their money is spent. With debit cards, the issuer gets to reach right into your wallet. Who implemented this plan and when did it go into effect? And perhaps more importantly, where does legislation need to be passed to put a stop to it: states or federal government?

  2. foothillsmike says:

    This should be brought to the attention of the state legislature and a new contract arrived at.

    • freepatriot says:

      tell the People of michigan how their state has “served up” the unemployed to the greedy bankers and watch the politicians get the lead out of their asses

      populism is quite popular right now

  3. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Assuming that the root of America’s — and the world’s — financial meltdown essentially boils down to ‘no trust’, then this is going to exacerbate that fundamental problem.

    But it’s a two-fer that seems sure to do a nasty, quick boomerang at electeds who didn’t create laws and contracts to rip this power from a financial entity.

    Two hundred billion kinds of stupid.
    And actually, if Chase were smart it would cut out all those fees; however, that would require long term commitment to customers that is not presently rewarded in finance.

  4. klynn says:

    Great post EW.

    Folks the comments EW links to in her Save American Jobs,has a boatload (another “load” word would work better actually,) of information on how JP Morgan and Chase have been working this angle.

    They also deliver the debit food stamps, WIC and a number of government payment programs through a debit system for MI and many other states as well as the Federal government.

    • klynn says:

      Here are some good links on this.

      This should push transparency of CDS’s even more. To think the banks can “own” a company, tank a company, hold the company hostage financially, behind the scenes-gamble on the company failing, and then turn around and make big financial gains on all the workers who lose their jobs as the company fails — oh yes — using our tax dollars to fund all the gambling. (Let’s not forget too the financial gains on the failures with mortgages that they sold in regions they knew they controlled the possibility of industry failure thus high foreclosure risk.)

      Good lord, this is a sickness beyond words and should cause Obama to get tough and regulate like crazy.

      • klynn says:

        I should have said, “…using our tax dollars and retirement funds to float the big gambling scheme…”

      • PJEvans says:

        I was wondering if they have been trying to make Chrysler fail, so they’d profit on those CDSs.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          I’ve been wondering that very thing for months now, since I started to understand the ‘gambling nature’ of CDS’s last fall.

  5. barne says:

    The PPIP might allow bankers to buy one another’s toxic mortgage-backed securities at a profit, using 12 parts taxpayer money for every 1 part banker money, naturally. So, with the PPIP in place, why NOT drive more people out of their homes? It just gives banks more toxic assets to buy up at a PPIP profit.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Just reverberates what MadDogs points out at 13.

      I also don’t bank with Chase, or would have pulled my pennies out.
      But I do have accounts with Wells Fargo and although I am vern enthusiastic about the great people at my local branch, it wouldn’t trouble me to pull my money out after these past 7 ongoing months of outrage.

      I’ll bet a whole lot of us would switch banks, just for the psychological relief of cutting off the people who are sucking us dry — to say nothing of what our kids are going to be paying for the next generation (!!). It’s just more calming to close accounts and move to a local credit union than to think about supporting a system this corrupt and flagrantly quadruple-dipping.

      But I think barne’s summed it up pretty well: back in November, I was talking to someone who works at a large, regional bank in the Properties division and basically she said that the bank was getting some very good properties and would come out just fine a few years down the line, thank you very much.

      But add on the layer of these big banks controlling the unemployment checks — and CHARGING fees to bilk taxpayers who’ve already bailed their sorry asses is just one bridge too far.

      This is beyond ridiculous.

      If someone can help me figure out how to get back to a cash economy, I’m really feeling ready.

    • bobschacht says:

      That’s why there has to be a freeze on these kinds of transactions in order for the bailout to work. Otherwise its just putting money in the bankster’s pockets.

      Bob in HI

  6. Hmmm says:

    Radical suggestion: Keep the electronic accounts for all the social benefits programs, but make new law that any service charges incurred in the ordinary use of the card/account be billed to the government, not to the beneficiary. If that makes it an unattractive business for Chase then they can bloody well bail and let somebody else have the contracts.

  7. MadDog says:

    Might I suggest a bigger bank boycott?

    One that includes all of the recipients of TARP, paid-out CDOs and CDSs, and any others who’ve benefited from Federal bailout funding?

    I applaud EW and all the other folks who are boycotting JP Morgan Chase, but tain’t no JP Morgan Chase to boycott here in my neck of the woods.

    Got ourselves Wells Fargo as one of the major playuhs in home foreclosure mortgage banking. And US Bancorp is another TARP recipient hiding out here in Minnesota.

    And no exceptions for banksters who now want to give the TARP money back such as US Bancorp!

  8. acquarius74 says:

    The PBS Frontline program tonight is entitled, Black Money. (begins now).

    Yet more ways the Banksters steal from us? How many more layers do we have to peel back?

  9. PJEvans says:

    First thought: highway robbery.

    The bank I’m with doesn’t charge account holders like that. I know, because I make a withdrawal every week to buy groceries, and some weeks I’ll make two withdrawals. (They have a convenient branch in the supermarket, with two ATMs and a window.) I buy my train pass with the ATM card, too. I( think they do charge non-customers for using the ATM – that’s not unusual – but I don’t think it’s that high.

  10. TheOtherWA says:

    That’s happening in Oregon too.

    Thirty states, including Oregon, have struck such deals with banks that include Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase and US Bancorp, an Associated Press review of the agreements found. All the programs carry fees, and in several states the unemployed have no choice but to use the debit cards. Some banks even charge overdraft fees of up to $20 — even though they could decline charges for more than what’s on the card.

    Kenna Gortler, a laid-off paper mill worker in Oregon, said her union is advising members to avoid the debit cards and sign up to get their benefits through direct deposit. More than 300 of her fellow workers have lost their jobs at the mill in the last three months, and horror stories about ATM fees and overdraft charges are starting to filter back to others who are just now signing up for their benefits.

  11. SparklestheIguana says:

    I support the boycotting of any bank that has these ridiculous charges.

    But – as stated in TheOtherWA’s link in comment #19 –

    The U.S. Department of Labor allows the fees as long as states create a way for recipients to get their money for free, spokeswoman Suzy Bohnert said.

    I know that in Illinois, for example, people on unemployment can have their money direct deposited.

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