Jamie Dimon: A $50,000 ATM Is a Big Risk

Jamie Dimon’s got his whine on again (or should I say “still”), wishing we all could just move on from the catastrophe Dimon and his buddy banksters caused.

Dimon’s strategy here is rather amusing. He twice suggests that the media and the banks are both unfairly denigrated, as a “class.”

You’ve criticized others for an ongoing vilification of Wall Street and bankers?

I would say it differently. This indiscriminate scapegoating and finger-pointing. I don’t think it’s a good thing if you do it to banks or media. The point is there is some decent media and not decent; some good businesspeople and some not so good. My belief is this indiscriminate blame of both classes denigrates our society, destroys confidence — it certainly can’t boost it — and damages us.

Is it surprising that people lash out after such a severe recession in which we’ve seen these polars of wealth creation and destruction?

I can give you all the reasons why. But whenever anyone says to me, “All media,” I turn it off. “All politicians.” I turn it off. I don’t think it’s the right way to have discourse. Abe Lincoln didn’t do it. George Washington didn’t do it. It shouldn’t be done.

You don’t justify it because you’ve had a tough time. As a matter of fact, in a tough time, the best people stand tallest. They’re the ones who discriminate between the right and wrong. They’re the ones who stick to the true blue. … Not the ones who out of convenience scapegoat and finger-point.

And, having appealed to the journalist’s sense of common angst and suggested those seeking precisely to distinguish between right and wrong are “fingerpointing,” Dimon gets a piece that focuses on the number of people Chase has hired locally rather than his patently false claim that none of Chase’s foreclosures were improper and “we don’t know of any where the actual information in the affidavit about the foreclosure itself is wrong.”

Where Dimon’s latest whine says something new, however, is where he tries to suggest that the people who deposit their money with Chase–effectively loan Chase their money–are just freeloading.

Let’s talk about fees. We’ve seen some fees like the debit charge go away at the same time others are surfacing. Has it gone too far?

More than 80 percent don’t pay the monthly fee (on checking). Here’s the issue: It costs $300 to give you a checking account. What’s the cost of that? Branches, ATMs, online bill pay, Smart systems, checking account, a debit card. Any business has a cost. If you want a customer, you care, but you have to make a fair profit to survive.

But even after the debit fee went away, banks were still profitable.

Very often people will see us as having a profit, and I’m saying it’s really suboptimal results. Because we’re big and have a lot of capital, it sounds like a lot. But these are huge services and huge risks these banks take. We want to be fairly paid for services we provide. Just like a newspaper or anybody else.

Is the issue one of degree? For instance, that $5 ATM fee you were testing?

If you’re a client, we don’t charge you for ATMs. We charge nonclients. I think we charge $2 now. It costs us $50,000 a year to have an ATM. It’s not a gift. It’s for our clients. [my underline]

Right. The $50,000 ATM is a big risk. Dumping loads of money into derivatives? That’s apparently not where Chase’s big risk lies. Rather, it’s in replacing human tellers with machines that require relatively little maintenance, no health benefits, and no days off to give customers a reason–convenience–to loan Chase their money.

Or maybe now that Chase has made billions in the casino, they expect their $50,000 ATMs to be just as profitable. So Dimon will call a simple computer, an ATM, a huge risk, and demand exorbitant fees. Because banks shouldn’t have to pay the cost of doing business anymore, I guess. Asking them to do so is treating them unfairly as a class.

26 replies
  1. dustbunny44 says:

    It’s past time for the creation of a national electronic banking system under the government.

    Every person who participates in today’s economy needs a place to receive their earnings (electronically or physically), to cash their checks. We all know how banks and other predators are feeding off the most vulnerable, what a disaster check-cashing services are. Just like the government needed to create a national currency 200 years ago, we need it to create the financial place that each of us needs and can use to manage our money away from the predations of bankers – then people like Dimon won’t have to complain about how much it costs to run a checking account. And people who need them and can’t get them can have one, and whatever it costs will be publicly known and reasonable.

    Maybe it will include a national credit card, and maybe a home loan service.

  2. bittersweet says:

    If the banks can not make a profit, then how is Jamie Dimon getting paid? When I owned a business, everyone got paid but me when profits were down,(read: when rich businessmen didn’t pay their bills).

  3. rosalind says:

    “the number of people Chase has hired locally”

    has its counterpoint: the number of people Chase has fired locally.

    when Chase took over my Wamu every employee over 30 disappeared, and the rows of cubicles where the business action now takes place are filled only with young men.

    i had a lot of fun at my “exit interview” explaining why i was moving my money to a credit union.

    so Jamie, one less freeloader for you!

  4. lefty665 says:

    It costs us $50,000 a year to have an ATM.

    Wonder how he came up with that nice round, “oh the burdens we have to bear” number. Sounds like butt talk, as in pulled it out of his whiny ass. Holding banks to traditional rates of return and risk is the trick. Poor old Glass-Steagall, dead buried and forgotten.

  5. EH says:

    @lefty665: Not only that, but he’s certainly aware that he’s saying “costs us.” Not that that’s how much an ATM costs, but that that’s how much he is charged, presumably by the company that supplies all the ATMs.

  6. PeasantParty says:

    Poor, Jamie!

    Let’s just take that burden off of him and become our own bank owner. You can move all you have to a Credit Union and be part owner. It is a co-operative and will be in YOUR best interest, not Jamie’s.

    Besides, it will keep him from having to visit the President so often and cry in the Oval Office. Let’s be adults and put an end to the temper tantrums. Okay?

  7. rugger9 says:

    Seriously, when will his lawyers make him STFU? I guess the Leona lessons are for the little people, and the so-called foreclosure settlement is really his only lifeline out even if he doesn’t comprehend it. All the whining will do is make it easier for us to not shed a tear when the jail cell door clangs behind him.

    Plus this is going to make it verrrrry hard for the Obama WH to claim that the banksters have changed their ways. We know better, but Jamie’s rubbing our nose in it too.

  8. rugger9 says:

    FWIW, we’re credit union folk and have been for years. B of A and their buddies has had ethical issues for years.

  9. P J Evans says:

    BofA has had issues for decades. They couldn’t find some very well-known people with accounts at one point in the late 60s, and I don’t think it was because said people were in hiding: one of them was a San Francisco athlete, who could have been found with one phone call.

  10. Mike G says:

    Jamie Dimon is in whiny teenage girl mode again. Becuz, ATMs and checking accounts and bank tellers are, like, soooooo boring, I wanna keep gambling with stocks and options and CDOs and currencies! Like, all the European and Japanese kids are doing it!! And I want candy for dinner and I’m not eating any more vegetables! Mmmmoooommmm!!

  11. greengiant says:

    @dustbunny44: Amen, and to review, check cashing stores, 3 percent charge on a payroll check, 10 percent charge on a personal check, BofA, non customer charge for a payroll check written on a BofA account, is what 5 or 10 bucks?, BofA bad check charge when the BofA payroll check bounces because BofA pulled the employers credit line? priceless…
    The article is a little disingenuous, I suspect a customer with no account at Chase will get no teller service, unless it is to get a cash advance at a 5 percent fee and 29.99 percent interest rate on their Visa or Mastercard. After the ATM sucks down 5 bucks for Chase, a few more for the chumps bank, no real non customer uses those ATMs. Better to get the dollars cash back down at the grocery store or other retailer on the debit card.

  12. bourbaki says:

    So about 3 or 4 months ago I was walking down Market Street in San Francisco (ironically to get some cash from a CU ATM) when I was approached by two well dressed young people representing Chase. They offered me $100 if I would open an account at Chase. I respectfully declined, so I don’t know what the minimum deposit I needed to make in order to obtain this generous offer. One wonders how much these promotions figure into the $300 amount…

  13. Eric says:

    Banks profits are supposed to come from the difference between the interest they take in from loans and the interest they pay out in savings. What’s with this fee BS? Oh I forgot Americans have no savings, because of Fed policy. At the current savings rate will be close to 0 for every family in this country in 2016. IF banks want to make a profit offer an incentive to save! So that we have money to spend in the future to buy stocks and bonds , funding capitalism!

  14. justbetty says:

    So you’re a freeloader if you expect the business you deal with to offer customer service. Aren’t the banks saving employee costs by providing ATMs? Words fail me.

  15. Cloonan says:

    I have a Chase checking account. I have to keep a $1500 minimum balance at all times to not be charged a monthly fee. So I think Chase has more than made up for the $300 I supposedly cost them.
    I was also a WaMu customer that they inherited- Before that a Great Western customer. I also watched everyone over 30 disappear to be replaced by salespeople.

  16. Phoenix Woman says:

    This is disgusting. The whole reason banks went to ATMs was to save money by shutting down human-staffed branches. It costs a LOT more than $50,000 to keep even a small branch of a bank open every year.

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