JP Morgan Chase Informative - $25 Billion In Bailout Money And I Get Treated Like This???
I have carried Capital One / WaMu / Chase Visa card for many years. My use of the account has varied from periods of carrying large balances to periods of not using the account at all. Most recently, I haven't used the account much because I have better terms elsewhere. I did use the account to pay for some Christmas purchases and was still carrying about a $600 balance as of the end of Feb. 2009. Then the unthinkable happened. I MISSED A PAYMENT DATE!!! The minimum due: $15.00. They called, I apologized for the error and told them I'd be sending $200 (more than eight times the minimum due) right away, which I did. The payment was due March 2, they received the payment March 4. I then received a letter stating that on March 3, Chase had reduced my credit limit to $568 (from $15,350) due to the late payment. The $568 limit maxed out the credit limit, thereby screwing my credit rating for excessive credit/debt ratio. I contacted Chase and asked for an explanation.
I was told that it was now Chase policy to reduce credit limits to the amount owed when payments were missed. I asked that the credit limit and interest rates be restored to their previous levels. I was told that it could be reviewed, but that would require that credit histories be accessed and committee meetings be held and several other wonders of the world be constructed before a decision could be made, and, of course, no guarantees could be offered. I stated this: Put the account back to where it was or I will pay off the remaining $350 balance today, close the account and spend the rest of my life avoiding doing business with Chase. Several minutes of hemming and hawing later, I determined that there would be no change on Chase's part, so I paid it off and closed the account.
My question is this: When the American taxpayer was forced to give at least $25 billion to Chase, were there any responsibilities that ran with those funds, either legal or moral? Wasn't the purpose of this banking bailout to spur lending and ease the "credit crunch"? I'm pretty sure the $15,000 of credit that got yanked from me wasn't re-distributed to some other credit-needing individual. I'm pretty sure Chase just shut down that credit facility and took a potential liability off its balance sheet. All the better to raise the stock price and maybe acquire some smaller banks that aren't in trouble. This "bailout" has turned into a fiasco - no strings were put on the funds and the banks aren't using them for the intended purpose. I'm lucky - I have the choice to pay this account off and walk away. I feel for all of those who don't have that option. Good luck to you - you'll need it dealing with these sharks.
I intend to keep track of how many solicitations I get from Chase asking me to open an account with them (credit card, bank account, mortgage, home equity LOC, etc.) for the next few months. I'm betting that it will be many (no reason for them to change now - I already get about one a week). If enough show up, I'll put it all online as a blog to illustrate the idiocy. I will also wager that the terms offered in those solicitations are better than anything they would have offered me before this incident happened.
Someone needs to tell them that it costs six times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an old one happy. But they have $25 billion to spend learning that anew. And your grandkids can pay the bill. God Bless America!!!