Readers of my last Chase Home Weasel Update on Huffpo know that we are four weeks past the talk with the Tax Department's dulcet JoAnne, during which she said it might take the bank as much as two weeks to undue the havoc it had wreaked upon our mortgage.
Readers of my subsequent Weasel Update on Joy Buzzer know that JoAnne spoke with forked tongue, and that last Thursday, we sent three certified letters, return receipt requested, to Chase Home Weasel's Tax Department, its Customer Care Department and to Jamie Dimon, respectively. Dimon is CEO of JP Morgan Chase, the gigantic bank of which Chase Home Weasel is but the home-loan tentacle. The letters, identical aside from their addresses, all stated our intention to file an action in small claims court against Chase unless it clears our account of improper charges and restores our escrow waiver.
Going to court of any kind against a corporate behemoth is not my idea of fun, but we have tried every other means we can think of to persuade the Weasel to clean up its mess. In hopes of lighting a (metaphorical) fire under Mr. Dimon, I wrote him a special note:
Dear Jamie -
The first and last time I wrote you was in 2008, when Chase Home Finance abruptly decided that my wife and I were delinquent in our tax payments and thus in violation of our escrow waiver. We weren't. After some months of writing letters that were ignored and parleying with numerous Customer Care passive-aggressives, I wrote to you, certified mail, return receipt requested.. Within days, someone from the Executive Resolution Group called and the matter was settled.
The time I'm writing to say that Chase is at it again, fabricating delinquencies and escrowing us for taxes we've already paid. This time I am so disgusted, angry and frustrated that I'm going to sue the bastards if they don't stop this crap. Since you are the bastards' putative boss, I thought you should know. (All relevant documentation, btw, follows this note.)
Now that that's out of the way, allow me to offer some advice, advice originally offered by Elie Wiesel to Ronald Reagan in an unsuccessful attempt to dissuade the Gipper from going to Bitburg, Germany in 1985, to pay his respects to a bunch of dead SS officers. Wiesel said, "This is not your place."
You, Jamie, are the best face your industry has to put forward these days. You are a financial superstar, Obama's favorite banker (erstwhile anyway), CEO of a bank that didn't really need its TARP infusion, just took it to be a good sport, paid it back promptly and went right on getting rich as Croesus and too big to fail. You are articulate, measured in comportment, almost as famous as Lloyd Blankfein and less vulpine in mien then he-hardly a challenge, but still.
And just as honoring Nazis ought to be beneath the dignity of the POTUS, so penny-ante thievery ought to be beneath the dignity of the House of Dimon.
I realize that my problem doesn't rank high on the scale of evil banking tricks, but then it's not the worst blemish on JP Morgan Chase's somewhat grimy escutcheon these days. Those laid off Mexican janitors who came all the way from L.A. to see you and didn't get past security did not create a shining moment for your joint, even though you didn't actually have much to do with their plight. More on the money, so to speak, are those distasteful out-of-court settlements for abusive loan practices and unlawful payment schemes, among other charges. And there's Chase's widely publicized foot-dragging on loan modifications. And let's not forget Home Finance CEO David B. Lowman's embarrassing performance before the House Financial Services Committee; the next time Mr. Lowman faces his public, you should really insist he wear sneakers.
Understand, I'm not calling you a petty thief trying to pick my pocket. But you have employees who do that and I think you should tell them to stop. It's not just illegal, it's unseemly. It's not your place.
And congratulations on selling the Chicago manse! Dropping the price by half did the trick. Bet that took some intestinal fortitude. Impressive place, too, with the columns and the chintz and the objets; it looks bigger than Tony Soprano's crib and classier too. Hope financing doesn't become a problem for your buyer. I hear banks are being real douchebags about mortgages these days. Tell me, did you simmer a vanilla bean in a little water before showings?
Your Truly, etc.