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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Farewell to Chase

Once Jamie Dimon and the thieves at JPMorgan Chase stole Washington Mutual, I became determined to get my accounts out of there. I work too hard to help that kind of megalomaniac make money off my puny savings and cash flow. And so the hunt for a new bank began.

It took a while, but I wound up at Umpqua, and so far it's been a nice deal. This week, the process of moving to the new bank finally wrapped up. It feels mighty good to get away from a bad, bad dude. The beauty of Umpqua won't last forever, but for now, I'm out of the House of Shmendrick.

Comments (27)

But isn't Umpqua part of the Full Neil Deal?

When I worked in the banking industry (mid to late 90s) and the first round of large consolidations had commenced, it was rumored that ultimately we would end up with less than 10 regional banks..I think the number was 7... With the weekly bank failures occuring, I'd say that goal is still in place...

I wanted to like them because they're local - but experienced worse customer service with them than I ever had with Chase or B of A. The final straw was when they moved and lost my safe deposit box with all of its contents.

They couldn't find any record of it and suggested I had never had a safe deposit box with them - and that I must have mixed them up with another bank. It later turned up, but not without a lot of calls, visits and aggravation.

Chase was awful; the unspeakable atrocities directed at my credit card account "chased" me away less than a year after the heist. I now bank with BECU; why anyone would choose a bank over a credit union is a mystery to me!

Try asking OnPoint CU to recognize a "void after 60 days" provision on the face of a cashiers check. They will say it is irrelevant. They will transform the analysis into a question of whether a cashiers check has been lost or destroyed, even after 60 days have passed.

They modified their standard cashiers check to remove the "void after" provision entirely, leaving only a statutory default void date of five years. They want to keep the interest for five years on such checks that are never redeemed, before delivery of the original face amount potentially to the Division of State Lands. The purchaser can't even get them to insert a "void after ___ days" provision.

I would like to know if there is ANY bank that would sell a cashiers check with a void after date that will let you get your money back if it is not redeemed by that date, and without forcing you to promise to indemnify the bank if they thereafter honor the now-obviously-expired cashiers check. I think they all follow the same playbook.

The Washington Mutual takeover, sometimes referred to as the biggest bank heist in history, shows the Bush administration playbook at its most vicious.
1. You create a huge problem by screwing something up.
2. You use the ensuing crisis to grow your power even more.
3. You exact a terrible price from America.
4. You wait to see if the American Public catches on.
5. You wait a little longer 'til the dirty deeds drift into the past.
6. You reemerge and come out spinning.

Henry Paulson's book was called "On the Brink."
Karl Rove has one called, "Courage and Consequence."
These two men have many reasons to steer public perception away from a fuller understanding of the truth. That's why they're so busy, busy, busy...relentlessly trying to dilute one of the darkest farces in the history of government.

I would love to see a smart movie like "Michael Clayton" made about the Washington Mutual takeover.

Bank robberies make good movies, so why not go with what some are calling the biggest bank heist of all time?

Next Tuesday, the 13th, erstwhile WaMu officials, including former CEO Killinger and Pres/COO Rotella -- whom many identify as a Dimon mole since he arrived at WaMu from JPM in 2005 and strongly promoted subprime loans despite opposition within WaMu -- are scheduled to appear before Congress's Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), chaired by CA's former Treasurer Phil Angelides. Kirsten Grind will cover the hearings from DC for the Puget Sound Business Journal:


which includes a link to this preview:

Tuesday's schedule is:

Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: The Role of High Risk Home Loans

Panel 1

Former Chief Risk Officer (2004-2005)
Washington Mutual Bank
Former Chief Risk Officer (2006-2008)
Washington Mutual Bank
Former General Auditor
Washington Mutual Bank

Panel 2

Former President of Home Loans
Washington Mutual Bank
Former Division Head of Capital Markets
Washington Mutual Bank

Panel 3

Former President & Chief Operating Officer
Washington Mutual Bank
Former President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board
Washington Mutual Bank


The FCIC would like to limit its investigation to the role of subprime mortgages in the recent financial crisis -- perhaps not simply because it is underfunded and disorganized. However, the WaMu story, as it has emerged from discovery during the bankruptcy proceedings for WMI, WaMu's surviving parent company, is truly about the theft of a solvent institution -- formerly the nation's largest thrift, actively coveted by JPM's Dimon for several years.

Last month, a Plan of Reorganization for the parent company which involved renunciation of liability to common shareholders was submitted to the court, but it has since been rejected even by the FDIC, which colluded with JPM in the taking of WaMu. An Equity Committee was formed earlier this year with the support of the US Trustee and the judge. Mr Dimon may soon be revealed to a larger audience as the greedy, corrupting individual known to his many victims.

Yet the reach of the House of Morgan is broad and deep. The NYTimes, for example, reported on April 5th:

"...Mr. Angelides was linked last month to an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into donations by a JPMorgan Chase executive to his 2002 re-election campaign for California treasurer. Mr. Angelides was not accused of wrongdoing.

In August 2002, the S.E.C. found, David A. Coulter, a vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase, sent the bank’s executive committee 'a handwritten note stating that the California treasurer is an important client and soliciting their help in raising $10,000' for a fund-raiser in New York.

Mr. Coulter and other executives gave $9,000, and the bank later won work underwriting more than 50 bond sales, for which it was paid $37 million. Though Mr. Coulter did not work for JPMorgan Chase’s bond-underwriting subsidiary, the donation broke a rule that bans a broker-dealer from underwriting bonds within two years of making a political contribution to the issuer, the S.E.C. found."

Whether Mr Obama's best bankster bud is ever called to account for the harm he has done to so many, especially in the Northwest, remains to be seen. The last time the Dow (DJIA) ended a session above 11000, for instance, was Friday, September 26, 2008 -- the day after $307,000,000,000 of WaMu's assets were seized and immediately delivered by the FDIC's Sheila Bair to JPM for all of $1.888B. (WMI is still waiting to receive the $4B in cash it had in its own bank but which JPM has retained without even paying interest on it.) That singular and enormously beneficial gesture to JPM, coming so soon after Lehman's shameful abandonment, seems to have frozen the US credit markets and tumbled the country into financial crisis.

Perhaps that is what Mr Dimon had in mind when he told the FCIC a few weeks ago that he expected such crises every five to seven years. It was, as far as I can determine, JPM that invented the complex financial derivatives that have brought so many other greedy banksters and the country to such grief.

Meanwhile, other investigations of JPM's many machinations have suggested other prominent reasons why Jamie Dimon's JPMorganChase has become too big not to be sundered:

Tune in Tuesday, ignore certifiable clown Cramer, and keep your cash out of Chase's clutches.

I ditched Chase 3 months ago with no regrets - they are losing old WaMu customers like mad because of their chicanery. Jamie the Greek has destroyed an institution which had good customer service. I switched to Unitus & am very happy - no paperwork (bank slips) for deposits & withdrawals, just tell them what you want to do, give your identifying info, & get a printed receipt.

Bill McDonald
Michael Clayton was an awesome movie! I really liked it, but like all Hollywood courtroom dramas, it was ridiculously divorced from the actual legal process. Mistrial, mistrial, mistrial. And the client ALWAYS takes the settlement--no corporation woulda let a case like that get to court. Hell no.
It's "smart" because of the drama and tension, but not litigiously realistic at all.
My favorite scene was when he was telling his kid he would never be a loser like his uncle.

...but I digress...

Oh yeah, and I got my account hi-jacked as well. I keep putting off moving it local. I need to meet people that can give me the real skinny. Though, it isn't like I do backflips with my money, pretty plain-jane: just deposit, pay bills, and save what I can.

I too just finished evacuating my money from chase after WaMu bit the dust. Jack, what's your opinion on the upcoming first tech CU \ Addison Avenue CU merger?

One more reason why investment banks and commercial banks ought not to be under the same roof, which is why I maintain accounts at a credit union on the one hand and a broker/dealer on the other.

Actually, I erred earlier in writing that the hearings next week are before the unpromising FCIC. Tuesday's assembly is before the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, composed of six Democrats and four Republicans, none of whom is from OR, WA, or CA:

The Chairman, Carl Levin (D-MI) has asserted:

“The recent financial crisis was not a natural disaster; it was a man-made economic assault. People did it. Extreme greed was the driving force. And it will happen again unless we change the rules.

“The Subcommittee will be presenting detailed case histories to examine each stage of the assault. The goals of the Subcommittee hearings are threefold: to construct a public record of the facts in order to deepen public understanding of what happened and hold some of the perpetrators accountable; to inform the ongoing legislative debate about the need for financial reform; and to provide a foundation for building better defenses to protect Main Street from the excesses of Wall Street.”

The four Republicans are Coburn, Ensign, Collins and "Keating Five" McCain. If Mr Levin is to achieve the Subcommittee's goals, he will need to do most of the work himself.

The FDIC and OTS have been invited to chat on Friday. Based on their failure to provide documents requested under FOIA by the PSBJ's Ms Grind and others, the public record will not be expanded very much.

Those seeking a thorough airing of what happened to WaMu in 2008 will most probably learn more from the forced revelations in the DE bankruptcy hearings and a separate lawsuit by shareholders making its way through the DC court. The next scheduled omnibus hearing in the DE court will be on April 21st.

I'll strive to be more careful in future when writing about this complex matter that is critical even to those who have never heard of WaMu. If anyone is sufficiently angered by what is known so far, by all means express your opinion directly to Sen. Jeff Merkley and Sen. Maria Cantwell.

About the only good thing about being a Chase customer a year after the takeover of WAMU is that the once-busy branch at 39th and Hawthorne is a ghost town now and I can walk in there and get to a teller right away.

Nevertheless, I, too, couldn't hack the nickel and diming and other BS (like holding cash for three days after deposit) and bolted to Rivermark Credit Union on Friday. My tardy departure was due to the fact that Chase has my home mortgage and I wanted the convenience of transferring funds from one account to another on the 15th of the month. But it looks like I got a re-fi at Rivermark, so that will be moot.

Chase is trying to make up for its predatory practices by offering a version of the lottery on the use of its credit cards. That's how benighted that bank is.

"Michael Clayton" was about a corporate lawyer going mad because he realizes the position he's fighting for is immoral. Are you suggesting that part was realistic?

The movie came to mind because it explores how corporate greed overwhelms our humanity. It's a subject that should be more in the forefront - and a movie can take artistic license to do that. The actual Washington Mutual story would be a backdrop for your typical Hollywood story - otherwise it would have no chance.

I just want more light on these topics and a smart George Clooney movie is one way to go. More of the public would ponder what really happened here and that would be good.
Sometimes an artistic statement is the only justice you get.

Incidentally, I have a feeling, "The Devil's Casino" will be made into a movie first - those details about Lehman Brothers sound salacious enough on their own - plus they're from diaries kept by the players themselves, always good for the lawsuit phase.

I popped $100 into Chase when they offered me another $100 if I'd keep the original in there for 6 mos (and they charge me $6 a month for the privilege of letting them pay me 0% interest while they lend my money to others). I've calendared the withdrawal date, 6 mos. + 1 day and will pull my $164 dollars out, netting a pretty nice APR of 128% if I did the math right (interest net of fees and costs of $64 on an average annual balance of $50).

The fine print says I can do this once a year, and they unwisely continue to send me the goddamn promo flyers and letters even after I've asked them not to, so screw them.

GAS, you have suggested a subversive scheme for bringing JPMChase to its financial knees. Now we just need several billion people to follow your example.

Speaking of bringing financial institutions to their knees, isn't that an aspiration of certain well-publicized Islamic fundamentalists? Those who find, for instance, charging interest on loans abhorrent?

Yet did not some financial institutions -- JPM, for example -- act aggressively to bring other financial institutions to their knees? And did not the entire American (and much of the world) economy tremble at the threat created?

Why, then, have the banksters not been pursued by the FBI anti-terrorism units, in co-operation with the national and international anti-terrorism networks that have proliferated during the past decade? Why, that is, are the banksters left to the feeble white-collar crime units that withered under the previous US president and to the compromised political panels that seek scapegoats in lieu of comprehension?

In the case of WaMu, I doubt that the economic toll on the 43,000 people who formerly worked for the bank will ever by tabulated: there has been at least one prominent suicide. We shall probably never know what the theft of WaMu has cost the city of Seattle alone. Nor shall we ever know whether the theft of WaMu precipitated the implosion of Iceland's economy -- an assertion I have read but have not yet been able to validate.

We are left with the very real possibility that we shall never know what we need to know to avert repetition of what we have experienced. We will, it would seem, have been made idiots -- in the overemployed yet accurate Einsteinian definition -- by our bankster terrorists.

While it is appropriate that some of us refuse to contribute to the banksters' coffers and transfer our accounts, we shall not escape the economic collapse precipitated by the banksters: the small as measured 'gainst the all is negligibly small.

(BTW, GAS, the $100 that JPMChase gives you is logged as interest and must be declared on your tax return. You may need to amend slightly your calculation of gain.)

I popped $100 into Chase when they offered me another $100 if I'd keep the original in there for 6 mos (and they charge me $6 a month for the privilege of letting them pay me 0% interest while they lend my money to others).

Umpqua had a deal last summer that if you agreed to move $50 a month from checking to savings, they'd throw $10 a month into the savings to sweeten the pot, for eight months (along with the regular interest, which is negligible these days). That's $80 I never would have gotten from Jamie Dimon -- or from the once great, now mediocre, OnPoint Credit Union.

Back about five years ago, my wife started nuhdzing me about moving my bank account to WaMu. The company expanded heavily in Texas, and I still had good memories of my experiences with it in Portland (this was back when Wells Fargo was making every last former First Interstate customer regret their choice to stay), but I demurred. Something didn't feel right about the place, especially with the new branches where the cashiers didn't actually have any money. I still took up WaMu on a credit card offer, as we were both trying to build up our credit after particularly spectacular divorces, but I kept turning down offers to move my account over there.

Well, I've nearly paid off my credit card after a trip to Michigan for my grandfather's funeral, and I'm damn glad I never set up an actual account with WaMu. My wife was so disgusted with the customer service at the new Chase branches (especially after the company fired all of the old employees and replaced them with new tellers and managers so robotic and soulless that the Scientologists wouldn't have taken them) that she switched to a local credit union. When she came in with her application, the manager just asked "Former Chase customer, eh?"

Commercial banks are corrupt. I am at BECU and have been since the 80s. Love it there and the internet banking is easy to use.

As a long-time First Tech customer, I've had good experience with them. As to the merger with Addison - First Tech is hosting information meetings, I believe this week. You can get more information at the First Tech website.

Now, of course, the cynic in me is saying "like they're going to tell you anything important," but at least it's a chance to sense the tone, and see how much squirming ensues if anyone asks a troublesome question.

Syracuse students, grads, parents of students, and all others in that university's community can express their dissatisfaction with JPMChase's Jamie Dimon very vociferously:

Erstwhile WaMu CEO Killinger has released an 18-page (plus exhibits) statement in advance of his appearance tomorrow before the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations:

Some commenters' responses to today's Senate PSI hearings:

The interrogators in this afternoon's session with Killinger and Rotella were Levin, Kaufman, and Coburn.

Friday's chat with the alleged regulators -- OTS, FDIC -- could be interesting since the NYTimes has already leaked parts of the inspector general's report. The IG found that regulators were deficient for years in their treatment of WaMu.

Latest from the WSJ - seems TARP allows banks to amend their tax returns to carry losses back 5 years and get a refund on taxes paid in the good times. For WaMu, that totals over $2.6 billion (yes, billion).

JPM is requesting $1.6B of that refund as it is the new owner (apparently the remainder would go to WaMu bondholders).

$1.6 billion! What did JPM pay for WaMu? $1.9 billion.

Don't we all love to get those tax refunds.

Bankerman, the WSJ lags: the tale is much more interesting but the whole story of the tax refund gambit would take too much space -- and it is unfinished. Please accept a couple of grafs for the present.

On March 12th, WMI's lawyers -- from one of the most prominent bankruptcy firms in the nation -- proffered a "global settlement" in the DE court and followed up on the 26th -- the exclusivity deadline -- with a formal, written submission. Mainstream media reported that gesture as if it were the conclusion of the matter.

While it is true that JPM and the FDIC were going to get the major portion of WaMu's tax refunds from the previous five years, some noted that a bank that had taken a TARP subsidy -- which JPM had -- was not eligible for the new, extended-term tax refund. Apparently, some FDIC lawyers were among those who noted this prohibition; they, apparently, prevailed over itchy-fingered Sheila Bair and, by Sunday the 28th, it was clear that the FDIC was balking at signing off on the "global settlement."

Having already colluded with JPM to steal a solvent bank from its shareholders, it might be thought inconsistent for the FDIC to have suddenly exhibited scruples regarding illegal agency behavior; nevertheless, the collapse of the "global settlement" has provided common shareholders -- abandoned first by Bair and then by WMI -- some leverage.

Bondholders, incidentally, also balked at the "global settlement."

The next hearing in the DE bankruptcy court of J. Mary Walrath is scheduled for April 21st; at this moment, two matters on the agenda are summary judgment on the $4B WMI deposit in WaMu that was taken by JPM on 25 Sept 08 and a motion for a shareholders' meeting for the election of a new WaMu Board of Directors.

Returning to the House of Morgan, there are many ways people are discovering to return the contempt directed at them by that obsessively greedy too-big-to-fail; here's another one:

The schedule for tomorrow's SPSI hearings with the regulators is:

Panel 1

Inspector General
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Inspector General
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Panel 2

Former Director
Office of Thrift Supervision
Former West Regional Director
Office of Thrift Supervision
Former Examiner-in-Charge (2004-2006), Current National Examiner
Office of Thrift Supervision

Panel 3

Acting Deputy Director, Large Institutions and Analysis Branch
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Deputy Regional Director, Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Panel 4

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Acting Director
Office of Thrift Supervision

The link to the site for this schedule, which seems to be experiencing technical difficulties at this time, is:

CSPAN3 can be watched online.

I would have preferred to hear the FDIC's Bair on the same panel with the OTS's Reich: according to the PSBJ's (Pulitzer Prize Finalist) Kirsten Grind, they disagreed vehemently regarding the solvency and seizure of WaMu.

Kirsten Grind (Puget Sound Business Journal, which garnered a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for its series on WaMu -- had the OTS and the FDIC not stonewalled the PSBJ's FOIA requests, we might know a lot more and the Journal might have been awarded a Pulitzer) is blogging today's hearings:

Do not hesitate to click on Read More.

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