Banking Bad

For all of our good habits and improved habits, we maintain some bad habits as well. For me, this includes an unwillingness to climb out of a banking rut that makes buying everything from insane workout pants  to the daily necessities easier and more rewarding, but also more ethically fraught.

A recent meal out with some peers revealed that even the most liberal, Down-With-The-Man young persons opt almost inevitably for the Chase credit/debt card. I personally do so—and pair it off with a Chase checking account to boot—despite knowing that JPMorgan Chase has leveraged my pitiful monthly payments and deposits to help fork over some $9 billion in penalties for various shenanigans and misdeeds in the past twelve months. With more than $2.4 trillion in assets, those dudes really don’t need or deserve my hard-won grad school dollars. Moreover, I know that regional banks and savings & loans tend to offer better APR and to put my money to nicer, local use.

So why do we keep supporting a big-ass bank even as our own personal political Jesus, Elizabeth Warren, warns us of their dangers?

1) Rewards. My Chase card offers 1% back on regular purchases and 5% (wowee) on a rotating set of special purchases. Who doesn’t want to get $50 every few months just for doin what you’re already doin. The local S&L can’t afford such perks.

2) Convenience. There are three Chase branches and twice that many ATMs in the five-mile radius of my residence.

It’s bananas, but also oddly comforting. Such nearly overwhelming convenience is particularly valuable for those from whom travel is a regular habit. Imagine the ignominy of being forced to pay $2 every time you needed to take out $20 to pay for a smoothie just because you’re in another state.

I’d like to think my morals in combination with what I know about banks like JPMorgan would lead me to break bad banking. But it hasn’t happened yet.

-J. A man of habit,  guest contributor.

3 thoughts on “Banking Bad

  1. I guess I always assumed that local banks were usually affiliated with the big banks at some point in the economic chain?

    Great post, btw. So glad we’re hearing from our gentlemens of habit.

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