Monday, October 09, 2006

Department of Unanswered Mail: CEO at JP Morgan Chase effectively thumbs his nose at high value customers, employees and stockholders.

You want to know why nothing seems to work the way it used to?

Want an example of how CEOs who are grossly overpaid don’t seem to give a damn about their companies, their stockholders, their employees or their customers?

Look no further than James P. Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase. Read the letter below, which was mailed to him on August 2 of this year. It explained the reasons for customer and employee disgruntlement – and it came from a high value customer.

Dimon’s response after all this time? As of today (October 9, 2006)....Nothing, nothing, nothing.

No, I don’t expect the busy chairman to stop counting the millions he takes from the bank’s stockholders as salary, bonus and other compensation just to answer a cranky letter. The poor bloke must be busy full-time just adding it all up. (In 2004 it added up to $14,871,096, according to the Newark, NJ Star-Ledger.)

But you’d think he might appoint some flunky to at least give the appearance of having some interest in what his high value customers have to say.

Fat chance. Apparently, he’s gotten so fat and happy on his income, he doesn’t even care what anybody else thinks.

Here’s the unanswered letter. Read it, weep, and then feel free to comment below on whether he should be fired or run out of town on a rail by his own stockholders.

Feel free also to recommend this post to friends who are about to open a bank account, or to link this to your own website.

And then remember to put your money in some other bank.

August 2, 2006

Mr. James Dimon
Chief Executive Officer
JP Morgan Chase
270 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017

•Customer-hostile banking systems and literature at Chase Bank
•A bank that clearly doesn’t test dumb ideas with its customers before launching them – or listen to its own employees on the front lines after the disasters are set in motion
•Plus examples of some of the remarkably stupid stuff Chase is doing that offends its customers

Dear Mr. Dimon,

At this moment I have in excess of $450,000 on deposit at your bank in savings, a CD and checking – quite a bit more than either the FDIC limit or, I imagine, your average individual depositor. So I hope you’ll give this letter some attention.

In recent months, new systems at Chase have become annoying and difficult to use to the point of customer-unfriendliness. No, make that customer-hostile.

I have been complaining about various aspects of this at various Chase branches, always with the same results. Roughly a dozen times some very nice tellers, customer services people and assistant branch managers have said things such as, “Lots of customers are saying that.” “I hear this every day.” “I’ve told this to people higher up, but nobody listens to me.”

What’s the complaint? Some examples:

• Deposit slips involving deposits of more than one check have to be filled out on both sides and involve the transfer of information from one side to the other. This leads to the possibility of transcription errors, confusion, and worse.

• The slips now demand information that was never required before, such as that the depositor fill out his address. That’s information that ought to be instantly retrievable once you have the depositor’s name and account number, also required on the slip. So this new extra requirement smacks of bumbling bureaucracy for the sake of bumbling bureaucracy.

• Your old deposit slips produced a carbon copy for the depositor. Now, even if I stand in line to make a deposit, all I get is a computer-generated slip with no depositor name, no list of individual check sums deposited, and only a partial account number. Heaven forbid something gets entered wrong either by a teller or me. I’ll have no ready and definitive evidence of the deposit.

• Column rules on the back of the insanely baroque deposit slips are faint, which makes them difficult and confusing for nearsighted people over 40 to use.

I’m sure that if the person in charge of Chase graphic standards ever tries to fill out one of his own deposit slips, he’ll shoot himself. I’m afraid that if you ever try to fill out one of the slips, you’ll shoot your head of graphic design. And I haven’t even gotten to your cash machines.

• Your cash machines used to dispense account information and cash with some reasonable degree of speed and customer-friendliness. Someone at Chase has fixed that. Now, to get balances on my checking and savings accounts at Chase in a single session, I have to enter my PIN number twice. If I then want to transfer funds from one account to another, I have to enter my PIN a third time. If I then want cash, I have to enter my PIN a fourth time. If I want a printed record of my new balance after the withdrawal, I have to enter my PIN a fifth time.

• This infuriating process slows down the works not only for me, but also for all your irritated customers standing in line behind me. It makes us hate to use Chase, as several conversations with my fellow depositors have indicated.

•I should also mention that I recently received a booklet filled with pages and pages of new rules, terms and conditions for depositors. It’s turgid, forbidding, and to my mind clearly done in an attempt to discharge a legal obligation with no expectation that most of your depositors will read any of it. I gave up after two or three pages and tossed it in the trash. You may be satisfying the lawyers, but you’re doing one hell of a lousy job of informing or winning the friendship and loyalty of customers.

• Worst of all, nobody in a position of real authority at Chase appears to be listening. Not to the customers. Not to the poor line employees who have to listen to the complaints and attempt – hopelessly – to get management to hear. Ultimately, that has got to be bad for business and your stockholders. Thank God I’m not one of those.


1 comment:

Dr Housing Bubble said...

Unfortunately, this post highlights why a full Capitalist system is flawed. Unless some authorities (i.e., the board, public, or law) enforce rules they will not spend time answering mail because it will not help their bottom line. Even if the someone has $450,000 with the institution this may not be impetus enough for changes to take place. Let us use the case of enacting a retraining program for all staff. Say the retraining would eliminate 3 of the 5 grievances listed. This would be good right? Yet what if the retraining would cost the institution $2,000,000 and would cost an additional $10,000,000 of lost employee productivity due to taking time off. In any case, this is the logic that is held at the top. What is the incentive to make changes especially since there are no repercussions to keep the status quo?

Your post highlights the necessity for the public to take charge and demand these basic necessities from their leaders. But to be honest, I think they are hypnotized by the boob tube and have very little knowledge regarding basic finance.

Good post.