No, they aren’t all one and the same.
I personally haven’t had any problem with JP Morgan Chase. I had a CD with a predecessor bank and, when it matured, I retrieved it without difficulty. My real estate tax is paid thru them, and as far as I could tell my payments have been processed as intended. Once upon a time I may have had a credit card with them. But I long assumed JP Morgan Chase is a corrupt organization, because I seem to recall having read various things here and there, and, well, how could an honest bank become so large?
I hadn’t even thought about Morgan Chase’s role in the Madoff affair, but of course it was nontrivial, as documented by Helen Davis Chaitman and Lance Gothoffer on their JP Madoff website (and, one presumes, in their book). They have compiled the information, most of which was floating around the Internet, that “In the past four years alone, JPMorgan Chase has paid out $28,902,150,000 in fines and settlements for fraudulent and illegal practices.” And that, of course, is only the cases where they were caught and unable to avoid prosecution.
“Boycott JP Morgan Chase,” Chaitman and Gothoffer urge. Great idea, and I have done so as best I can. But I need to pay real estate tax, and as long as I live in Cook County it seems I must pay it to JP Morgan Chase. So I wrote Maria Pappas, the County Treasurer, saying
I see from the check with which I paid my most recent real estate tax bill that you are still using JP Morgan Chase to process the County’s receipts. It’s pretty clear that JP Morgan Chase is a criminal enterprise, having paid over $28.9 billion in fines and settlements for fraudulent and illegal practices during the past four years. Why is the County unable to use any less dishonest bank to process payments? Thanks in advance for your response.
And just a couple of [business] days later, I received a response from “Customer Service Department:”
Thank you for contacting the Office of Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.
Cook County aims to provide efficient payment processing to the greatest number of taxpayers at the least cost to those taxpayers. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that additional considerations are relevant in the County’s choice of vendors, and we take your concern under advisement.
We hope this information is helpful and thank you for the opportunity to be of assistance.
So, they didn’t exactly say “we are going to boycott JP Morgan Chase because they’re crooks,” but it at least it appears that somebody read and understood my message.
My other recent check processed by JP Morgan Chase was used to pay Illinois State income tax. I suppose I should write somebody (Governor? Treasurer? Comptroller?) with a similar message, but I just assume that anyone responsible for administering a tax on earned income is already beyond hope. Maybe someone else will do it.