Tag Archives: JPMorgan

‘Corporate-friendly’ Corker’s Praise of JPMorgan Draws Fire

Critics took aim at Republican Sen. Bob Corker last month after he called for a hearing to investigate more than $2 billion in trading losses at JPMorgan, then used the occasion to heap praise on CEO Jamie Dimon, reports The Tennessean.
Corker called Dimon “one of the best CEOs in the country for financial institutions” and deemed the losses, which the New York Times reported last week could total as much as $9 billion, a “blip on the radar screen.”
Those statements have fueled claims by Corker’s challengers from both parties that the senator’s allegiance lies with big campaign donors and not ordinary Tennesseans — a theme they will try to hammer home as elections draw near.
Seven Democrats, four Republicans and five independents will vie for the chance to unseat Corker in the Aug. 2 primary. (Note: Actually, the independents won’t vie until November.)
JPMorgan has contributed more to Corker’s campaign than all but two other organizations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The senator, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, has received $10,000 from the company’s political action committee and $54,000 from individuals who work for the bank. His No. 1 contributor is Goldman Sachs, whose employees have given $71,700.
In a recent interview, Corker dismissed claims that he is too closely allied with big banks. He said he was just “being a gentleman” when he praised Dimon at last month’s hearing.
“I tend to ask very tough questions and end up in a place of supporting very good policy in our nation,” he said, adding that he was the senator who first called for the hearing on JPMorgan’s losses.
The Democrats vying to oppose Corker in November say corporate influence excludes ordinary Tennesseans from the political process.
“He’s a hollow suit,” said Park Overall, an actress and environmentalist from Greeneville who said she entered the race at the urging of the Tennessee Democratic Party. “He goes to the highest bidder.”
Corker’s Republican challengers say the senator’s financial ties to large corporations partly explain why his voting record isn’t as conservative as they think it should be.
They point to vote ratings by the conservative group Heritage Action for America, which said Corker voted conservatively only 74 percent of the time, and by the nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly, which found Corker voted with President Barack Obama’s position 61 percent of the time last year.
“Just look to see who’s contributing to his campaign,” said Zach Poskevich, a tea party-backed Republican from Hendersonville. He said that might explain why Corker voted for the 2008 bank bailout and for the 2009 Cash for Clunkers program that offered consumers rebates to trade in gas-guzzlers for more fuel-efficient cars.

State Eyeing Change in Contract Charging ‘Junk Fees’ to Jobless

Almost 44,000 people who receive unemployment benefits through the Tennessee Automated Payment (TAP) card pay JPMorgan Chase & Co. 25 cents to $1 almost every time they use it, whether it’s to withdraw cash, make purchases or check balances, reports The Tennessean.
Consumer advocates say that unfairly fattens the bank’s bottom line at the expense of those who can least afford to pay. One national consumer group calls the card among the worst of its kind in the country, saying it has the most “junk fees.”
JPMorgan Chase declined to say how much it has collected from jobless Tennesseans or respond to the critics, instead issuing a general statement saying that it’s “flexible in the way any fees/costs are borne in our programs.”
But the bank’s fees also have drawn the attention of Tennessee officials, who say changes could be on the way. State officials hope to reduce or eliminate at least some of the fees when they negotiate a new contract, possibly with a different bank, later this month.
The state has sought new proposals and has set a contract deadline for June 28.
../JPMorgan Chase beat out five other bidders to win the state electronics benefit card contract seven years ago. It was first applied to child-support payments but was expanded to include unemployment benefits in December. Now, 43,990 jobless Tennesseans get benefits through the card, roughly 4 of every 10 beneficiaries, state figures show.
Most people use direct deposit, while just 498 claimants still get paper checks, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development said.
….The state saves $3.2 million in annual mailing costs, said Mark Stiles, director of the state’s unemployment insurance claims system. JPMorgan Chase also pays the state 10 cents a month for each active account.