Remember when Texas chose a criminal bank to provide unemployment debit cards?

From the 2007 press release: “The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has selected JPMorgan Chase to provide debit cards for unemployment insurance benefits, replacing traditional paper checks.

“JPMorgan Chase will supply TWC with up to 290,000 debit cards a year. The TWC cards can be used like any other debit card – to purchase items from merchants or get cash from an ATM (automated teller machine).

‘JPMorgan Chase is an excellent partner for our unemployment insurance debit card program because the company has extensive experience and has a reputation for excellent customer service,’ said TWC Chair and Commissioner Representing the Public Diane Rath.

‘We are delighted to support the Texas Workforce Commission on this innovative program that will make it easier and safer for unemployment recipients to get benefits,’ said Neil Dugan, senior vice president, JPMorgan Chase.”

The bank was also delighted to charge a friend of mine $7.00 to “replace” a debit card that never came in the mail. Remember, this guy was on unemployment, which is why he needed the card in the first place, AND he never got it, so the bank may never have even sent it or sent it to the wrong address.

In case you don’t remember, since Texas contracted with Chase to handle these accounts, the bank has been involved with some pretty nefarious dealings, but don’t worry, their stock is as valuable as ever.

Here’s how the WSJ described it: “WASHINGTON—Five global banks agreed to pay more than $5 billion in combined penalties and plead guilty to criminal charges to resolve a long-running U.S. investigation into whether traders colluded to move foreign-currency rates for their own financial benefit.” (Emphasis mine) Chase was one of those banks.

Apparently, traders at these banks, including Chase, have embraced the scummy behavior behind the nickname “banksters” that they earned after the 2008 collapse that ruined many people’s standard of living, as seen in this excerpt from Bloomberg:

“Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Plc agreed to plead guilty to felony charges of conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros, according to settlements announced by the Justice Department in Washington Wednesday. . . They were accused of colluding to influence benchmark rates by aligning positions and pushing transactions through at the same time. Traders who described themselves as members of “The Cartel” used online chat rooms to discuss their positions before the rates were set and suppress competition in the market, the Justice Department said.” (Emphasis mine)

So maybe when TWC chose Chase to handle these accounts, they weren’t actually considered criminals, like they are now that they paid these criminal fines, but why is the state still working with them? It is so great to know that our state continues to contract with a bank the traders of which refer to themselves as “The Cartel.” Why don’t we just ask the guys from Sinaloa or the Zetas to handle our SNAP card accounts while we are at it? I am sure their buddies at HSBC would be glad to help them launder that money too.

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