Following is a letter I wrote to Chase Bank. They have denied all responsibility. So if you are dealing with Chase Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank or Chase Investment Services be sure that you read ALL the fine print and make a recording of all your phone calls or person-to-person meetings. I trusted this savings and trust. BIG MISTAKE...
Two of my three grandchildren have had secure savings accounts for years at what is now Chase Bank. They invested their hard earned dollars from baby-sitting, rolling up pennies, leaf raking, and other chores around the house plus their birthday and Christmas gifts into their own savings accounts. The oldest 14 year-old Tricia had saved $1, 217.63, and her younger sister 10-year old Alexis had saved $1.095.37. I decided to open a third savings account for the youngest 4 year-old Annabelle with $100.00 just like I had done for her sisters.
In September, 2007 when I went to Chase Bank to open a new account for Annabelle I was introduced to Alex Berry who was a Chase investment representative. Alex suggested that instead of opening another savings account I should invest all 3 girls savings into the College Choice plan offered by the bank. He made it sound so enticing that I withdrew all the funds from both girls’ savings and then added Annabelle to the list. All three girls were invested in this fund, which was supposed to be a great opportunity for them.
What Alex neglected to inform me was that Chase Bank would take almost 6% from each and every deposit made into the girls’ accounts for total commissions, underwriter commissions and servicing agent commissions. That’s a lot better interest than I was getting. I only learned about this when I received the first College Choice Confirmation Statement. Tricia’s initial deposit of $1, 217.63 was now only worth $1, 153.70, Alexis’s went from $1, 095.37 to $1037.89 and Annabelle’s $100 was reduced to $94.76. Presuming this must be a one-time charge I called Alex to verify this. That is when he informed me that each and every deposit would be treated the same. I then asked him about monthly service fees and he assured me that there were not any. He conveniently failed once again to mention the annual fees of $40.00 per account. In addition it was never revealed that these were not really savings accounts, but were actually tied to the stock market. I was not given any written information until I had signed all the necessary papers. And even then I blindly trusted Chase Bank and Alex Berry to look after my grandchildren’s money. In the end when I was finally able to get the girls’ savings returned to me they had lost a great deal of their hard-earned dollars AS DISPLAYED BELOW.
After 5 months the account settlements for Tricia, Alexis and Annabelle, respectively were:
Initial Contribution Commissions, Fees, Services,
and Stock Market Fluctuations Remainder
1, 217.63 (229.99) $987.23
1, 095.37 (248.33) $847.04
100.00 (92.34) $ 7.66
TOTAL LOSSES ($570.66) = to 24% reduction in value.
The accounts for my grandchildren would never have been opened had I been informed from the very beginning that:
There would be several commissions equal to almost 6% taken out from each and every deposit.
There would be service fees taken annually.
The accounts would be tied to the fluctuating stock market with all the risks involved.
The accounts would not be FDIC insured.
Each variable above would have been a deal breaker.
Why was I not informed of the risks, charges, fees, commissions, etc associated with this so-called savings plan for children? Clearly, if I had known this retired grandmother would never have invested so unwisely with her grandchildren’s futures. And, obviously Chase Bank and Alex Berry did not tell me because they were the ones to benefit either way. This is a sad commentary on the way reputable (?) banks and their representatives do business this day. Buyer beware has now become saver beware.
The only ethical solution for this situation would be to reopen the girls’ savings accounts with the remaining amounts and for Chase Bank to make up the difference. If this is not possible I will be closing our checking account that has been opened since the 1980’s and will be canceling all our Chase credit cards. I will no longer wish to do business with a bank that knowingly and willingly took advantage of children and their grandmother. Just like taking candy from a baby.
Frances A. D’Angelo
Obviously Chase Bank chose not to make this right...