This is the third time this has happened to me and I finally put the pieces of the puzzle together with this latest merger: Chase and Bank One. When large financial institutions merge (or swallow) another institution, upper management immediately kicks off what I call a "cull" of accounts fitting an simple cutoff criteria. My first experience was First USA with can't-remember-who, next was MBNA with US Bank, latest was Chase with Bank One. Each time same thing happened.
The cutoff includes one or more of the following (not including normal "real" credit alerts like late payments):
1) Available credit on accounts is too low
2) Balance on bankcard account is too high
3) Too many accounts with high balances
At that point, the computer spits out a "changes in terms" list, puts them in the mail and waits to see who notices. In my case, the 10.65% rate would go to 15%+prime (never less than 19%) and north of 25% if I'm late on a payment, etc. Rejection in terms equates to closing the account and paying as 10.65% loan. I wrote a letter that asked whether Chase wanted to re-think the change in terms or close the cridit card account plus lose my banking business (9 years with Bank one :-( ).
The chimps in the Chase mailroom cannot answer that question, so they select one of the couple of options the computer allows and another mindless form letter is spit out.
In my case, rather than answering my question about retracting the change in terms or closing the account, I received a form letter re-stating that the reasons for their change is from Experian credit report stating 1-3 above. It was not my question nor did it answer whether Chase would examine more than the "blind cull" criteria.
So I called the low-level dobermans (read: caremember "services") line and got the usual party line, "They already *have* considered your case..." Since the form letter had not addressed my question, it was obvious the powers-that-be had not even *seen* my letter. I re-submitted a rejection of terms letter on 1-Jun, once again requesting written confirmation that either Chase retract the change in terms or close the account. I fully anticipate another form letter that does not address the request.
I got all 3 credit reports (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax), bought the FICO/Credit rating scores as well. Ironically, Experian Credit rating actually considers us an excellent credit candidate despite having high balances on the two credit cards we own.
Today, I went to my Bank One branch so a live body branch manager might help get me past the dobermans to see about reasoning out that an income of >$100K/yr and two credit cards should trigger a change in terms. Got a 2nd level doberman (Damian) who also had no authority but is excellent at reciting the party line.
I felt bad for the branch manager (Bank One branch by my house has really friendly help) who was stuck in the middle. I'm also closing my Bank One bank account to make a statement to Chase so she knew she was losing our business because of this mess and she didn't know how to pursue further up the chain at Chase.
When MBNA did that to me, I had some leverage (they had purchased the credit card section of US Bank including a contract servicing a block of small-business customers). I copied the small business parent organization on my rejection of terms, suggesting the business organization should consider another finacial company. MBNA apologized and that was that.
Didn't have same leverage with Chase so we're off bank shopping today, losing the 9 years history with Bank One but unwilling to support Chase in their mindless business practice of culling at merger time.
Chase+Bank One == change in terms. MBNA+US Bank == change in terms. Fleet Bank+ ?? == change in terms. See a pattern here?
Cedar Park, Texas
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Chase Bank Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Bank One