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Your bail out money. Banks won’t say where it went.

According to an Associated Press article, “Where’d the bailout money go? Shhhh, it’s a secret” (Matt Apuzzo, December 22, 2008), after 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in bail out money were asked how the money is being spent, “none of the banks provided specific answers.”   Like I assume most of you might feel, I find this simply amazing.

Chase bank’s answer, as reported in the article, was simply a gem: “We have not disclosed that to the public. We’re declining to.” 

In light of the fact that its January 2, 2009, and account holder’s new terms (%5 minimum payment on large, plus a $10 “finance charge” on what had been promoted as “fixed rate” for the life of the balance accounts) are now, officially, in effect (with no “opt out” — Chase lied to Congress), the answer given really makes me hope that Professor Elizabeth Warren’s Congressional Oversight Committee grills Chase executives and brings their shenanigans to the top of our national conversation.  Of course, now that we know that Chase is willing to answer relevant questions with either misrepresentations (or no answer whatsoever), I’m sure that whatever it is they do say will be interesting.

As I indicated in my earlier post, I do think we should close the “bail out” account that we just opened for Chase, right now.  If there was any justice or efficiency in this world we’d be able to turn around Chase’s smug disposition with a reply: The public wants its money bank.  We’re declining to let you keep it.