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April 29, 2019, 8:21 PM UTC
By Michael Cappetta
Chase Bank’s effort to provide a little “Monday Motivation” backfired after a tweet pushing people to be fiscally responsible was widely criticized as “poor-shaming.”
Chase, which has 365,000 Twitter followers, quickly deleted the post.
“Our #MondayMotivation is to get better at #MondayMotivation tweets,” the Chase account later said. “Thanks for the feedback Twitter world.”
The since-deleted tweet offered a hypothetical conversation between a bank customer and the bank. The customer asks, “Why is my balance so low?” and the bank account replies: “Make coffee at home … eat the food that’s already in the fridge … you don’t need a cab, it’s only three blocks.”
The backlash on social media was swift. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a frequent critic of big banks, pointed out that JPMorgan, Chase’s parent company, received over $25 billion in taxpayer money as part of a government bailout in 2008.
Cale Weissman, a reporter for Fast Company, tweeted that Chase charges customers overdraft fees as high as $34.
Other’s took aim at Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
“It’s well-known that Jamie Dimon earned his riches making coffee at home and eating leftovers,” tweeted Ben Walsh, a reporter at Barron’s.
In January, JPMorgan’s board raised Dimon’s salary to more than $31 million, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Dimon was recently questioned at a House Financial Services Committee hearing over the wages the bank pays to low-level employees.
Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., who pushed Dimon about salary levels at the hearing, said in a statement that the tweet reflected that the bank and Dimon are “out of touch.”
“They pay their workers barely enough to make rent, and then try to shame them into thinking it’s their own fault for buying an occasional coffee,” Porter said in an emailed statement. “Meanwhile they spend millions on lobbyists for corporate tax breaks and gutting banking rules. It’s outrageous but I’m not surprised.”
There was even some backlash to the backlash, with some Twitter users defending the tweet.
“Chase was right, it was a good tweet, and the people who were offended probably saw themselves in it,” tweeted Tom Nichols, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College.
Other users sought a middle ground.
“Chase shouldn’t lecture people about their own budgeting when it had to get bailed out from its own bad investments/behavior but … Subbing walking/biking/public transit for ride-sharing/cars as much as possible/safe does save you/planet a ton/tons of carbon,” tweeted Clara Jeffery, editor-in-chief of the left-leaning news outlet Mother Jones.
Financial expert Dave Ramsey said that while he generally doesn’t agree with how banks operate, Chase had a point.
“No one should ever shame someone for being poor,” Ramsey said. “But all of us should be open to having our bad habits called out so we can live better lives.”