Feature

Why we hate the big banks

To understand why, look no further than the financial industry’s infuriating debt collection practices.

Joe NoceraThe New York Times

I was recently in a crowded elevator when Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, stepped in, said Joe Nocera. Seeing me, he asked loudly why The New York Times hates the banks. My answer, Mr. Dimon, is that it’s not us­—“it’s the country.” To understand why, look no further than the financial industry’s infuriating debt collection practices, as recently revealed by The American Banker. Major banks haven’t abandoned the “shoddy, often illegal practices” that caused the foreclosure crisis; they’re using them now to collect credit card debt. And once again, their “practices hurt primarily the poor and the unsophisticated.” The banks hire outside law firms to sue supposedly overdue borrowers, or sell the debt to third parties, all based on often inaccurate records. In effect, “the banks are outsourcing their dirty work—and then washing their hands as the debt collectors harass and sue and make people miserable, often without proof that the debt is owed.” The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has begun examining these collection practices. It’s “not a moment too soon.”

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