I Wonder If They Gave Her A Toaster When She Opened The Account?
What a public relations nightmare!
86-year old Jessie McDonald currently lives in a Chicago area care center. She suffers from dementia. Her husband of 61 years, Jim, passed away last year. She has no children.
During the course of their lifetimes, Jessie and Jim managed to save about $400,000 - all of which was deposited at the downtown branch of Chase Bank in Chicago.
In August of 2007, Chase Bank discovered that one of it's employees had embezzled $300,000 from Jessie's account. Upon learning of the theft, Chase fired the teller and notified the Cook County public guardian's office (since Jessie is not competent to take care of herself).
Despite multiple requests, as of this morning, Chase had failed to reimburse Mrs. McDonald for the money stolen from her account by the Chase employee. Since the theft, Jessie had been living on the remaining money left in her account. However, these funds were dwindling rapidly.
Think about this for a minute. Imagine if your bank account had been cleaned out (through no fault of your own) by a bank employee and - ten months later - the bank still hadn't reimbursed you for your loss. Sure makes you want to open another account at that bank!
In any event, Jessie's story was featured on the front page of today's Chicago Sun-Times.
The good news is that hours after Jessie's story became public, Chase finally agreed to repay the money that had been stolen from her account. The bad news is that it took the newspaper expose' to motivate the bank to do the right thing.
The bank had ten months within which to return Ms. McDonald's money. That they failed to do so is nothing short of unconscionable! The bank's loss is undoubtedly covered in whole or in part by insurance. Even if it wasn't though, this was not the fault of the customer. As such, Chase should have made the loss good right away.
I recognize that having an employee steal money from a customer like this has to be embarrassing for a financial institution. Nevertheless, if Chase had acted immediately, they would have received kudos for promptly reimbursing their customer. As it is, they look like a greedy operation that was willing to shaft it's most vulnerable customers until they got exposed by the newspaper.
As for Mrs. McDonald, along with giving her back her money, I wonder whether Chase will give her a toaster or something?