by: Jonathan Salem Baskin

A few days ago, I received further confirmation from my bank -- Chase -- that its brand is all about abusing me.

First, there was some small print added to my monthly statement, just beneath the logo. It was notification that certain fees would be raised; for instance, the charge for wire transfers from foreign banks would be raised from $15 to $25. 

Fees with no explanation are no better than taxes. Worse, really. It never made sense that it cost me a $15 penalty for transferring money into my account from overseas. Pushing the button cost, what, a cent, if that (OK, maybe two, if you include the deprecation of the button spring). More than likely, the action was wholly automatic, which meant the bank was making $15 in pure profit on my business.

Now it was raising the penalty to $25. No "we're giving money to the button-pushing maladies charity" or something like that. No improvement of the pushing, so it happened quicker, or produced a better, snappier click

Just another dim bulb like me getting charged another $10 because the bank thinks it can get away with it.

So I'm already fried about this nonsense, and then I rifle through the rest of my day's mail and notice a promo piece that says I can save $10 if I spend at least $25 at one of Chase's cross-selling partners.

Wait a minute! Those are the exact same sums they're extorting from me with the fee increase!

There's nothing in my purchase profile that tells the bank that I might actually need the junk its partner is selling. Why am I getting this mail? It's not even remotely obvious to me.

But then...ah...I get it. Of course, Chase is banking on me using my charge card to make the purchase, and then getting to charge its onerous interest rates on my balance. It really doesn't matter what the offer is. Some percentage of victims will fall for it. There's a dial on some campaign management dashboard that says so.

Plus, I bet the bank is likely getting a spiff from the partner for letting it send junk mail to me in the first place. Another dial spins. This is integrated marketing!

In one day, Chase told me that it wanted to make money off of me at least four different ways. 

What it didn't tell me was that it would do anything for me. 

I wonder how much money it spent on complicated software and marketing brilliance to come up with such a strategy. I know for certain that all of the money it has spent on beautiful commercials, signage, and other detritus of branding is all but flushed down the toilet for me. 

Getting exploited isn't customer relationship management. It's abuse. And it's branding idiocy from Chase. It should know better.

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