The Economic Collapse Blog – January 19, 2011
JP Morgan is the largest processor of food stamp benefits in the United States. JP Morgan has contracted to provide food stamp debit cards in 26 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. JP Morgan is paid for each case that it handles, so that means that the more Americans that go on food stamps, the more profits JP Morgan makes. Yes, you read that correctly. When the number of Americans on food stamps goes up, JP Morgan makes more money. In the video posted below, JP Morgan executive Christopher Paton admits that this is “a very important business to JP Morgan” and that it is doing very well. Considering the fact that the number of Americans on food stamps has exploded from 26 million in 2007 to 43 million today, one can only imagine how much JP Morgan’s profits in this area have soared. But doesn’t this give JP Morgan an incentive to keep the number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program as high as possible?
There are just some things that are a little too “creepy” to be “outsourced” to private corporations. The JP Morgan executive in the interview below does his best to put a positive spin on all this, but it just seems really unsavory for a big Wall Street bank to be making so much money off of the suffering of tens of millions of Americans….
So if unemployment goes down will this ruin JP Morgan’s food stamp business?
Well, apparently not. In the interview Paton says that 40% of food stamp recipients are currently working, and he seems convinced that there could be further “growth” in that segment.
So is this what America is turning into?
A place where tens of millions of the unemployed and the working poor crawl over to Wal-Mart and the dollar store every month to use the food stamp debit cards provided to them by JP Morgan?
It turns out that JP Morgan also provides child support debit cards in 15 U.S. states and they also provide unemployment insurance benefit debit cards in seven states.
Apparently states have found that they can save millions of dollars by “outsourcing” the provision of these benefits to big financial firms like JP Morgan.
So what happens if you have a problem with your food stamp debit card?
Well, you call up a JP Morgan service center. When you do this, there is a very good chance that you are going to be helped by a JP Morgan call center employee in India.
That’s right – it turns out that JP Morgan is saving money by “outsourcing” food stamp customer service calls to India.
When ABC News asked JP Morgan about this, the company would not tell ABC News which states have customer service calls sent to India and which states have them handled inside the United States….
JP Morgan is the only one today still operating public-assistance call centers overseas. The company refused to say which states had calls routed to India and which ones had calls stay domestically. That decision, the company said, was often left up to the individual states.
JP Morgan has been moving some of these call center jobs back inside the United States due to political pressure, but this whole situation is a really good example of what the “global economy” is doing to middle class Americans.
Just try to imagine the irony – a formerly middle class American that has lost a job to outsourcing calls up to get help with food stamp benefits only to be answered by a call center employee in India.
Welcome to the global economy, eh?
But wait, there is more.
It has just been announced that JP Morgan has admitted that they wrongly foreclosed on over a dozen military families and that they have been overcharging “thousands” of other military families on their mortgages.
It is a really bad public relations move to mess with military families.
Is anyone over at JP Morgan even paying attention?
JP Morgan has also been one of the primary financial institutions involved in the foreclosure “robo-signing” scandal.
They just seem to be having all kinds of problems lately. But they are not alone.
The truth is that we have gotten to the point where big Wall Street banks such as JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citibank and Morgan Stanley just have way, way too much power.
The biggest Wall Street financial institutions had no trouble begging for bailouts from the U.S. government during the financial crisis, but when the American people have needed a little grace and mercy from them they have been less than helpful.