The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services says it wants to know why JPMorgan Chase is charging welfare recipients 85 cents each time they withdraw money from one of its bank machines, according to Rebecca Henrie, a spokesperson with DSHS’s Community Services Division.
In the first four months of 2011, Chase, one of the nation’s largest banks, took in a total of $465,000 in ATM fees from some of the state’s poorest people: single mothers on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, a program that DSHS administers.
DSHS contracts with Chase to provide debit-like Quest benefit cards to TANF and food stamp recipients and manage their accounts. Henrie said the agency already pays Chase a monthly caseload fee of 67 cents for each cash-only TANF account, $1.24 for each food stamp account and $1.65 for dual accounts.
Chase charges the 85-cent fee as part of a cost-sharing arrangement, Henrie said, but only when TANF recipients make a cash withdrawal at a Chase ATM. Grocery stores and retailers generally don’t charge anything for Quest and bank card users to buy food and clothing.
KUOW reported on the fee totals May 8, and now DSHS plans to ask Chase what the fee is for and whether it’s appropriate, Henrie said.
In April alone, Chase netted $103,000 from the fee. Other banks collected a total of nearly $200,000 in surcharges from TANF recipients who made withdrawals at non-Chase machines, the state’s data show.
Meanwhile, two nights ago, JPMorgan Chase made a big deal about their Corporate Challenge in Boston which worldwide raises around $600,000 for charity.
So that’s like screwing over Washington State’s poor for five months. Maybe we should call that unit of money a “Chase-TANF” unit or something?