Worst Company In America Round One: Bank Of America Vs. Chase

It hasn’t been a banner year for either of these banking bruisers. But has12 months of settlements over fraudulent mortgages, along with all that planning/canceling/reinstating of fees, left these fighters exhausted, or has it hardened them into true WCIA warriors?

BofA still has to be stinging from its by-a-nostril-hair loss to BP in last year’s WCIA Final Death Match; even our decision to honor the bank with Consumerist’s first-ever Silver Poo trophy did not seem to improve the bank’s lot, as it cut thousands of jobs and lost its one remaining bragging right — being the country’s largest bank — to JPMorgan Chase, the same financial institution against which it faces off in the Octagon of Shame.

And now that it’s the biggest bank in the nation, Chase seems out to prove it can be just as bad as BofA.

Both companies have been testing fees on debit cards, checking accounts and just about everything under the sun. Chase did away the rewards debit cards it has spent piles of cash marketing over the years, all while complaining about how swipe-fee reform would be the ruin of the entire U.S. banking system. Of course, we’ll never know since Chase and its ilk managed to convince lawmakers to neuter those changes.

Both banks have embarrassingly shoddy records when it comes to adjusting mortgage and were continually penalized by regulators for failing to meet mandatory benchmarks.

While we received mounds of personal stories on why these two banks should each move on to the next round, a couple of readers managed to sum up their feelings rather succinctly (and, amazingly, without resorting to profanity).

“I have never HATED my mortgage company before, but I do now,” writes Lori, who isn’t exactly a fan of having to pay up to $21 in fees — not to mention fielding daily calls from BofA — just for making her mortgage payment within the grace period.

While Tracy’s feelings about Chase are confined to, “I don’t even believe in the antichrist and I am convinced Chase is it.”

But, as is the nature of such competitions, only one of these two banks can move on to the next round. So choose, but choose wisely.

VOTING FOR THIS POLL IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATS TO BANK OF AMERICA — WE’LL SEE YOU IN THE SWEET 16!

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2012 series. The companies competing for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. See the entire WCIA 2012 bracket and schedule of match-ups HERE.

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  1. Platypi {Redacted} says:

    Oh Chase, you just got stuck in a bad first round matchup. Against different competition, you might have gone far…

    • vastrightwing says:

      I really wanted to vote for the Federal Reserve bank, but since that wasn’t on the ballot, BoA was the obvious choice. Since BoA is one of the heads of the hydra of the Federal Reserve, this makes sense. As long as Chase or BoA wins the Golden Poo award, I’m satisfied.

      • Tacojelly says:

        I’m not an economist or anything, but what’s so bad about the federal reserve? As far as I know all they do is monitor inflation and adjust interest rates.

        I’m not saying they’re doing an exceptionally good job or anything, but I’d wager the worst thing they’ve done pails in comparison to the absolute disaster that are these national chain banks.

        • vastrightwing says:

          This is the problem, people mostly don’t know what the Federal Reserve is and what they do. They like to keep secrets about their activities since all hell would break loose. I’d advise not going down this rabbit hole; it will disturb you.

        • vastrightwing says:

          This is the problem, people mostly don’t know what the Federal Reserve is and what they do. They like to keep secrets about their activities since all hell would break loose. I’d advise not going down this rabbit hole; it will disturb you.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      This is my complaint with Consumerist matching up similar industries. It should be random, or similar to the NCAA matchups of rank 16 vs. rank 1, etc. based on nominations.

      • Platypi {Redacted} says:

        Agreed. Would love to see a seeded bracket, based on nominations or perhaps an analysis of posts from the last year.

    • ChaosOnion says:

      Does not matter, BOA has this in the bag.

  2. Cat says:

    By simply being a c-hair less evil, and being in the same first bracket with the evil BofA, Chase get off scot-free in the first round.

    Let’s hope that Chase doesn’t get a free pass next year, too.

  3. PercussionQueen7 says:

    I get why these were paired together but I wish Chase could make it to another round. I moved away from Chase when they started nickel and diming me. Went to a local credit union who actually gives a crap about their customers, and I’ve been happy ever since.

  4. mister_roboto says:

    Damn- it’s off to a good start this year.

  5. AtlantaCPA says:

    I’ve never understood this whole “grace period” thing. Calling it that makes it sound like it’s OK to pay late. News flash: if you pay after the day it’s due, it’s late and often there is a fee for paying late. (not commenting on Lori’s situation per se, just venting)

  6. daemonaquila says:

    My gods, Consumerist – you’re inhuman! You’re making us decide which of these two is WORSE?

  7. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I have to say BofA. I can’t complain about Chase, yet, as I have a Chase Freedom card and get 5% cash back on certain categories, and I got $200 just for signing up and spending $500 in a certain time frame. So far, so good and no problems.

    • frank64 says:

      During the financial crisis period, Chase was the only bank I know of that raised many’s credit card rates, and didn’t give an opt out. Most banks allowed you to close the account and pay off at the lower rate. Sticking people with a 30% rate was unconscionable. BOA didn’t even raise my rate at all during the same period.

      I will not do business with Chase due to this. I think they should have gotten beaten up for it more than they did. 30% with no opt out. Crazy bad.

      • Herbz says:

        You can’t retroactively raise an interest rate. Pretty sure there is a federal law on that.

        Their “opt out” in that case, would be to close the card before the increase takes effect.

        If they don’t let you do this, they are in violation of several laws.

        • frank64 says:

          It wasn’t retroactive because they only changed the rate going forward, but it was on things that people already charged. They had no choice and I don’t believe it was illegal, because they pointed to the we can change rates at any time, at our whim small print.

          Nearly all banks that raised rates like this allowed for the closing of the account to keep the lower rates. Chase was one of the very few that did not. Citi raised my rate, but allowed me to opt out, they even allowed me to use the card at the lower rate until the card expired about a year later. Some people with other cards got stuck though, mostly due to not reading their notification, but some that thought “losing thier oldest credit line” was worth it. At least they had a choice, but not many Chase customers.

      • DarthCoven says:

        A few years back Chase kept hiking up my CC rates. When I couldn’t make my monthly payments they actually worked with me. I can’t use the card anymore, but they’re letting me pay it off with low monthly payments at some ridiculously low interest rate.

        I’m still a customer.

  8. DraconWolfX says:

    Definitely a vote for BoA for me. I might be one of the few…but I have a Chase Sapphire Preferred and have had nothing but good experiences with them. It might have something to do with the fact I’ve received quite a few free trips due to that card…but all the times I’ve had to call they’ve been super friendly and helpful. I can’t speak to their general banking accounts but I’m happy with the service I have!

  9. phil says:

    For all of these matchups: My first question is “Evil – or just incompetent?” Incompetence will only get you so far in this competition. True evil is required to win…

  10. vastrightwing says:

    I think the reason banks are so bad at customer service is because most of their profits come from the Federal Reserve. And the Federal Reserve’s profits come from tax payers. The distinction is that as tax payers, we have no influence on the banks or the Federal Reserve. Banks only have to hire good lobbyists to bribe… I mean, influence politicians/law makers to use tax payer money for bailing them out of financial gambling, such as naked CDS. Also, they have access to low interest loans where they can buy treasury bonds and make a tidy profit in the margin between what they pay for interesting and what the government (read taxpayers) pays them in interest. In short, retail customers are nothing more than a chinese laundry façade for the real business of defrauding the tax payers. But that’s just my opinion.

  11. dbasch says:

    Maybe I am just really, really special but how the heck do I vote???

    • Cor Aquilonis says:

      I have the same problem – can’t vote. Powers that be; mark me down for B of A as the worst.

    • scoosdad says:

      I think it depends on the browser or a browser add-on. I use Firefox primarily, and the vote box is missing in my version 5.0. It’s showing OK in Safari 5.1.1 and in IE 8.0

      It might have something to do with Adblock or a web tracking blocker I have installed (ironically at the recommendation of a Consumerist article recently).

      • scoosdad says:

        If you have Ghostery installed, go to the settings in the top menu and uncheck PollDaddy from the list of blocked bugs. Refresh your browser a couple of times and the voting box should show up again. Just fixed it for me in Firefox.

  12. CrankyOwl says:

    Sheesh. This is like trying to pick a winner in a fight between Hitler and Stalin.

  13. jj_hippie says:

    I really can’t decide on this one and here’s why: My little brother’s in college, so his BofA bank account is linked to my dad’s BofA account, and they have overdraft protection so that if my brother overdrafts, the money comes out of my dad’s account. Last Saturday, my brother was out of town. He gets an email notification on his phone early in the morning that he overdrafted by roughly $200. He’s very confused because he hasn’t written any checks or used his debit card all week, and additionally he’s sitting on roughly $500 in his account.

    So he calls BofA, and after some back and forth, they come to the conclusion that someone had deposited a check for almost $700 at a Chase Bank in Atlanta, and the teller fat-fingered the checking account number, so the money came out of my brother’s account. In fact, the BofA employee was able to see the scan of the check attached to my brother’s account and verified it most definitely did not come from my brother (different name/address/etc).

    So BofA tells my brother that they have to physically mail a form to Chase for them to verify that this was a mistake, and that they can’t recredit the money to his account until Chase does their part. They said if he hadn’t heard anything by Wednesday to call back. My brother then calls Chase, but Chase refuses to work with him at all on the grounds that he’s not a customer. He actually got the guy on the phone who did the transaction (since it had happened just a few hours earlier), but couldn’t go any further and so must wait until Wednesday.

    My brother knows the name of the guy whose account the money was supposed to come out of because the check image finally loaded to his online BofA account (and this means he also has this guy’s address and account/routing numbers). He found the guy on Facebook and is considering sending him a message to see if he can help out since he’s actually a Chase customer, but he doesn’t want to freak the guy out since, you know, my brother does have a lot of this guy’s personal banking information (even though my brother would never use it. I know I’d be alarmed if a stranger contacted me with that kind of info).

    Thankfully my brother had just deposited $400 extra the day before this happened that hadn’t posted yet, and my dad’s very understanding about the whole thing and was able to transfer additional money in my brother’s account to cover his bills until this gets sorted out, but it really sucks.

  14. Veeber says:

    Maybe starting for next year we can track the “records” for each company. Every negative story done on you gets you a “win”. For every positive story you get a “loss” Then we have a win percentage so we can create brackets that are based on win/loss instead of having financial industry compete against itself.

  15. ThinkingBrian says:

    It looks like Chase gets a free pass this year as Bank of America is the worst company here.

  16. PhiTauBill says:

    Wow, two no-brainers so far today… both will get greater than 85% of the vote, methinks.

  17. ThunderRoad says:

    It it just me – must be just me – but where is the voting box? I’m not seeing it in any of the WCIA stories.

    • gnoswal says:

      No voting box for me either when using chrome(even turned of adblocker). Tried firefox and I have it.

  18. IceCat says:

    I left Chase a couple of years ago for a Schwab investor checking account a couple of years ago, and gennerally like the sevice i get from them, that being sad B of V gets my vote becuase i’ve got some frinds who bank with them, and I get to hear any number of horror stories abou them on a rehular basis.

  19. phaseunbalance says:

    I am a BoA customer only because BoA bought out Nationsbank, who bought out NCNB Texas, who bought out RepublicBank Texas, who bought out National Bank of Fort Sam Houston. Let’s see‚Ķ what else did BoA buy? Oh yeah, Countrywide. Right before the economy collapsed. So much for “higher standards.”

    • bben says:

      Actually, NationsBank bought out BoA and took the name. The HQ was moved from BoAs HQ in San Fran to NationsBank HQ in Charlotte NC.

      So what we really have is NationsBank doing business as BoA.

  20. bben says:

    It looks to me like BoA may be a shoe in this year. They got a big jump out out of the gate and have a strong tail wind helping them along.

    My mortgage was sold to BoA last year, so far they haven’t managed to screw it up. But I still quite a few years to go. Hopefully a silver last year and then the gold this year will send some kind of wake up call to their arrogant management who should be in jail for the disaster they helped inflict with their greed.

  21. Tacojelly says:

    I’ve been burned by chase, and in a few days I will have drained every last cent out and completely moved on to a new bank.

    That said, it’s BofA clearly.

  22. suez says:

    I’m one of the proud to have closed my checking/savings account with BoA back in November. I’m laughing all the way to my new bank (USAA).

  23. ned4spd8874 says:

    Oh man…BOTH!

    Worse comes to worse, I’ll vote for boa. At least I was able to drop chase but can’t move my mortgage from boa.

  24. HogwartsProfessor says:

    BoA! BoA!

  25. Chmee says:

    Sorry Chase, I know Dimon put in a good showing lately to get you in there, but I just had to go with BoA. They still have you beat. Keep trying though, you’re getting there!

  26. watcher says:

    Having used both banks, I can tell you Bank of America is FAR worse than Chase. I still have Chase accounts, but BOA left the building…