Friday, February 18, 2011

"Open Letter"

By Jerry Zezima

The Stamford Advocate

Jamie Dimon

President and CEO

JPMorgan Chase

270 Park Ave.

New York, N.Y. 10017

Dear Mr. Dimon:

I’m Jerry Zezima. The name probably doesn’t mean much to you (it doesn’t mean much to me, either, although it is of great interest to my creditors), but I am a Chase customer who, like you, has been victimized by the bad housing market.

I am writing to tell you that I sympathize with your recent decision to sell your Chicago mansion for only $6.95 million, which is about half the original asking price of $13.5 million. My wife, Sue, and I had been trying to refinance our house, which is nice but certainly no mansion, and just found out that we have been denied by your bank.

It all started when we went to our local Chase branch and saw a very nice loan officer named Ernie. Let me say from the outset that you should give Ernie a raise. I’d give him one myself, but because of the denial, I don’t have the extra cash. Then again, you know the feeling.

Anyway, we wanted to refinance because our younger daughter is getting married and, as father of the bride, I figured we could use the money, which we otherwise would have blown on frivolous luxuries like food and, of course, shelter.

So we began the Application from Hell. Little did Sue and I know that the process would take almost six months. I am now convinced that the full name of your bank is Wild Goose Chase.

We had to produce enough paperwork to wipe out the Amazon rainforest, the North Woods of Maine and all the trees in our yard. Scientists may well blame Chase for climate change.

Practically every day I had to drop off copies of pay stubs, insurance forms, bank statements, income tax returns and so much other stuff I could barely carry it all. I’m surprised I wasn’t required to bring my high school transcript, which would have shown that I am so bad at math, I could get a job as an underwriter.

For the record, your underwriters not only are underhanded and overrated but also sadistic. They kept asking for personal information (I wear size 34 boxer shorts, by the way) but were never satisfied. So I had to produce even more evidence that Sue and I still live in our house, still have jobs and, perhaps most important, are still alive.

It got to the point where I was spending more time with Ernie than I was with Sue. People were starting to talk.

Then we had to shell out $400 for a house appraisal. It turned out that our house was acceptable but we weren’t. So our application was denied.

I don’t know what you are going to do about the hit you took on the sale of your Chicago house, but if you are thinking of recouping the money by refinancing your home in Westchester County, N.Y., I have two words of advice: Forget it!

Take it from me, Mr. Dimon: It will be the worst experience of your life.

I am telling you all this because I know you’re not a bad guy. In fact, The New York Times called you “America’s least hated banker.” You should put that on your business card.

Since you live fairly close to our place on Long Island, N.Y., Sue and I would like to invite you and your wife to the wedding. Maybe you can stop by the house, which I am sure you will like. You may even wonder why we weren’t able to refinance it.

In the meantime, Mr. Dimon, good luck. If you need to borrow a few bucks until payday, I’d be happy to help. And at a low interest rate. After all, in these tough times, we homeowners have to stick together.


Jerry Zezima

Copyright 2011 by Jerry Zezima


straightfromhelle said...

Having just went through this myself, I feel your pain. I don't get it, I was only trying to stimulate the economy but apparently they didn't want my money! I think I will write a similar letter to my bank but with more cursing.

Heidi-"Heidi in Real Life" said...

I LOVE your writing. What a cleverly written letter (I HOPE you sent it!). Hilarious.

WatchfulEye said...

Great stuff. Hope you send it to the man, plus Ernie's immediate supervisor.

Rose A. Valenta said...

Way to go! Jerry

Sharon said...

What a great "tongue in cheek" piece! Good job.

Jerry Zezima said...

Thanks, Michelle. This is what you get for trying to help Wall Street. Still, you should write that letter. Sounds like it will be a little more colorful than mine.

Jerry Zezima said...

Thank you, Heidi! Yes, I did send the letter. I'll let you know if I get a response.

Jerry Zezima said...

Thank you, WatchfulEye. As I told Heidi, I did, indeed, e-mail a copy of the column to Mr. Dimon. I'll send him a hard copy next week. I'll do the same with Ernie.

Jerry Zezima said...

Thanks, Rose!

Jerry Zezima said...

Thank you, Sharon! I really like your blog. Good job to you, too.

foxyroxy said...

Great piece of REALITY ! I've mulled it over . The answer is DON'T HAVE A MORTGAGE !!!!! The question is HOW . Good luck .

Jerry Zezima said...

Thank you, Foxy. It's both reality and realty. And you have asked the question of the year. Maybe Jamie has the answer.

Anne R. Allen said...

Just found this article on the HuffPo and came over to check out your blog. "A man's home is his hassle"--what a great line.

And this is all too tragically true about banks. Doesn't matter what political frame you put around the picture, it's hard not to see bankers as villains: they caused a recession, took our money to bail themselves them out & give themselves obscene bonuses, and refuse to help the rest of the country get out of the hole THEY dug--#epicfail. Maybe we need an anti-banker revolution? Invite a few Egyptians and Tunisians to show us how it's done?

Jerry Zezima said...

Thanks, Anne. I guess it's a good thing that my wife and I were denied. As I wrote, we'd only blow the money on frivolous luxuries like food and shelter. And, of course, bank bailouts. I hope Mr. Dimon can afford to buy a wedding gift.

Tracy said...

"Wild Goose Chase" Love it!!

Jerry Zezima said...

Thank you, Tracy!