SPEAK OUT - Are we banking on privacy or piracy?

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Here in Brooklyn, virtually each of our many branches of so many nationally renowned banks become day time anchors of our so many neighborhood shopping streets and malls.

Very often they are long time established anchors of neighborhood shopping centers. They never run sales, but they have offered concrete confidence that our hard-earned savings are afforded security -till very recently, when too many national networks and news channels beclouded our security and our serenity with Federal bank bail outs, pop-outs and incessant headlined tales of woe. Even the pigeons roosting atop the bank branches had to quiver in insecurities.

That’s when we went to our junk mail to re-read the phraseologies of the many letters of privacy that we rarely throw out. We pile them up, just habitually, figuring someday we might find a meaning to them.

It is not that one bank has been found at fault but we’ve always been suspicious when our bank statements always pop up with an enclosure - a printed paper heralding our privacy policy.

One says, “We have to keep information about you private and secure, but we want you to know how we manage that information to serve you (me?) and you have choices about how it is shared (when did they ever ask me?)

After several more laborious, taxing paragraphs, my brochure offers a paragraph leading with, “You may tell us not to share your information about you, with non-financial companies, outside of ‘our families of companies’, but we may do what is permitted by law!”

And in this instance Chase goes on to tell us that there are so many privileges that have to dispose information about me, your columnist Lou Powsner, who swears that he does not have a bank account with that bank - not for many many years.

But, when you have credit cards like they shoved down my throat in an Atlantic City Trump hotel, they virtually shoved a Trump Visa Card down my back pocket along with a Taj Mahal t-shirt that someone stole off the back of my black jack seat, in the Taj. Only the Taj card remained and Chase runs the Trump Visa operation, I did not like the dictatorial tone of the “privacy letter”. It sounded too publicity so I misplaced my Trump card and use some of my too-many others. And, instead of aggravating about the Trump Chase privacy letters, I just rile at the same kind of disclaimer letters that all of my other banks send me.

They all call them privacy policy but they all take piracy privileges that neither you nor I ever gave them, when we laid down the greenpaperd photos of presidents Lincoln, Washington Jefferson and hundred dollar bill Ben Franklin. In banking, privacy is being permissively pirated.

Just to continue the Chase versus Chase, we received a statement from Chase for some credit card that I do not know if I ever had, asking me to pay them the past due amount of $0.00, before January 03, 09. To someone else, such a letter is garbage, but Lou Powsner tries to keep his credit clear, so we wrote a check to them last December 12th payable to Trump Rewards Chase Visa in the amount of “No Dollars, No Cents, and No Sense!” Paid In Full.

Having fun, maliciously Lou Powsner? Well yes I guess. But Chase did not answer directly. We got the check back (uncashed), with a letter from their Cardmember services which stated, “We are sorry to advise that the check is not payable to Cardmember Service. As a result, we are unable to apply the payment to your account. We have enclosed the check for your records. To keep your account current, please send us another payment as soon as possible to the address noted below...”

Updated 3:32 pm, October 19, 2011
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