Your Banking Relationship

How’s your banking relationship? How would you feel if your bank allowed advertisers to target you based on your spending? That’s what Chase is doing. George G breaks it down so you can make good decisions!

Apr 4, 2024 | Blogs, Podcast

About the Episode

How’s your banking relationship? Chase Bank has decided to let advertisers target customers based on their spending data, and make money off any sales. Does that make sense? George G talks about that, how it compares to your relationship with your doctor, and whether or not it aligns with Chase’s values. We know you’re gonna love it. 

 

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George Grombacher

George Grombacher

Host

Episode Transcript

This week’s letter comes to us from little Karen. Little Karen Winterhold little careness. Look, Karen write back and let me know how old you are. Let me know what your experience over the last several years potentially over your entire lifetime. What it’s like to be had been to have been named Karen. During this time, I did not know that we were making any more Karen’s sort of thought that that was a name that has become obsolete, therefore making you unique. And maybe that’s what we’re going for here. Anyway, little Karen right here, George Gee, would you rather love playing? Would you rather Lokeren? Would you rather keep your money in your mattress? Or keep it at the bank? Great question. Little Karen. Great question. Obviously, I’d rather keep it at the bank, not safe to keep all my money at my home. Don’t want to bury it in coffee cans in my yard, I don’t want to put all my money behind painting in a secret safe. Granted, I do think it’s important to have some cash around. But certainly not all of it. We want to I want to put my money to work, I want to be able to buy things, you know, with cards and debit cards instead of just carrying around cash. And I want to be able to put my money to work and earn interest and I want the money to be safe. Certainly. Somebody comes in robbed my house, if there was a fire, I don’t want all my money to be gone. So put it in the bank, you’ve got the benefit of FDIC insurance, lots of good stuff. So I mean, I don’t even get it. Like why wouldn’t I want my money in a bank? That’s interesting. I wonder why you’re curious about this little Karen. And it probably because probably because one of the largest financial institutions in the world Chase, or just in the Wall Street Journal talking about how they have made the decision to begin allowing advertisers to target Chase customers, aka depositors. Based on their spending activity. Hmm. It’s interesting. Before I go any further, it seems like I’ve been going directly at some of the largest financial institutions in the world over the past couple of weeks, and not super sure if that’s a good idea, or a bad idea, or just fine. But all I’m doing is just noticing things. And I want to make people aware of them. Think that, like GI Joe used to say that knowing is half the battle, whether that’s actually true or not. I think you get the idea. The spirit of it is certainly true. So little Karen, I think, probably read this article in the journal because she seems like a very sophisticated young lady. And thought, Well, I wonder, is this enough for me to change my relationship with Chase. And I know that when social media came out, we were all euphoric and excited about the potential of it, come to realize some years later that the product was actually you and I just talked about that with Robin Hood, how Robin Hood makes money by each transaction. So therefore, if we do more transactions, they make more money. And so just follow the incentives. What is the motivation here? And why do they make their platform that way that they make it. So now, Chase, and maybe other big banks have decided to do this, too, I’m not sure about that. But they are allowing advertisers to really drill down and target their customers based on their spending. So for example, if I am out, and I am a dog, owner, or cat owner, and chase sees that I’m buying lots of cat food, maybe they will allow a pet insurance company to directly market to me. Or if I bought pet insurance, maybe they would then allow dog food companies to start marketing to me, you get the idea. So part of what makes social media and I guess just the internet, like Google ads, and Facebook ads so attractive is that it does give advertisers the ability to be laser laser focused, and how they are allocating their ad dollars. So how does Chase make money on this well, and also don’t know if this is good or bad, but Chase makes money based on whether or not the consumer the deposit or the customer of Chase, whether or not they take action and they buy the thing that has been advertised if they do, then chase is also compensated Obviously the company makes money because their product is sold and rather bought. But in this model, what Chase is decided to do how they’ve decided to move forward, they are only compensated if i Are you by. So, again, is that good or bad? Is any of this good or bad? I don’t know. For you answer before we think any further, I think it makes sense to try to or just to sort of think about, what’s the purpose of banks, what are banks around for. And if this is aligned with their purpose, or it’s running contrary to it, then I think that’ll help us to make a more informed decision about it. Because it might not be a bad thing at all, it might be the best thing that’s ever happened to humanity, this might be the best thing that’s ever happened to you, in the history of things that have happened to you, or could be just kind of blah, to be mad. Well, let’s figure it out. So banks been around for 1000s and 1000s of years. And for the most part, they’re about the same. The reasons for banking back in the day and where we are today. And certainly, the way that we buy things and the way that we transact, all these things have changed. But primarily banks are around for financial intermediation, which means they are the middle person between savers between borrowers, and money going out in the form of lending products, like loans, mortgages, credit lines, and things like that. So they are making bringing parties together. They are making payment services available through debit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, online platforms, mobile buying, both international and domestic. So makes that really, really easy. And that’s immensely valuable. There’s risk management that is going on there is liquidity management, banks play a crucial role in liquidity management, obviously, massive part of the backbone of our financial system, if not financial system itself. capital formation, so they facilitate formation by bringing savings into productive investing, they finance business growth, and that contributes to economic development, good stuff like that. credit creation through fractional fractional reserve banking, banks create credit by lending out a portion of the deposits that they receive. And if you remember the credit crisis that was in 2008, but also with Silicon Valley Bank not too long ago, this got called into question. So it’s always important that banks are regulating themselves but also that there are outside entities that are keeping an eye on them to so they don’t get too far over their skis. Today, banks offer wealth management, financial planning, stuff like that. Corporate Banking, so banks make lots of services available to companies and governments and other large institutions. So that’s, that’s a good thing. I mentioned the compliance piece. But overall, I mean, banks play a central role in our economy. They provide financial services, economic transactions, and it all helps with the growth and everything else. Something that, again, through understanding and realizing the value of our data that we didn’t really realize before. Is there old privacy. Like I don’t want everybody to have my information. And it seems like just kind of seems like every day, we’re literally about new data leaks. And Lord only knows what the future of that is going to look like what that’s going to look like in a day or week, a year, 10 years from now, who knows, but privacy plays a critical role in the world of banking, it safeguards aren’t important financial institution to keep their money safe. And without that, if we lose trust in the banking system, we are in big, big, big trouble right now. We are sort of in that place, not sort of in any place. We’re in a place where we are questioning everything, or questioning the way that we educate our kids and the way that we work. Do we do it in person? Or do we go into the office? Or is it all virtual? How we police our communities and how we treat everybody? It seems that we are asking lots of questions. And I’m all about asking questions. Questions like why is there a frog in my throat right now? But you know, it is what it is. So we’re going to keep moving forward.

There’s just so much going on. You have to know your customer. We have to keep people safe. We need to keep people’s information safe. And so I can’t even imagine how much money that banks invest in cybersecurity and things of that nature. But then we also need to know that banks are not doing anything that is shady or behind the scenes. or running contrary to what we want. So really important that customers understand that they are consenting to certain things. So how well do I understand the agreements that I’m signing with these companies? And the answer is probably very, very, very, very little. When was last time you read your user agreements of anything? I know I’m certainly really, really guilty of that is, I don’t know if I’ve ever actually read through an entire user agreement upfront, certainly after the fact I have once I become aware of certain things. But so it’s really a really important thing. Thanks, also verify our identities. We all have financial privacy rights. And banks need to maintain their reputation. They need to maintain the trust that they have with their clients. Some years ago, Wells Fargo was involved in a lot of major major scandals, with accounts being opened and people’s names. And I don’t want to go so far as to call it fraud. But there was certainly a lot of suspicious practices going on. And I’m not at all saying that this is what’s happening here. I’m just saying that we always need to keep an eye on everybody. Certainly, I need to keep an eye on myself. But we want to keep an eye on the big institutions that are so immensely powerful that have all the money. Like Blackrock Chase, there’s so many, there’s really not that many, but there’s a lot. So your privacy, how important is that to how important is it to you? Is that a big deal? Maybe this is just a great big, nothing burger? Maybe you say a big deal? Who cares? Who cares, George? Well, I think that a lot of people ought to we should or maybe we shouldn’t I, I just wanted to sort of let you know about something that was going on. But here’s here’s the next layer. From my perspective. Is this aligned with chases, Mission values, vision for the future? Is is allowing. It’s not that they’re selling our information, but they’re letting the fox inside the henhouse. They’re asking, they’re allowing the fox to guard the henhouse. We are they’re allowing advertisers to target based on their clients, their customers, their depositors, how they’re interacting with their money. So and then they’re profiting off effective marketing of products based on how I interact with my money. Okay, so before I make up my mind, we just we just discord just explored, really the purpose of banks, historically and today. Now is this aligned with JP with chases values, with what they’re trying to do? So from their website, they say who we are in a fast moving and increasingly complex global economy, our success depends on how faithfully we adhere to our core principles, delivering exceptional client service acting with integrity and responsibility, and supporting the growth of our employees. Okay, delivering exceptional service acting with integrity and responsibility. Is this acting with integrity and responsibility? I guess if they’re telling you, if they were just allowing advertisers to do this, and then making money off of it. I don’t think that that would be acting with integrity and responsibility at all. Certainly not integrity, but the that they do, which I have to assume that they are telling us, which is how we know that they’re doing this. Is that responsible? I don’t know the answer to that question. We are, of course, going through a time right now where people are spread that pretty thin and money is is tight. And I think that the more the better decisions we could be making with how we’re allocating money, the better off we’re going to be, I always feel that way. So is allowing these advertisers to target directly with their ideal user, their ideal client based on my potentially my most important relationship with a vendor, my bank. As I’m talking through it, feeling like this is mildly irresponsible. Because where do you rank? Who are the most important relationships, business partners that you have? Banks gotta be up there. Right, my doctor, I want to have great relationship with my doctor. I want to have a great relationship with people that interact with my kids certainly want to have a great relationship with the people that I interact financially. Financial Advisor, CPA, attorney, and my bank. Okay. So next they say they’re focused on the customer. Treat the customer the way that you want like to be treated and make sure you see everything from the customers eyes, pay, read customer complaints, be the customers advocate exceed expectations by listening to customers and anticipating their needs make it easy for them to do business with us, or trust by always focusing on customers best interests. Good customers good fair deal. offer high quality competitively priced products and services. Okay, consider the full range of products and services that will fit customer needs cross selling when appropriate, when appropriate, never lost short term profit considerations to get in the way of doing what’s right for our customer. User on products. When it comes to understanding the customer. Nothing beats being a customer, use our size as a strength to execute well at the local level, spend time in local markets to understand everything that customer provide the resources and 30 needed for decision making in the field, make good long term decisions that allow us to do well in the good times as well as withstanding tough times to be proud of what we’re doing. do right by the customer, and all of our interactions ensure our company will stand the test of time. All right. So is this move allowing advertisers to target specifically based on how their depositors and their customers and clients are spending interacting with their money? Is this aligned with their values that we just went through? So let’s go through a couple of be proud of what you’re doing. While only they can answer this question. I assume that they’ve weighed this and made the decision. do right by the customer. In all of our interactions, maybe maybe not. Certainly spamming them with stuff that’s not at all what they want or germane to who they are. That would not be that’s, that’s that’s not good. But do I need more ads? Do I need to be served up ads on everything that I go to? So I guess I’m gonna go back to this. The similarity between my relationship with my doctor, I want 100%. I don’t want my doctor to use my medical information. I don’t want my doctor to allow advertisers to use and target me based on my medical history. I don’t want that. So why would I want advertisers to target me based on my financial history? What do you think about that? Right, and never allow short term profit considerations to get in the way of doing what’s right for the customer? I’m unclear about this one, they have plenty of money. So I don’t think that this is a short term decision that they’re making. But I’m not sure exceed expectations by listening to customers and anticipating their needs, making it easy for them to do business with us. But they’re most certainly doing this. They’re not listening, per se. But they are certainly watching or they are without question watching us on this one. Okay. That anticipating our needs, they know kind of what we need. All right, our interest by always focusing on customers best interest, high quality customers will grow along with a company or interest by always focusing on customers best interest? I don’t think so. I don’t think that that’s true at all. My best interest right now is not to buy additional stuff, my best interest. And when I say my I’m speaking for working class Americans. And I do not think that my best interest at this time is consuming anything more. Gift customers a good fair deal. offer high quality competitively priced products, maybe, maybe that’s true. Consider the full range of products and services that will fit customer needs cross selling when appropriate. When appropriate, I guess they feel like a lot of things are appropriate, because this is the mother of all cross selling. This is just the mother of all cross selling. You’re not just selling other products, the bank, you’re selling and getting compensated on a world of products, all of them. So I don’t think that that I think that they’re missing on that. So why would they do this? Is to increase safety and privacy? Certainly not. Certainly not as dominant make money. Well, yeah, they are. Why would they do this? I do not see. I see more negatives than I see positives. But perhaps somebody can educate me and coach me up on this

so interesting. And of course, I could be totally wrong. And once again, it could just be yucking everybody’s Young. Fears back. Chase bought a restaurant, a restaurant, like a review company that also owned Zagat says the GATS or whatever and I think that the thought was that they want to bring special special opportunities and experiences to their customers. And that’s, I think that that’s kind of cool. So I don’t know, maybe this is the same. And they do get cashback on the stuff that they buy as through through Chase. So I guess that those are positives. So while they’re making money, when you buy what they’re serving up to you, maybe I’m just one of those, maybe this is just one of those win wins. So they’re offering you things that they know that you want, you buy them, they make a little bit of money, you get what you want. You decide you decide what you think. Just wanted to bring a little bit of awareness to you. Little Karen, little Karen, thanks so much for taking the time to write. super grateful. We’d love to hear back answer my questions ahead for you little Karen. So many questions. One final thought as always, never going to be the any anybody more interested in your financial success than you are? So act accordingly.

 

 

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