Today's New York Times features a pricey, full-page ad by JP Morgan Chase on a new charitable project. "We believe it's important to listen to our customers and communities. That's why we created Community Giving and let the Facebook community vote on which local charities will receive $5 million in grants from Chase," the ad proclaims. JP Morgan Chase is one of the largest banks in America, and played a critical role in the 2008 financial crisis. It received $25 billion in bailout funds in 2008, enabling the company to get back on its feet and pay eye-popping bonuses to top executives in 2009. Five million is a small fraction of the $17 million the firm payed its CEO Jamie Dimon in stock bonuses in 2009. Amusingly, the ad capitalizes on the phrase "A New Way Forward for Giving," echoing the theme of the net-roots bank reform group A New Way Forward, who has been leading an Internet campaign to get consumers to "break up" with the big banks like JP Morgan and start accounts at small, local community banks. Stay tuned for many more "greedwashing" campaigns like this as the big banks try to convince the American public that their practices are changing, even while they spend millions lobbying against financial reform, continue to raise bank fees and aggressively foreclose on American families.
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