JPMorgan To Front Customers If Federal Shutdown Drags On

Play associated audio

JPMorgan Chase says it will cover Social Security and Welfare payments for its customers if the government goes into default or the shutdown continues.

If nothing else, it's good public relations for a company which hasn't had much lately.

The bank spent nearly 40 percent of the company's revenue over the last quarter — more than $9 billion — on legal expenses. Money paid to fight government investigations and on fines.

The Wall Street Journal reports JPMorgan's CEO Jamie Dimon is pledging to let customers draw on their accounts for free to cover Social Security and Welfare payments if the government is unable to send them starting later this month.

"It's a very smart idea by a bank that's being punished in the press," says consumer advocate Ed Mierzwinski of U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

JPMorgan would almost certainly get its money back once Congress comes to an agreement.

Even if there's no agreement, Alex Pollock of the American Enterprise Institute says it's unlikely the government would stop paying Social Security and Welfare. But he says it's reassuring for people who need that money.

"I guess it won't be necessary but you know whenever people are worried about contingencies, to have some kind of hedge or insurance is good," he says.

If it comes to it, JPMorgan Chase would temporarily lay out between $6 billion and $8 billion. Plus it would gain some good will.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Berlin Wall Brought To University Of Virginia With 'Kings Of Freedom'

A massive piece of the Berlin Wall was recently delivered to the campus of the University of Virginia, adorned with a famous mural by German graffiti artist Dennis Kaun.

NPR

Tasting With Our Eyes: Why Bright Blue Chicken Looks So Strange

The color of food can affect how we perceive its taste, and food companies aren't afraid to use that to their advantage. An artist tests perceptions by dousing familiar foods with unorthodox colors.
NPR

Is Obamacare A Success? We Might Not Know For A While

Fans and foes want to know whether the Affordable Care Act is meeting its goals. But, for good reasons, there are no clear answers yet.
WAMU 88.5

Capital Bikeshare Supplier Bought, Reopening Door To Expansion

Bixi, the company that supplies bicycles and bike stations to the Capital Bikeshare program, has been rescued from bankruptcy. But does that mean the bike sharing will resume expansion in our area?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.