I’m Breaking Up With JPMorgan Chase – You Should Too

A few weeks ago, POW asked you to dig into this report card and see how your bank stacks up when it comes to financing dirty energy. Thirty-five international banks have not only been sustaining their investments and support in fossil fuel companies, but actively EXPANDING the fossil fuel industry with their investments. In the four years since crafting the Paris Climate Agreement, these 35 banks have invested more than $2.7 TRILLION in the fossil fuel sector.

And who tops the list? Chase bank. By A LOT. In the last three years, JPMorgan Chase has lent more than $195 BILLION to oil and gas companies. Wells Fargo comes in next at $151 billion, followed by Citibank at $129 billion and Bank of America at $106 billion. 

If we’re trying to move to a renewable energy future (and we are), this is absolutely NOT the way to do it. 

POW is making the switch to Bank of the West for this very reason. 

And I am too.

How to Get Started Making the Switch

Part of the reason I’ve spent the last few years dragging my feet on switching banks is that I thought the process was going to be incredibly difficult. I imagined it would take hours sitting in over-air-conditioned offices at Chase, arguing and fighting to move my money, then even more hours at the new bank to make sure everything was under control. I figured there would be a charge or some financial burden to the decision. I worried about recurring payments, taxes, stimulus checks, security deposits and all of the other money still floating out in the world possibly still tied to Chase. And as soon as we went into quarantine, I thought, well there’s just no way this can all be done through a computer so it’s going to have to wait some more. 

After doing a little research though, it started to look like the process might be simpler than I thought. So I took the first step––opening a bank account with Bank of the West––and to show just how easy it was, we made a quick video of my experience.

But the process isn’t over yet. Now that I have my new bank account opened, I’m moving my direct deposits there, my handful of recurring payments and redirecting payment apps like Venmo and PayPal to that account. Once I’ve gone a few months and it looks like I haven’t forgotten about anything, I’ll move the rest of my money to Bank of the West and officially close down my Chase account. 

There’s no charge for opening my new account, closing my old account or redirecting payments, so the switch costs me nothing. All in, it took me about 15 minutes to open my new account, 15 minutes to make a list of the recurring payments and direct deposits I need to move and I’m guessing it will take another 15 minutes or so to change those online. Then I can officially close down my Chase account. 

Which is to say, it’s only going to take about an hour of work to get my money out of the fossil fuel industry and into something I can support. 

But this small action is about a whole lot more than keeping my meager checking account from contributing to climate change. Stopping this money pipeline is one of the fastest ways to reduce emissions at the scale necessary to address the climate crisis. And let me tell you, Chase cares. A few days after transferring just $250 to my new Bank of the West account (and, creepily,  just as I sat down to write this blog) my local Chase branch called me up to “make sure everything was okay” and to ensure that I was “enjoying my banking experience” with them. They followed up with an email just 10 minutes later checking in again.  

If this is their response for one person (for just $250!) imagine the impact thousands of us could have taking this first step.

How Can You Help? 

1. Make the switch! Cut ties with your current bank and find a new one to switch to. 

2. Take action: Let’s call on these banks to stop funding climate change. Help us flood the inboxes of Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Bank of America and let them know it’s time to stop the money pipeline.