So, I had a long couple of talks today with Jimmy Laguna from the Executive Services department at JP Morgan Chase in Houston. I learned a lot.
First off, he said that I was given misinformation, that they know that there’s no such thing as a Letter of Instruction from the Texas Bar Association. As a result of my situation, he said that all relevant procedures have been changed and branch managers have been notified of the changes to avoid the same misinformation from causing this issue again.
Second, he said that Chase is all about customer service and he regrets what happened between me and Ms. Morena. He didn’t really want to talk much about this topic nor did I really force the issue.
Third, after I asked very specifically, he stated the reason he got involved was because of the media exposure. I, of course, asked what would have happened were I not to have involved the media. He, after a trying to avoid the question, said that it’s likely this account would have just been held forever by Chase on the books. Interesting. (I have an upcoming post that does some back-of-the-envelope math on this little scenario… Millions of dollars are at stake from Chase’s inaction.)
Fourth, I finally coaxed out what seems to be the root issue; that Chase does not consider the IOLTA account part of Maggie’s Estate and, thus, I have no legal rights to it. To cross that legal chasm, I needed to produce an official document that said otherwise. The Letters of Administration, since it does not specifically call out the IOLTA account, will not suffice. A transcript of the court proceedings wherein we discuss the IOLTA account would not suffice either, which is strange to me. Thus, I sent him over the inventory of Maggie’s estate that I presented to and which was subsequently approved by the court. He said he’d forward that to his attorneys. I asked him if these were the same attorneys that demanded I produce a Letter of Instruction from the Bar Association, a document that Chase Bank now even admits doesn’t exist? Cuz apparently they ain’t to good with, ya know, reality. He said (and I quote) “No, these are the REAL attorneys. I have plenty of them now paying attention to this.” Heh. “REAL” attorneys. Someone just got burned.
Fifth, he said that they would accept the check they offered to write as a deposit into a new account as Chase Bank. I told him that I would certainly NOT be opening an account at Chase Bank and I find it difficult to believe that any other bank would accept a Payee line as they are offering. He offered to call my bank (Wells Fargo) and verify that they would accept it as a deposit into my wife’s Estate account. He couldn’t get ahold of the branch manager but will keep trying. I will, of course, verify anything he claims with my own phone call. By their own admitance, Chase isn’t so good about handing out accurate information.
I pressed very hard about the following items, none of which were really fully resolved in my mind:
– Specifically, how have procedures changed so that when someone else in my situation shows up, their issues will be dealt with politely, expediently and without irrational demands? His answer: “Procedures have been changed.”
– How often does this happen? His answer: “Extremely rarely. First I’ve ever seen.”
– What would the average citizen do if they were in my shoes to get this problem resolved? “His answer: “Call us, the Executive Services folks.”
So, a good strong step forward thanks to all the attention that was shined on this matter. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone involved!
Now let’s see how far we get from here!