Irony. A noun.

Defined by the “American Heritage College Dictionary” as “incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.”

Leave it to my friends at Chase to serve up another softball for me to hit out of the column-writing park.

A few weeks ago I jumped on the “Chase has the worst customer service on the planet bandwagon” after no one at the ginormous financial company could answer a few simple questions about why the credit limit on my Visa card had been reduced.

Imagine my surprise when an envelope from “Chase Business Card” arrived on my desk last week. Obviously no one at the bank communicates with one another — but, hey, I already knew that.

Irony. A noun.

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“The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.”

Here’s how the letter began:

“You are invited to experience the power of a business card that grants you access to a higher level of rewards, privileges and flexibility on your spending. Your current status entitles you access to one of Chase’s most select products — the Chase Business Card with Premier Cash Rebates.”

My “current status,” hmmm, that would be a Visa cardholder whom the bank deemed to be such a diabolical credit risk that my personal credit line was reduced.

So, Chase is a smart enough financial institution to determine that I’m a less than stellar credit risk in my personal life, but not smart enough to determine that I don’t own a business. (And we’re still wondering how the banks got themselves into trouble by writing too many sub-prime loans?)

Irony. A noun.

“A literary style employing irony for humorous or rhetorical effect.”

That’s it. Perhaps after my not-so-pleasant experience with Chase, the company decided to have a bit of fun at my expense.


I’m banking (yes, I used that word on purpose) that Chase is a dysfunctional behemoth of a financial institution, with so many people and so many departments, that nobody has any clue what anyone else is doing, nobody knows who is minding the store and nobody really cares — as long as they can jack up interest rates, charge exorbitant fees and hide behind their proprietary decision-making models.

Which makes it a bit easier to understand now why Chase had to be bailed out by the government. What’s difficult to understand is why the feds would toss a ton of money at such a schizophrenic operation.

On second thought, that’s not really difficult to understand. The federal government quite often wastes taxpayer money on frivolous endeavors.

But back to my favorite bank.

I called Mary Jane Rogers, who oversees public relations for J.P. Morgan Chase.

She admitted that there was “some confusion on our end,” but assured me that the folks at Chase do talk to each other, “all day, every day.”

“Business card operations are separate from personal credit card operations,” she said. “It doesn’t sound like we did a great job of coordinating.”

Irony. A noun.

“An occurrence, result or circumstance notable for such incongruity.”

So, once again, Mary Jane was polite and helpful, but still couldn’t get me the answers that I wanted.

Like, does Chase even bother to check to see if someone is a business owner before sending a business credit card solicitation?

Or, why am I a good business credit risk, despite my lack of ownership, but a lousy personal credit risk, despite my obviously being a person?

Or, what kinda discombobulated proprietary algorithm or matrix is Chase using to make decisions these days?

I know I’ll never get the answers, but I’d be willing to bet that this isn’t my last Chase-related column.

Mike Boyd is editor of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at or 329-5206.