LOS ANGELES — Chase Bank has reportedly sent out letters to hundreds of porn stars notifying them that their accounts would be closed on May 11. Teagan Presley confirmed to XBIZ that her personal account was one of the ones shut down.
“I got a letter and it was like please cancel all transactions, please fix your automatic pay account and make sure everything’s taken care of by May 11,” Presley told XBIZ. “I called them and they told me that because I am, I guess, public and am recognizable in the adult business, they’re closing my account. Even though I don’t use my account, it’s my personal account that I’ve had since I was 18, when it was Washington Mutual before Chase bought them out.”
The letters succinctly informs the recipient of the impending closure without citing specific reasons.
“We recently reviewed your account and determined that we will be closing it on May 11, 2014,” the letter reads. “Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.”
Then, continuing in a more “compassionate” vein, “We want you to have enough time to complete pending transactions and open an account at another bank.”
And yet, when Presley went to Bank of America to open up a new account, she was summarily turned away.
Presley said she did not use her Chase account for adult-related purchases, only for groceries, rent and utility payments and her childrens’ gymnastics lessons. Sometimes she would deposit checks from strip clubs, Fleshlight and other adult companies.
“I can understand if I had some checks that bounced or if I wrote checks that bounced, or anything like that, or I was charging stuff to a lot of adult companies, but I just don’t have anything like that on my account,” Presley added.
Rising starlet Dakota Skye tweeted today, “#Chase has fucked with people before with other issues. Should not get away with shit like this,” reiterating the ire expressed by many on the Twittersphere after the news broke.
Adult industry attorney Michael Fattorosi told XBIZ that Chase and other banks have “notoriously closed adult accounts or people in the industry’s accounts, but nothing like this.”
“Throughout my practice I’ve had clients that have had their bank accounts closed, once the bank recognizes or determines that they’re in the adult industry. I’ve seen that on numerous occasions,” he said. “What I’ve never seen is a bank taking a position and sending out mass letters.”
Fattorosi noted that it is yet unclear, however, how many people’s accounts were actually shut down.
Whether legal recourse for those whose accounts were nixed is plausible — and, if so, which path is optimal — remains unclear, given that the situation is novel and that banks generally have the prerogative to do business with who they choose (yes, that often means flagrant discrimination).
Fattorosi plans to do more case study research before he makes a judgment call, explaining “Sometimes there are banking laws that are different than we would normally expect.”
The recent news has unearthed some of Chase’s not-so-secret dirty laundry: Last year a lawsuit was filed against JPMorgan Chase by Marc Greenberg, founder of the soft porn studio MRG Entertainment, for allegedly violating fair lending laws by refusing to underwrite a loan for “moral” reasons.
Chanel Preston also faced a similar predicament last year when City National Bank shut down her business account due to “compliance issues,” without any notification whatsoever.
Chase did not return calls for comment at time of post.