JPMorgan Chase in Christmas tree controversy


It's December and time for a bit of Christmas controversy. So, it seems that JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) has a policy that requires bank branches to use only company-supplied holiday season decorations. It takes this seriously.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Antonio Morales, owner of Bellagio Day Spa in Southlake, Texas, "assembled and decorated a 9-foot-tall tree in the lobby of the Chase Bank branch at 1700 E. Southlake Boulevard as a favor to the branch manager, who is one of his clients." The tree remained in the lobby from the Monday before Thanksgiving until Tuesday. On Wednesday, Morales was told the bank decided the decorative masterpiece had to go. He was later shown an email from JPMorgan Chase saying the tree had to be removed because some people were offended by it.

JPMorgan Chase understandably wants to ensure that decorations are "something everyone is comfortable with, regardless of how they celebrate the season." Most people get that. But SiliconAlleyInsider notes that the bank may be seen as somewhat hypocritical, as the bank's New York headquarters had a Christmas tree and a Menorah on display in the lobby last year.

This really is a tempest in a paper eggnog cup, but perhaps local Chase branches ought to be given the right to go with a Menorah and a tree if they so choose. There is no reason to be seen as the Grinch and there's nothing like a little Hanu-mas or Christmas-kah spirit to get us through the industry's ills.