Wall St watchdog bars Ohio broker who used clients' credit card perks

June 5 (Reuters) - A bank branch-based broker for a unit of JP Morgan has been permanently barred from the securities industry for using a customer's credit card reward points for his own personal accounts, according to Wall Street's industry-funded watchdog.

Clifford Staley, who was licensed through JP Morgan Securities LLC in Wooster, Ohio, agreed to the ban in a settlement with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) that was posted on the regulator's database this week. Staley neither admitted nor denied FINRA's findings.

Efforts to reach Staley on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Brokers who work at bank branches are typically licensed to sell mutual funds, including those issued by the bank's affiliated securities brokerage, and certain types of insurance products. Bank-based brokers promote their services to retail banking customers.

Staley worked at a Canton, Ohio-based Chase banking branch of JP Morgan Chase & Co, and received his securities industry license in May 2013, according to a regulatory filing.

Staley transferred customers' credit card rewards points to his personal credit card account without their permission, FINRA said in an order dated Monday. He then redeemed the points for cash, which he credited to his personal checking account and credit card balance, FINRA said. It is unclear how much money or clients were involved.

Chase fired Staley in November 2013, after discovering the fraud. The firm reimbursed the customers, FINRA said. A spokeswoman for JP Morgan Chase & Co did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for JP Morgan declined to immediately comment.

Staley has since been working as a "financial sales consultant" at a Canton, Ohio-based branch of PNC Bank, a unit of PNC Financial Services Group Inc, according to his LinkedIn profile. A PNC spokeswoman said the bank does not comment on personnel issues.

(Editing by Jonathan Oatis)