Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Credit Where Credit Is Due

I went to do MG a favor today. She had to leave town this morning, and I had an early afternoon doctor’s appointment, so I had time. What did I do? I closed an old savings account that she had at a local credit union (not the credit union we use for most of our banking). It’s one we haven’t used for a while, and they’ve started charging us an “inactive account” fee of $1 per month.

It seemed easy enough to do. The credit union was only a mile or so from the doctor’s office, so I just headed over there after I got done. I walked in and said to the teller, “Hi, I’d like to close an account.”

You’d have thought I’d said that I was thinking about cutting off one of my legs or something. She didn’t seem to take it very well and was filled with concern, possibly thinking me mentally unbalanced or something slightly worse.

Teller (with great concern etched on her face): Oh, sir, are you sure you really want to do that?
Big Guy: Um, yes, I really do.
T (with steadily increasing concern): Is there some sort of problem?
BG: Well, no. Not really. It’s just that we haven’t actively used that account for a while and we’re getting charged for that now.
T: But what will you do for a savings account if you close this one?
BG: Well, I actually have our main accounts at another place in Oak Ridge. It’s a lot more convenient for me there.
T: But don’t you feel that you need to have this account as well?
BG: Uh, no, not really. My wife only had this account as a place to keep money from her home side business when she still had one. But that was a while ago, and it really isn’t that convenient for us to have this account here anymore.
[Conversation carries on for a little bit longer, with the Big Guy afraid that she is considering an intervention of some sort, until she finally relents…somewhat.]T: OK, well, I guess that’s it then. You’ll have to write and bring in a letter to the credit union stating that you want the account closed, and it will of course have to be signed and dated.
BG: Do you have a blank piece of paper I could use?

[Big Guy writing quickly]Dear Credit Union, Please allow me to close my account as of October 15, 2007. Thank you, …

BG: Um, do you have a small knife I could use?
T: Excuse me?
BG: Well, you do want this signed in blood, right?

*OK, I will admit that I did not actually have that last little exchange with her, but I sure did imagine it.*

BG (handing over hastily scrawled and barely legible letter): OK, here’s my letter.
T (with a slight scowl): Oh. OK. Let me take this back to the manager so she can check for any outstanding loans or credit card balances.
BG: I can assure you that there aren’t any, but I understand that you have to do it anyway.
T: This will just take a minute.
[BG checks his watch, as he always does when someone says “This will just take a minute”…]

[Time passes. People back in the office area scurry around regarding my ‘letter’ and other paperwork.]

[More time passes. More people scurry.]

[Just under 15 minutes have gone by when…]
T: OK. The manager has gone over everything and your account is now closed. Thank you for your past business and remember to keep us in mind if you need any banking services in the future.

[Big Guy stands there for a moment looking at her.]

[Teller looks back at Big Guy.]

BG: Um, aren’t you forgetting…
T: Oh! I guess you want your money, huh?
BG: Yeah, I guess that would be a good idea.

[Teller counts out money and hands it to the Big Guy.]

T: OK, thanks again for your business, and remember…
BG: Right, if I need any…
[Big Guy allows door to close behind him, cutting off any further exchange.]

All this hassle and time over a lousy $39.63?

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