Common Irritations with Big Banks
It doesn’t matter whether you are a real estate agent, a home buyer, a home seller, or a mortgagee, almost everyone has had or read some sort of negative story about a nightmare experienced at the hands of one of the major lending institutions.
Most experiences aren’t nearly as bad as the experience of a borrower who, making mortgage payments in a timely manner, woke up as a victim of foreclosure. The majority of complaints seem to be about long hold times, inefficiency, poor processing, unqualified employees, and inability to obtain accurate information.
You may be thinking that the easiest and most obvious solution to this problem is to deposit your money or obtain your mortgage from a small local lender. But, even if you do that, who is to say that they won’t transfer the servicing or sell your mortgage to a large lending institution? So, chances are that no matter what you do (unless your money is in your mattress), you will be forced to deal with one of the major lending institutions at some point in your life.
4 Ways to Overcome Frustration with the Big Banks
- Be cognizant of gatekeepers. While it is possible that you are calling about something simple (such as a fax number, a mailing address, or a loan balance), often times the first tier of customer service—the individuals that answer the telephone—do not have the knowledge necessary to address your concern, yet they answer your question anyway (often incorrectly). Consider whether your question or concern should be answered by a gatekeeper or escalated to a particular department head or manager and make the appropriate request to be allowed through the gate.
- Never call on Mondays. If you are frustrated by long hold times, my best advice to you is to avoid calling lending institutions on Mondays. Everyone that received mail over the weekend and has concerns makes those calls on Mondays. The phone lines are usually extra busy on Mondays.
- Take names and contact information. Always take note of the name of the person that assisted you and his or her contact information. Note the date and time that you spoke and the information that you gathered. In this way, if you have a concern that needs to be escalated to management, you can provide the information from your log. (Also, when a person knows that you have taken his or her name, s/he knows that this means accountability. Just asking for this information may compel the employee to do a slightly more diligent job in assisting you.)
- Follow up. If you are told that you will receive an email in two days or a letter in four days, and you do not, then you need to follow up. Don’t just wait patiently and expect that things will happen because they may not. Follow up the very day that you were supposed to receive the material, and (by all means), try not to follow up with the gatekeeper.
In order to overcome some of the frustrations experienced in dealing with lenders, you need to adhere to a “take no prisoners” philosophy. Literally, “take no prisoners” means killing the opposition, and I am not advocating that. What I mean is this: In order to deal with large institutions and their countless employees, you need to be persistent (almost ruthless) in your ability to obtain the answers that you desire.