Of loans and favors…

What does a relationship of fifteen years mean to you? Trust, loyalty and respect?

If you are a bank, apparently none of the above. In fact, it may not mean anything much at all.

If you have been following by blog, you would know that I was in the market for a new car, and I found one as well. Now, it’s time to do something that I haven’t done in a long time. Take a loan.

Banks operate in funny ways. First – unless you have a ton of money lying in their accounts, earning a measly 0.005% interest, they don’t have a relationship manager, or anyone you can speak with, except a virtual assistant who is phonier than Siri.

Second, their ads all show happy people at the branch, all waiting to welcome you with a bunch of roses, but in reality, it takes a hell lot of time to get to a person.

And when you finally do, you have the chance to indulge in a “sometimes” hilarious, sometimes infuriating conversation. Mine went something like this…

Bank (B) – Hi! Tell me.

Me (M) – I came here to check on the status of my auto loan.

You will have to contact the sales – we do not have that info here.

Ok, never mind…Since I came all the way here…

(interrupting) – which is your nearest branch?

Well, actually I stay in _____.

Ah then why did you come all the way here? You should go to the nearest branch.

Err…ok. But there may not be a next time, since I came here to speak about closing my account. I have been a customer of the bank for 15 years, closed three car loans and one personal loan, without any delinquency, and now, when I apply for a loan, you guys are declining it. What sense does it make?

Bank policy blah blah..

Well, your bank didn’t think twice about increasing my credit card limit to 80k dirhams. That is unsecured credit. That too without me asking for it. Here, am asking for a loan for a new car, 20% of which I pay, and you have a lein on the car – in short, secured loan, with a healthy bank balance, and a 15-year history with you guys…

Bank policy blah blah..

So give me a reason that I should continue to bank with you…

Bank policy blah blah..

Ok we are getting nowhere. This makes no sense – you think I am creditworthy for an unsecured credit card, but not for a secured car loan. I don’t see any reason why I should keep money in this bank.

Well, why don’t you take a personal loan from us, and use that cash to pay for the car?

!!! That is an even riskier product for you guys. Why would you not just give me a car loan instead??

Bank policy blah blah..In fact we are employees of the bank, but sometimes even our loans may get rejected.


When did keeping money with someone become so difficult that instead of them thanking you for your business, they end up making you beg for services, on which they would earn money?

When did a checklist become more important than a relationship?

When did banks stop listening to their customers and go with algorithms instead?

Banking is based on trust. People keep their hard-earned money with banks, rather than under the mattress, because they believe in the bank. One cannot take such trust for granted, or worse-still, treat the customer as if he or she doesn’t matter. Especially not when they are giving you business. Unless you intend to give loans for free, which of course you don’t.

Doesn’t this also matter in every relationship? Trust, not taking for granted and not doing anyone any favors? How do we move from being there for one another, to becoming transactional? Be it a friendship, or a marriage, or any relationship you can think of…

Banks are (still) run by humans after all. And so human biases, reactions, and behavior does come into the equation. At the end of it all, I too was angry because of my own emotions – how dare they refuse to give me a loan in spite me being such a loyal customer?

In times like these, it is prudent to sleep over it. Literally. Just go to bed, and think about it only after you wake the next day. In all probability, you would have a) calmed down and realized that it isn’t worth losing your sleep over it and b) found a solution, which in my case, was to call up the showroom and ask for another bank.

Sometimes, the battle is not worth the effort. Its good to leave it as it is, find a way ahead, and keep walking. I know humans thrive on a sense of fairness, but life will be fair to you, and everyone else, at the end of it.

I will find out if that happens sooner…or later. Stay tuned!