Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Americans fall into two distinct categories today

"Those who remember how devastating the policies of Jimmy Carter were, and those who are about to find out." - Ron Hart

"It is a mere germ of an idea now. I need to let it bloom like a newly-released fart." - CherkyB

I was young (8-11), but I remember Carter. What I remember most was that we were too poor to buy any meat other than chicken, and my mother did not then and does not to this day believe in putting spice in food, so we had day after day after day of every conceivable recipe for dry, flavorless chicken. Plus, we had to drink KoolAid instead of Pepsi. That really hurt more than anything.

We didn't have to give up cable, though, cuz we never had cable to begin with.

I am, however, quite grateful that we always had a house, a car or two, three meals a day, and proper medical care. It is in that spirit that I have decided to try to restructure some of our finances now so that when the fiscal policies of the failed Obama presidency and those of his incompetent cronies at the Fed lead to the spiraling inflation that is inevitable when you decide to "stimulate" the economy by simply printing more money, I'll be somewhat insulated from it.

That, and my bank froze my HELOC. So no time like the present to lock in some low, low interest rates before they shoot up due to "punch drunk" fiscal policy.

On Friday, I had a little free time in the afternoon, so I printed up all my "here are my assets" documents (and, no, ladies that doesn't mean I photocopied my ass. I'm a man - I'm valued only for my money. I know that may seem foreign to you womens, but we men have to contend with this sexist attitude every day of our lives.), and shuttled off the one block to my local bank branch.

Now, I bank at one of your big-name banks. It also happens to be one of the roughly two big-name banks in the country that is not insolvent and does not need bail-out money. They're a well run bank, as far as I can tell. Plus, I like how they put a stagecoach on all their documents. That's cool. I checked out prior to heading out, and I found their rates on 30-yr fixed were quite competitive, so WTF, it's way easier to deal with just one bank for all your stuff. I'll pay 1/8% more for that.

Well, it was not to be. The mortgage guy was on vacation. Seriously? This is a bank that doesn't have a backup mortgage guy, so when he goes out of town for a week, you can't do any mortgages at all?

OK, I always forget that Fort TomCollins is a teeny tiny little place compared to the thriving metropolis of San Schmose. That's one of the main reasons we moved here, after all. So, note to self, before going to a bank, call ahead to make sure someone is working today. I'll file that along with the note to self that there is no reason to pay Fandango $1.50/ticket for online movie tickets, even if it's a popular movie, cuz it won't even be close to sold out if it isn't opening day.

Now, the weird thing was that they had 3 tellers at the bank (none with customers, cuz they have 5 drive-through lanes plus a drive-through ATM), and they almost had hysterics when they told me the mortgage guy would be back Monday and I said, "OK. I'll come back then." They were all, "Well, like, it it an emergency?" And I was all like, "No. I just wanted to refi while rates were low."
"Oh. Well don't you want his card?"

"No. Not really."

"But you can call him with any questions!"

"Isn't he on vacation?"

"Yes. But if it's an emergency, you can call him!"

"It's not an emergency. I'll just come back next week."

"At least take his card. Here. Take his card. You can call him."
I took the card to make them happy.

Then, I drove the 8 miles to the next branch over (which is right near my house, as opposed to right near work). This branch, as it turns out, doesn't even have its own mortgage guy, but instead uses the one from the next branch even farther south. But at least that guy wasn't supposed to be on vacation. The lady here took some info from me, looked at the rate I had, and said they could do much better than that. Then she tried to get me to open a savings account and convert my checking acount over to a more modern one (mine is "grandfathered") that is identical in every way to the one I have already except that they won't send me mini-scans of my cancelled checks with my statements because that's a service they just don't offer anymore.

"So, it's the same, except I don't get scans of my checks?"

"Right. But it would be a Colorado account instead of a California account."

"Does it matter what state my account was opened in?"


"So, it's the same, except I don't get scans of my checks?"


"So, it's actually worse than what I have?"

"Well, I guess you could say that. But it would be a Colorado account."

"Yes, well I'm not feeling compelled to sign up for something that's worse. Have you got anything that's better?"

"No. This is the closest we can get to what you have."

" do I get in touch with this mortgage guy? Is he at the Loverlyland branch now?"

"Let's call him!"
She called him at two different numbers and left messages for him to call me back. I went back to work.

Monday comes around - no call. Tuesday - no call. Wednesday, I finally have a free 90 minutes or so in the afternoon, so I whip out the card of the guy at the first branch near work and call him. Those tellers were right - I needed his card. He had time right then, so I zipped on over.

I locked in a rate that was 2.125% lower than I had, and he waved the 1/4 point I was supposed to pay to get that rate. Which means I got a rate 0.375% lower than said was possible at this bank, and that was for a 1/2 point loan. He's still screwing with my HELOC, cuz the rate I had on that was better than what they're offering no, so he's trying to get it unfrozen with a much lower limit (about 1/4 of the original - I used the HELOC as a bridge loan so I could buy this house before selling my old one).

But still, thanks to the motivation supplied by the failed Obama presidency, I'm going to save $300/month and have locked in a simply fahbulous rate on my mortgage.

1 comment:

country girl said...

You might be a tad too quick to denounce the Obama administration. Afterall, if it weren't for George W. Bush you wouldn't have that great mortgage rate.