Yes, I've been absent (except for sermons). No real excuses except the busy-ness of life, the finishing up of a large paper for my doctoral work, and the arrival of our delightful summer seminarian for several weeks of internship here.
But I've also been hip-deep in doing some stuff that came out of my week at CREDO, a week-long clergy wellness program that focuses on all aspects of wellness. One of the things we decided to do was to refinance our home, to pay off some student loans and get a good rate. I went back to the bank that employed me for over a decade - I tend to be loyal that way - and it started off smoothly.
Then suddenly we were in the land of "one more piece of paper." Every day I got a call from the woman who gathers the papers. She is not the one who has asked for the papers - that would be the underwriter - but she is the customer contact point, so she must bear the news. "They don't understand such-and-such (usually something related to the intricacies of clergy financial life, especially when both partners in a couple are clergy). Could you please send us a letter explaining such-and-such?" Each time the customer contact person calls, I say "Is this the last thing they need?" and she says, "It appears that way." It's like relying on the Magic Eight Ball...
I understand the abundance of caution that banks now exercise, given the fact that they all got in trouble for lending to anyone with a pulse in the boom years. But here's the deal: I was a good employee of this institution. In fact, I was a Senior Vice President there, no small potatoes, for 11 years, surviving three mergers. Our credit score is excellent. The loan-to-value ratio of this deal is less than 50%, so they have virtually no exposure should we default. Our combined incomes mean that the mortgage payment will be less than 25% of our take-home pay. I am a priest, which means that unless I embezzle the parish's funds (well nigh impossible to do with current business practices in our diocese) or become intimate with a parishioner or simply go bonkers, none of which are immediately in the offing, I have GREAT job security.
What's the net result of this? Although I will complete this transaction with them, since it is so far down the road to completion that it isn't worth it to go elsewhere now, I will never again use any of their products. I may, in fact, close my accounts with them, since the experience has left me with no residual loyalty to the bank.
Doesn't seem smart to aggravate the very customers you want to keep on board, but I might be missing something in all this...
In other news, I love my work, I haven't had to preside at a memorial service since December after one a month for 2.5 years, I have several baptisms and weddings queued up, and I got an A on that paper. So no more rant, just a prayer of thanksgiving for the fact that we have a roof over our heads, full employment in meaningful work, and the health is holding up. Thanks for putting up with the venting of spleen.
How's it going by you?
PS - ..and I just received another phone call asking for another two pieces of paper...grrr.