Since I’ve been on the other side of the proverbial fence for 9 years now, I thought I would take a moment to reminisce about the good old days. And by good old days, I mean the a job I hated with a passion. A job I hated so much that on one particularly bad morning, I got off the highway and couldn’t bring myself to head towards that sad, depressing office. So I got back on the highway heading in the other direction and went home. I hated it THAT much. Let me tell you why. FYI – This article is an attempt to explain why most workout officers move slower than you think they should when it comes to performing most tasks.
9am – I’d walk in, boot up my computer and take a look at the stack of files on my desk that I’d meant to get to for weeks, sometimes even months, on end. These orphan files were the ones that we really couldn’t do anything with. The loan was super delinquent, we had little or no collateral, and the guarantors had no personal income or assets (that we knew about). In other words, these files were taking a back seat to the meatier, juicier files. In order of hierarchy, loans with commercial real estate that contained equity were the priority, since litigation was likely to yield a decent recovery.
9:15am – Go to the cafeteria and get breakfast. Eat it incredibly slowly.
10am – Staff meeting to go over our portfolio. Update the bosses about the files I had actually worked on, then fudge the others (things like “waiting on attorney”, “demand letter sent”, or “awaiting SBA response” were all popular stall tactics)
11am – Work on useless report, where we arbitrarily assigned ratings to each loan. Nobody full understood how to do it, yet the company relied on these reports.
12:30pm – My most productive part of the day. LUNCH! I’d even work overtime if I had to!
1:45pm – Finally get around to doing the thing I was supposed to be, in theory anyway, spending my time doing: handling workouts. I’d generate demand letters, talk to borrowers about why they can’t pay, write up proposals for modifications and Offer In Compromises, and talk to bank attorneys about the status of ongoing cases.
3pm – Snack and water break!
3:35pm – Come back to my desk to see 3 more files on my desk. Keep in mind this was 2009, at the height of the financial collapse, so the delinquency rate was higher than a college kid on spring break. Start leafing through the file, attempting to get a handle on the specifics of each loan.
5pm – Run out the door like an Olympic sprinter. On my drive home, I’d dream about the day when I could finally be free of the corporate shackles that weighed so heavy upon me. For those who care, that dream became a reality in January 2011, when I told banks once and for all that “it’s not you, it’s me!”. But like with most breakups, the truth is that it actually was them.
So the next time you try to get a hold of your SBA workout officer and you don’t hear back, it’s very possible that they are on their 3pm water and snack break!