I’ve been working as a consultant for the past 9 years. In banking for 18. It’s safe to say that I’ve seen some stuff. And as you can imagine, being a workout officer during the great recession meant that I saw more bad than good. Today, I’m going to talk about the worst things I’ve seen happen to borrowers after they were unable to make payments on their SBA loans.
- Bank Accounts Swept – This has only happened once (that I can recall) in my 9 years of doing this. I was working with a husband and wife client, trying our best to work something out. By the time they came to me, the bank had already started taking legal action against them (they had waited to long to work out an OIC). This meant that it was already a very tenuous situation. The bank was not willing to halt the litigation, so we were forced to put together an OIC, submit it and hope for the best. We submitted, and waited. Then one night, I got a frantic phone call from the bank. Without a warning, or even a decision on the OIC, the bank had swept $50K from their bank account.
- Home Foreclosures – I don’t have one particular story, but being forced to sell someone’s home at auction always made me queasy. I know it was part of the deal when they pledged their home, but I always felt like it was wrong to kick people out of their home. All in the name of money. I get it. This is how banks make (and avoid losing) money, but I honestly just didn’t think it’s the right way to treat people. This is at least part of the reason why I decided to switch teams. Helping people is much better than going after them.
- Cry Me a River – I once had the wife of a borrower call and beg me not to foreclose on their hotel. She wasn’t trying to manipulate me. It was nothing but raw emotion and a sincere desire to save the business that they had poured their heart and soul. I had to be the emotionless banker. Stoically, I kept telling her that there was nothing I could do. And that was the truth. I had my marching orders. They had not paid for a long time, and we had no other options. I left the office, feeling terrible. Through no fault of their own, the economy killed their business, and I had to be the jerk to take it away from them.
- The Darkest Threat – The craziest borrower I had when I was a banker was a guy who would not accept the realities of his situation. He’d get me on the phone and try to make small talk, I supposed in attempt to curry favor. But he was weird, and very bad at pretending to be normal. Finally, after weeks of getting several phone calls per day, I got an email from him (got several of those per day) that said something to the effect of “maybe I’ll just find a dark room and kill myself”. Not surprisingly, that shook me. This guy was going to kill himself over a financial matter, and I had a front row seat. We went ahead with the foreclosure on his business, and despite his threats, he didn’t kill himself. Or at least as far as I knew.