Go To The Source

Last week, a day before we were supposed to close on our new house, I got caught in a flurry of emails and phone calls regarding a snag in our financial documentation. The loan underwriter needed proof of a cleared check. The problem was that we had closed that checking account months ago in North Carolina, so our records were no longer available online, which is where we conducted all of our transactions.

I called the toll-free national number for the bank and explained the situation, but was told I needed to go to a local branch (we don’t have one, which is why we had to switch banks in the first place!) or I could fax a request and they could send a copy of the cancelled check by mail in 5-7 business days (which wouldn’t help since we were supposed to close the next day!).

While the mortgage lender was considering whether they could bypass this requirement (they determined they could not), I finally decided to call our old local branch and kindly plead for help. The first banker told me the same story as the representative at the national call center but agreed to let me speak to the branch manager. Within minutes, he had pulled up our account and entire history, found the transaction in question, and emailed me a PDF copy of the cancelled check. I immediately forwarded it to the mortgage loan officer, who hand-delivered it to the underwriter. Problem solved, approval granted, closing successfully completed the next day, huge sigh of relief uttered from all parties.

The moral of the story: Whenever possible, go to the source. Whether that’s at the bottom or the top of the org chart, keep digging (or climbing) until you have exhausted all options. If you first receive a “no,” explore alternatives and keep knocking until you get an answer.

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