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A lender is an ‘it,’ not a ‘they’

By Gary M. Singer, Sun Sentinel –

For the first few months that I wrote this column, I would consistently hear from my editor that a bank is not a “they” but rather an “it.”

I would write something such as, “Call your lender and see if they will help you” and he would correct the sentence to “Call your lender and see if it will help you.” I finally caught on. But I notice that most of my clients refer to the bank as “they.” I wisely don’t say anything — I’m there to solve my clients’ issues, not to correct their grammar.

But what we say is an indication of what we think, and what we think determines how we approach the various problems that we all face from time to time. A bank is a thing — an inanimate set of policies and procedures created to provide value to its customers, who, in turn, help create profit for the business’ owners or shareholders. The bank doesn’t have feelings or emotions, but it does have goals. If you recognize this and act accordingly, you will find it much easier to get what you want from your bank.

For example, if a bank were a “they,” it might be concerned with all of the intimate details of the hardship that caused you to stop making your mortgage payments. But in reality, the bank primarily looks at your financial information to see if you fit into any of its programs that might lead to a loan modification or a short sale.

Many homeowners get frustrated with the lender as if it were a thinking, emotional individual. Yes, the bank is run by people, but they are employees who have to follow the bank’s policies. And those policies are set by executives who won’t ever see your file. That’s particularly true with large lenders.

You are much better off thinking of your lender as a machine — a computer that can offer you a solution only if you provide the necessary information in exactly the way it asks for it. Remember the old saying: You can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear. Likewise, you can solve your housing and lending problems more easily if you don’t think of your bank as something it isn’t.

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