It was Monday afternoon. I was playing with the kids, as my job description dictates that I should. The house phone rang.
Actually that’s not quite accurate – the copy/fax machine rang – which has no handset to answer. I lost the last remaining house phone weeks ago.
So instead of getting up to answer the missing phone, I waited for the answering machine to pick up so that I could determine whether I needed to call them back, all while wondering to myself as to the possible reason that I even have a house line since the lost handset’s battery lasts all of 2.65 seconds and, as such, I never attempt to use it even when it isn’t lost.
A deep, serious voice began reverberating throughout the room.
“Hello, this is Henry from [Your] Bank. I need to speak to you about your accounts with us. Here is my direct number – please call me as soon as you have the chance.”
I despise calls like that, as I can feel anxiety over approximately 617.5 potential crises per minute.
Has someone hacked my account? Stolen all my money? Left my checks for dead?
Did I overdraft? Make a mistake?
Did they read my blog post about their teller love notes? Are they finally calling to get my input on whether they should dot their i’s with a heart or a flower?
Are they following up to make sure that my husband got that curly-cued lovey-dove postcard in the mail from the female teller last week? Because he did. What is UP with that??
Is this about me complaining about one of their policies on Twitter a couple months ago?
Has the IRS frozen my assets? Launched an investigation?
IS THAT THE FBI DRIVING UP THE STREET RIGHT NOW???
What went wrong? WHAT DID I DO???
So I dropped my kids like last week’s sippy cup and ran to find my cell phone.
I listened to the chilling message again and hurriedly jotted down Henry’s number.
I called him back.
A kinder, perkier, female teller (who smelt of mailing postcards to other women’s husbands) answered the call – clearly Henry lied about this being his direct number.
She included the branch location in her greeting – not even a branch I visit, but it was the one my husband frequents.
(WHAT DID HE DO????)
I asked for Henry. She put me on hold. I sat waiting, feeling my heart jumping inside my ribcage as my toddler jumped in synchronization on the outside of the same poor ribs.
As I waited, I continued my rundown of every possible choose-your-own-adventure ending to this call.
This WAS the branch I complained about to their Twitter Person. I bet Henry is now calling to let me have it for tattling on his branch.
I hate confrontation. Maybe I should hang up now.
But it was too late. Henry picked up the line with his deep, rich, smoky voice.
“This is Henry.”
“Uh hi, this is Rachel. You just called me?”
“Oh yes, Rachel. Thank you for calling me back. How are you today?”
“Fine…for the moment.”
“I called to find out if you have ever considered having a personal relationship with a banker.”
Then I lied.
“Um, I’m sorry. My phone cut out. What did you say?”
“I called to see if you wanted to have a personal relationship with me. As your banker.”
“Well, um, what exactly did you have in mind?”
”I just wanted to let you know that I am here for you and Christopher. If you ever need a line of credit, or a loan, or any money…”
“We don’t need any of that, but thank you.”
“We have some great interest rates right now if you decide that you do.”
“Thank you Henry, have a nice afternoon.”
I hung up, leaving Henry free to solicit more married women. And I sat there, stunned.
Did he really just ask me that? With those words? In that order?
Yes, yes he did.
And then I did what any red-blooded American would do: I turned to Facebook and Twitter to make sure I wasn’t overreacting.
Facebook validated me,
Twitter helped me nail down the important questions to answer,
And Twitter gave me the opportunity to identify a potential Henry.
(If ever one needed to argue the importance – nay, the vitality of Social Media in the Modern World, awkward banking situations prove it every time.)
So I finally sat down to properly answer Henry. After all, I definitely left him without a clear answer, and I’d hate for him to be sitting by the phone, plucking petals off of a Tulip while whimpering to himself, “She loves me, she loves me not…”
So here’s my response, Henry. If you’re out there.
20 thoughts on “The Banker and I.”
Ooohhhh…..I have had same phone call from our bank that, ironically, we do have a personal banker with! Tell me that isn’t creepy. The call came from a different branch though which made me very suspicious as to why this person would be in our business accounts….so I called our personal banker and asked. Our personal banker (who we only have because we have business accounts in this bank) was appalled. He flagged our accounts so that no one would solicit us in the future. When he used those words, I felt like someone on the street corner, you know. So I got a little incensed and asked what was happening, he explained that new account reps were probably going thru accounts, identifying which ones would be good to sell a service to. That makes you feel good about your bank, huh? Not at all.
But I love this post….and I know some people in the industry that need to read it!
Wow. Yes, perhaps they should throw out the terms “personal relationship” and “solicitation” – ESPECIALLY when used interchangeably.
your twitter conversations made me smile :)
Thanks! Twitter is an amazing place to multiply laughter.
Your take on this hilarious, but really that sort of “solicitation” shouldn’t be allowed – preexisting business relationship or not.
I’d be tempted to write the bank manager
I think that Henry might have been the bank manager – at least at that branch. And it has already been established that the CEO is a tween girl, sooo….I’m out of luck.
Too funny! Thanks for sharing this with us.
Now I just want to know which bank!
::zooms away on green cruiser bike:: La, la la la la, la la la la,
I wanted to say so bad in that post,
“At least Henry didn’t say ‘Hop On!’l
…But only my southern reader base would get it, and the rest would think I was being crass. Or should I say, JUST being crass.
Props to Luckie for the great branding, ya know? We would understand here in Florida! (:
Wow, you have the strangest bank! I am definitely thinking your hypothesis of a 14 year old CEO is making more and more sense! Lol. :)
Henry should have just stuck with drawing a little heart on your deposit receipt. That always works for me.
Agreed. I would even take a “Henry <3's Rachel" doodle over a phone call.
Wow…just wow. That is really weird! You thought process between the message and actually getting to talk to him is hysterical though. It sounds EXACTLY like what would be going through my head at the exact moment!
And NOW I know what the curlz font was for and WHY Jamie approved. HAHA!
Yes, no one can build anxiety about returning a phone call better than me.
AHA!! So THAT’S what you needed Curlz for!
I’m going to get my Barry White CD ready for such a call.
Oh yes. Make sure to ask him if he will be paying for dinner, too.
My husband is a loan officer at a bank and a couple of years ago the powers that be changed his title to “Relationship Manager”! I asked if he had changed jobs and was now counseling? Totally lame, just be honest already. Quit trying to fluff up emotions that aren’t real. If he’s managing the relationship, who’s watching the money? The government?!?! Yeah, that’s working out well.
I agree with you, Henry needs a new line.
I think some motivational speaker went to all of the banks and told them that “people want a relationship with their banker! A PERSONAL relationship! Like in the 1950’s!!”
And, while that might be true, trying to fabricate that out of thin air comes across extremely awkward.