Five years ago, my mother passed away, and left me with a little surprise, more of a “Pandora’s Box” to be exact. As my mother got on in age, she began to lose her mental capabilities. She just couldn’t figure things out quite like she used to. She entrusted others to “think for her”. She had been banking at the same location for over 40 years. A little branch located at the corner of Blackstone & Ashlan, in Fresno, CA, had changed banks several times, but my mother kept her accounts there, regardless of what bank took over. Finally, Citibank settled in. My mother had had the same personal banker for many years, and trusted the woman. “Frannie”, an older woman, seemed to be the kind of person my mother could trust to lead her in the right direction, financially. I never cared much for Frannie, as she was always a little “cold” towards me.
But it wasn’t until my mother died that I found out what Frannie’s character was truly like. Once I cancelled my mother’s checking account, I started getting calls from a collections agency, saying that the loan payment had not been received.
My mother, having grown up during the depression, really knew how to handle money, to make it go as far as you could stretch a penny. I couldn’t imagine why she’d have taken out a loan. To make a long story short, she’d been talked into a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) loan, but I couldn’t imagine what for! When I went into the branch to ask Frannie about it, she told me that it was “Private” and that I would “Just have to pay it off”.
Now, it seems to me, if a person is told they must pay something off, they have a right to know what it’s about. It was obvious Frannie didn’t want me to know.
Come to find out, if I did not pay it off, I would lose my house (the house I inherited upon my mother’s death). I still didn’t know why my mother had taken out a loan in the first place. It was a 30-year-loan, for $10,000, with a 3-year prepayment penalty, at a rate of interest of 10.75%!!!!
It wasn’t until I posted on the Citibank US Facebook page that I actually got some answers. The Client Liason in New York sent me a letter telling me that my mother allegedly had been overdrawn on her checking account. and the interest charge was 26.25%! The overdraft had grown to over $4,500 before my mother was alerted, and her banker, Frannie, felt it would be best for my mother to take out this HELOC loan, to pay off Citibank! My mother had over $9,000 in her savings account. Why not draw from that? And…why not alert me, since my name was also on the checking account? I had no idea my mother was ever overdrawn, as she had worked as a bookkeeper at one time, and could “balance her checkbook to the penny”.
I protested this loan, and was put in contact with an Operations Supervisor Manager Senior Vice President by the name of Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers was very curt with me over the phone, and in fact, sounded like a sassy middle-school-aged boy.
After spinning my wheels for several years, I finally got a meeting with Mr. Rogers, who was so inept, he did not even know the address of the building where we were to have the meeting, in spite of the fact it was on his business card!!!
Luckily for me, I’d discovered his Facebook page just a day or two before the meeting, and had made copies of it. It really made him look like an ass, in my opinion.
At the meeting (I took a friend along, as a witness), Mr. Rogers turned red in the face, sweated, sputtered, and lied. I knew it would do no good to argue with him, as he just talked louder over me whenever I spoke.
I got my revenge, however, when I sent letters of complaint to his superiors here in Fresno, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and New York, and enclosed a copy of his Facebook page for each one to see.
Have you ever heard the legal term “The thing speaks for itself”? Well, Mr. Rogers’ Facebook page indeed spoke for itself. He listed his occupation as “Ops Guy, Citibank, I help run the joint”. Education: “School of life, living, working.” USMC: “Taking names, kicking ass.” and last but not least, Music: “Everything but crap like jazz”.
Oh, did I happen to mention that I’m 5’6″, and Mr. Rogers was shorter than me?
I’m still trying to get back the $18,000 plus I feel that Citibank owes me….