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I got an unexpected vacation from the universe of BigMortgage (the subject of my December 20 post). It came in a call from an officer at my small local bank, which has branches in only a few counties in northern NJ. He’d tagged my account to follow up on an overdraft protection application I’d made and, when it hadn’t attached to my account on the day he expected, he’d looked into it. He was calling to tell me that my original application was one of the documents that had gone missing during a recent move in the administrative office. He actually said the words “I apologize,” on behalf of himself and the bank, and asked me to come in and sign a replacement original.

A financial institution not only owning up to a document loss, but alerting me to it, apologizing for it and taking immediate action to rectify it? I knew what I had to do.

When I appeared in the lobby, he recognized me by the sound of my voice. The new document took very little time. I said how he’d handled this was an example of why it’s important to do business with a local bank. He started a vague spiel on the bank’s commitment to being local, so I brought my appreciation into something more specific. First I told him a client was being so mistreated by BigMortgage that we’d decided local banks are the only way to go for a mortgage, even if it costs a little more. Then I said, “I hope you’re allowed to accept this” and handed him a small bag of homemade buttercrunch (like a Heath Bar) I’d tucked into my purse for exactly this purpose.

I felt a huge wave of energy come across the desk, as if he wanted to fling himself at me in a huge, long hug. Which was just what I felt like doing.

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