I mentioned in a previous post that my wife and I are in the process of buying a house. I plan to write more about it in the future, but at the moment, I wanted to share some thoughts on the mortgage process in Dramatic form. So, for Friday fun, in honor of the inimitable SEK, I will do my best to, er, imitate him:

SQUARELY walks up to the soda machine at Costco, checks his wallet, and realizes he has no cash. Sighing, he walks out, only to notice a branch of Friendly Bank™ outside. “Aha!” says SQUARELY, and strolls in, quickly securing a face-to-face with a beaming young MEMBER SERVICES PROFESSIONAL (let’s call her “MISPY”).

SQUARELY: I’d like to borrow a dollar, please!

MISPY: Why, certainly, sir! We here at Friendly Bank™ believe in customer service, so we’ll do that in a jif! We just need to know why you’re borrowing the dollar!

SQUARELY: Well, I want to buy a soda.

MISPY: Terrific! Then we just need proof of cola!

SQUARELY: …excuse me?

MISPY: We just need proof that the cola you are attempting to purchase does, in fact, exist, and we’ll be able to get this process moving!

SQUARELY: There’s soda everywhere! [points to the vending machine in the bank] There’s some right there!

MISPY: [still smiling] Unfortunately, that doesn’t constitute proof of cola – for all we know, that machine is empty! We need notarized visual proof of a specific cola you intend to buy.

SQUARELY: [stunned silence]

MISPY: [Infinitely patient smiling]

SQUARELY: …*grumble* I’ll be right back.


SQUARELY returns to Friendly Bank™ with an envelope of documents. MISPY is waiting, still smiling, and beckons him over.

SQUARELY: Well, it took a while, but I managed to get the 7-11 down the block to reserve a specific Coke Zero for me, and got a notary to notarize this photograph and sworn statement from the manager of the store and two witnesses. It really seems unnecessary…

MISPY: [dripping with empathy] I know, but that’s just the process! But now that you have that, we can go ahead and get you that dollar!

SQUARELY: Well, actually, that one costs $1.75, because that’s just the way of things, but I’m getting so thirsty I’ll gladly borrow that much.

MISPY: [smiling and typing] That’s certainly OK, sir! We are glad to loan you $1.75!

SQUARELY: Well, that’s a relief…

MISPY: Isn’t it! Well, rates have been going up a bit this morning, sadly, so I can’t offer you what I would have offered you had you come in originally with proof of cola…


MISPY: But we can lock you in at a pretty good rate…here we go!

MISPY prints out a sheet of paper and hands it to SQUARELY.

SQUARELY: WTF!? This says I’ll owe you guys $25!

MISPY: That’s correct! Of course, that includes origination fees, cola-loan insurance, credit report fees, certification of unshakenness, data acquisition on the solvency of the Coca-Cola corporation, an on-site representative to oversee closing, certain taxes…

SQUARELY: For a cola!?

MISPY: [with all the empathy in the world] I know, but that’s just the process! Do remember this is all tax-deductible, though!

SQUARELY: *grumbles*

MISPY: Now, that also includes a balloon payment and certain other adjustments because of the debt-to-equity ratio of the loan…

SQUARELY: It’s a dollar!

MISPY: $1.75.

SQUARELY: *grumbles*

MISPY:  But we can get that down if you want to buy off some points.

SQUARELY: Huh? But the whole reason I’m here is because I don’t have any money today?

MISPY: Hmmm…well, we do have an alternative collateral program which allows borrowers to post non-liquid assets. Do you have anything of value to offer?

SQUARELY sees MISPY’s eyes oh-so-briefly dart down towards his hands, and fingers his wedding ring.

SQUARELY: …oh heeeeeeell no.

MISPY: [totally innocent] What?

SQUARELY: [glares]

MISPY: [smiles]

SQUARELY: *grumbles* [thinks for a while] Well, I do have my lucky Rey Ordóñez rookie card…

MISPY: Perfect! We’ll get our assessor on that right away. Now, do you have proof of ownership?

SQUARELY: [starting to get really steamed] It’s right here! It’s in my pocket!

MISPY: Sorry, but in order to accept that as collateral or down payment we need to ensure that you own the card free and clear. Do you have a receipt of payment?

SQUARELY: I’ve had it since 1995!

MISPY: [smiles]

SQUARELY: I was 9!

MISPY: [smiles]


MISPY: Oh, dear. Well, that’s going to be an issue. Do you have any checking account or credit card statements recording the purchase and proof of income?

SQUARELY: Proof of income?

MISPY: Oh, yes! We need to ensure that the card wasn’t purchased with borrowed funds so we can certify your debt-equity and debt-income ratios.

SQUARELY: The soda costs a dollar!

MISPY: $1.75.

SQUARELY: [Starting to get really steamed] I was 9. The money was my allowance.

MISPY: Well, if your parents don’t expect restitution, we’ll simply need them to provide your W-2s or 1099s…


MISPY: [still smiling] Sir there is no need for any concern, we will get this all wrapped up ASAP! If we can just get your parents to sign a notarized gift letter, as well as some documentation from Topps or the relevant authorized Topps dealer…


MISPY: I know, but that’s just the process!

Seemingly out of nowhere BRUNO IKSIL walks in and rudely sits on the desk between SQUARELY and MISPY, crushing the documents SQUARELY has thus far accumulated and produced.

BRUNO: ‘Ey, toots, I was thinking I might wager a substantial share of the capital of the world’s largest bank on an insane highly-leveraged undiversified bet on a complex financial product likely to implode. Whaddya say?

MISPY: Certainly! Go right ahead! [waves him into to the bank vault, where BRUNO begins shoving gold bars into his pants with one hand while frantically tapping on his platinum-encased BlackBerry with the other]

SQUARELY: [explodes]

Aaaaaaaand SCENE.