Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two Slaps in the Face

I was the first to admit that all the money I owe is nothing but my fault by signing loans and credit cards that charged me ridiculous interest rates. I was not forced into any of those.
However, I was recently commenting with an online friend that the banks make it too easy for a person to fall into this hole because they are so willing to put a credit card in people with not so good credit history. Like me!
I had been careful until now about naming names but I got slapped twice in recent days so the gloves are off.
About three months ago, I went to Banco Ficohsa to ask for a personal loan to consolidate my debts. They asked me for my salary info, and all my debt info. They confirmed that at the credit bureau and denied me a loan because I had too much debt for the salary I earn. It's hard to listen to those words and to know that the person telling them now knows you are up to your neck in debt.
The slap came over about a month ago when a sales rep from Banco Ficohsa called me to tell me the "good news" that I was approved.... for a credit card! I told them that they were probably wrong since I had been denied a loan and I found it reasonable that they denied it since I had so much debt. The sales rep said that I should accept the offer anyway. Just to test them I said "sure go ahead and run a credit check on me".
Some days passed and I thought I had been turned down. But to my amazement a couple of weeks ago a man came over to my office to deliver my brand new credit card with a $7000 limit! What a nerve! I received it and the next day went over to the bank to have it cancelled. The customer service lady was in all ways trying to have me keep the card but I told her I wanted a loan and not a card because of the interest rates. She eventually accepted my card back and destroyed it. That means I'm no good for a 28% loan but i'm good for a %60 loan, huh?
The second slap came with Banco Promerica. That's the card that I haven't yet put up in numbers. I haven't because after missing several payments I got into a payment schedule with them with the assumption that my card was canceled and I was just paying the balance. I even read the agreement in which it states that one missed payment will allow them to get me to pay by legal means.
Well I was working last week and I got a call on my cell from a happy sales rep telling my that due to my Super Premia card I was being offered a Premia card with a similar $6000 limit. Unfortunately I was in a room with other people and couldn't ask the sales rep how they had the nerve to offer me a credit card when I was summoned by them to get a payment schedule arranged for my credit card debt. This offer I turned down right over the phone and when asked for a reason for turning down "this unique and exceptional opportunity" I just said "yes thank you but no".
I wonder if they either keep poor records of their customers credit behaviour or if sales rep are so eager to dish out card that they don't care who they offer them to.
No wonder the sub-prime crisis hit people. If I had been so much in debt and with the experience I now have I probably would have started using both cards the next day they would have arrived and had been deeper in debt once the fees and interest charge would have started rolling in.
Well, at least this blog is free.

1 comment:

La Gringa said...

I'm glad that you are finally seeing how evil these banks are. I've read that they pass out credit cards to university students with no jobs. Hah! Who is going to pay those bills? A degree is no guarantee of a job in Honduras.

I don't understand what is behind all of this, do you? It wasn't that long ago that a credit card was hard to get in Honduras, was it? Do the banks have excess funds because of money laundering? I just don't get it.

Anyway, I'm so sorry for all that you are going through. You've learned a hard lesson.