Monday, January 29, 2018

Letter of Credit

The last time I was asked to provide a Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency was in connection with a mortgage application - and that was a very long time ago. My recollection is that it pertained to the acquisition of an office building over thirty years ago.  While I won't pretend that I never lowered myself to groveling for money from every one of the five major chartered banks of Canada (with each of whom for example I once juggled - contemporaneously no less - an active Line of Credit), the indignity of applying for the money was short-lived.  After the "facility" was in place it was then only necessary to "do nothing" every three or five years (depending on the original term of the loan) in order to renew the obligation at current rates.  The similarity of loan applications to rectal examinations is not altogether unfounded.  Low-level bank employees are effectively gilded with seeming limitless authority to make the most intrusive unilateral personal enquiries.  When I was young and ambitious I had no reluctance about bending over so to speak.  I assuaged the humiliation by taking a perverse delight in trumpeting that banks needed me to advance their objectives.  Nor was it beneath me to slander and shame them if they were at all hesitant about bank-rolling what I proposed (such as occured following the melt-down of the early '90s).  I can however gleefully report that no bank ever suffered the loss of even one cent as a result of our symbiotic alliances.

Notwithstanding that satisfactory summation of my banking experience and the related disclosure of my personal affairs, when I retired from the practice of law and assumed the life of an indolent philosopher my affection for financial intimacy waned commensurately.  Not owing anyone money is highly relieving!  Aside from bestowing a sentiment of individual authenticity it also enables one to look condescendingly upon the commercial aspirations of retailers generally.  Having no debt means that one has the one thing they all want - money!  Once released from the traditional vernacular of buyer/seller relationship (which is to say, putting oneself beyond the mutual submission to the exigencies of lenders), the person having the cash is in an enviable position, dare I say highly creditable!

That is until one encounters those from whom no possibility of amortized obligation is workable.  In those circumstances (where secured credit is not part of the vernacular) the only viable legitimacy is cash-on-hand. And that means proving you've got it.  This in turn opens one to all sorts of unwelcome examination, the most egregious element of which is not knowing who will become privy to the details.  At least lenders and borrowers are in bed together so even the most rapacious behaviour is ultimately forgiveable. But where the enquiry is remote and strictly clinical a love affair of any description is beyond contemplation.  It is a one-sided affection.

Today marked a flurry of activity which is so mockingly characteristic of the punishment one must endure when having previously imagined impatiently that things would never happen. Throughout the day we were bludgeoned with communications from all and more whom we desired to contact.  Yes, it was a Monday morning; and, granted, a Monday sufficiently removed from the New Year to invite some earnest application.  But we weren't anticipating that they would all come out of the woodwork at the same time.  The most fruitful correspondence was with an agent connected to the centre of our current attention.  Her initial and subsequent communications throughout the day kept us occupied until late in the evening.  But there were others less absorbing, people whom we had for the most part abandoned in the wake of long-delayed response (which significantly was succeeded by excuses and apologies).  It was as though they had all suddenly regrouped and resolved to enflame their commercial purpose.

The upshot is that we are now positioned to consummate our own business objectives.  I don't mind saying that the convenience and utility of modern technology in this pursuit was splendid.  As usual it is the banks who are the drag on the proceedings.  Wouldn't you know!  It is for that reason that tomorrow we must oblige ourselves to attend at a local post office to forward a cheque.  Imagine!  You would think they'd have figured out an easier way of getting rid of cash!

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