The problems and tremendous cash needs of Countrywide (as a stockholder you might prefer the name “Countryslide”) made me reflect on my recent dealings with them and how a company that size could get themselves in such a predicament.
The $2 billion cash infusion by Bank of America seems to be gone and it appears that Countrywide is on the prowl for more money. Who knows what the story may be tomorrow.
As a borrower, I had a disagreement with Countrywide regarding my own mortgage. I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say that company computer generated letters generally do no solve issues. Neither do phone calls to known numbers of their alleged service department. Faxes to widely advertised numbers disappear in the digital waste basket.
If you ever had difficulties with your mortgage company, or are trying to resolve an issue, you may want to follow the route that I have taken over the past 30 years, which has never failed to get results. While I did not always get 100% satisfaction, I have come close in most cases.
I have found that it’s a useless and frustrating exercise to get anything accomplished via a company’s regular service department. There is no need to even bother since it appears to me that they employ and train people in problem avoidance, and I suspect that they pay bonuses to those reps who can get rid of a calling customer the fastest.
Here’s what I do: I find out who the President or CEO of the company is, and the location he works from. In the case of Countrywide it was easy since, as a public company, this information is readily available.
Without anger, I write a letter describing the problem and my attempts to solve it. I ask for his assistance in getting this issue resolved. I mail that to him as a certified letter (personal and confidential) with return receipt. Once I’ve done that, I sit back and watch what happens.
My theory is that the guy at the top did not there (in most cases) because he is incompetent. He got there because of his abilities, but he’s handicapped because he can’t instill his beliefs and desires to run a great company in the hundreds or thousands of people working for him.
When he gets a polite but firm customer letter requesting his help, he will not be a happy camper and immediate action will be the result. That usually takes the form of a high level assistant or other competent person contacting you by phone trying to resolve the issue on his behalf, which will happen with amazing speed and accuracy.
In my dealings with Countrywide, I sent 4 certified letters (couldn’t decide which one of the top dogs to contact first) and, within a few days, I was not only in direct contact with the personal assistant to the President, but also in possession of his personal phone and fax number.
Essentially, this is a game you have to play nowadays when dealing with any large company. Don’t get mad and frustrated; just get even by knowing you can come out on top by working the corporate food chain from the right angle.Contact Ulli