I have worked for banks, and then I have worked for Banks. Two years ago, my husband was sued by his “big bank” and felt deeply betrayed by years of customer loyalty built on personal relationships with the tellers. I tried to tell him not to take it personally, but his heart was broken. Here’s the run down in the background:
1. All businesses have a rule of decision making called the “business judgment rule” (BJR). The business judgment rule recognizes that there are roughly a bizzillion (legal term there) ways to run a business, and the way I may run my business is not the way you will run yours. The BJR balances the duties of the board between running a business and maximizing profits to the shareholders. It’s basically a good faith rule.
2. Bank directors make decisions such as settlement authority, whether to pursue attorneys fees in collections actions, and pass that down to the minions. The directors make these decisions based on 50 states’ worth of collection actions and the overall health of the bank subject to the BJR. There is almost never (in my experience 2 times total) any discretionary authority beyond that which was already given to the minions. Make no mistake: A collections attorney is a minion in the gears of Banks.
3. When an attorney for a debtor says “would they take what I’m offering or have my client file bankruptcy and get nothing” the Bank has already answered that question. No means no, and the floodgates of offers below authority will not open. You will have more luck trying to part the waters of the Red Sea with that argument.
4. State courts are not bankruptcy courts. As much compassion as state court judges have, their hands are tied to apply the law. However, that said, most creditor attorneys are overworked but have authority to grant a continuance, and the Banks often view Collections at Christmas as a PR problem.
5. Christmas is followed by Tax Refund Time, and settlement offers are usually very very goood during this time.
My advice? The Banks don’t want to look like Scrooge, but they are instiutionally incapable of Christmas. Bump that hearing date by mutual agreement to the New Year.