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Branson's Great Southern Bank: A "Loan Standards" Case Study

     Finally, on November 14, 2011, my assigned Great Southern Bank, "Senior Loan Officer", Tenya Trivitt,  advised that, again, after the Bank's "Underwriting Department" had reviewed the additional documentation requested, the Bank would still not commit to fund my "Home Equity Loan" request.  Certainly, here in the Ozarks, we are Capitalist at heart and honor a private companies right to set whatever policies they choose, so long as the policy is legal.  As such Great Southern Bank was perfectly entitled in choosing not to make me a "Home Equity Loan".  Further, the Bank should be under no obligation to publicize their policies regarding "Loan Standards", if to not do so is in their best interest.       However, what should be so, in today's " digitally enhanced" free market economy, is that responsible consumers should make "open source" their good/bad encounters with businesses offering goods/services in their communities.       Angie's List is a notable ungrade from the tainted Better Business Bureau, and Facebook/Twitter offer enormeous potential for leveling the Business/Consumer playing field, but no channel will protect consumers who don't speak up and out.   It is with this motivate that I below share the essential elements of my unsuccessful request to obtain a $50,000 Home Equity Loan from Great Southern Bank:

  1. Location:  Branson, Missouri
  2. Years Home Owned:  5
  3. Owner Occupied:  Yes
  4. Purchase Price:  $180,000 (+$30,000 in upgrades)
  5. Present Mortgage:  None (paid cash)
  6. My Age:  58
  7. My Credit Score: 708
  8. My Assets:  $600,000  (Home plus "free & clear Rental Property & Equity in ALF Business)
  9. My Liabilities:  $28,000 (credit card debt/to have been retired with proceeds)
  10. My Income:  Year 2009/$65,000    Year 2010/$33000   Year 2011/$46000
  11. My Profession  Own/Operate an Assisted Living Facility in Branson
  12. My Education  BA, University of Kansas
  13. My Health:  Excellent
  14. My Civil Record:  Clear
  15. Reason for Loan:  Pay "High Interest Rate Credit Card Debt"/"Create Business Cash  Reserve" 
  16. Length of having been a Great Southern Bank Customer:  5 years
  17. Deposits to Great Southern Bank while a customer: $2,000,000 (including construction funding)
  18. Contingent Liabilities & Guarantees:  $6000  (sons car loan)

     OK, so why did the well paid Great Southern Bank "underwriter" reject the loan?  Because I had too much Credit Card Debt and because, although my prior year income was supported by Tax Returns, my 2011 year to date income was only supported by "unaudited financial statements" evidencing that I had received $46,000 in LLC Member Distributions for which I did not yet have K-1 Form evidence, nor had I completed my 2011 Tax Returns, neither of which could be prepared by my accountant until after December 31, 2011.   

     The logic seems absurd, but then again, I am not a well paid and experienced Loan Underwriter.  What I do know is that I should find a new bank, and that others within the Branson Community should consider that Great Southern Bank may well not have any strategic interest in Branson except to generate the greatest deposit balances with the least loan exposure to the local community.  Perhaps we can change this view by "making apparent policies public".  In fairness, Tenya Trivitt's supervisor, Mary Hogue, who represented that she was responsible for 26 Banks, in three states, did respond by phone to my complain.  She said that she would "look into it".  Isn't that what they always tell Anderson Cooper!


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