Getting a loan from a bank is a problem as old as money.
You want money, after all, and banks have it. Technically, the bank is hoping to give you a loan – that’s kind of why they exist – but unfortunately, they won’t just hand out cash to anyone.
So if you’re looking to get a loan, or think you may need to in the future, that’s where it may pay off to study how people do it on TV. Honestly, some characters on TV really could teach a seminar on how to get a loan. I realize the "lessons" we can learn aren't exactly groundbreaking, but if you do read these over, you might avoid some boneheaded errors.
Apply for a loan.
OK, very basic advice, but we have to start somewhere, and if you need money, and you're trying to think of how you can get it, you might think about borrowing from your family or friends or going to a payday loan store (if at all possible, don't) or any number of ideas. But there's always the option of first trying to see if you can get a loan from a bank.
In the Three’s Company episode, “Jack Gets His Own Restaurant,” Jack Tripper needs money open his own bistro, and he figures he needs $3,000.
But Jack is despondent. “Where am I gonna get $3,000?” he wonders.
“From the bank,” Larry, his pal, suggests.
“Oh, forget it, Larry,” Jack says. “Banks have guards, and alarms, and little cameras that take your picture.”
“I’m talking about borrowing the money,” Larry says.
Ah, yes. Genius.
That said, the first part of this episode really is a lesson in what not to do when applying for a bank loan.
Don’t withdraw your money from your bank before asking for a loan.
This is Jack’s critical error, and it's kind of a common one. At least when I've interviewed mortgage and loan experts for various articles in the past, they're always warning consumers not to go on a spending spree before your mortgage or a loan is approved. You might think you have good reasons -- you want to buy furniture to fill up the house you're going to live in, for instance. But lenders get really squeamish when they see people spending a lot of money, or not having much money, right before handing them a big check.
In this particular case, Jack hands over his life savings to his roommate, Janet, instructing her to buy and pick up supplies for the restaurant.
“Not much of a life, was it?” Janet half-jokes, when looking at the amount of funds she has to work with.
Then the ever-sensible Janet asks, “Jack, are you sure we shouldn’t wait until you get the loan before I spend money?”
“I’ve waited all my life for this. I’m not waiting any longer,” Jack says.
Another lousy error in judgment. I think we’ve all seen that play out in people’s lives before. We get impatient and feel like we’re entitled to some good fortune because it feels like it’s time, and, well... often, timing is everything.
Later, when Jack meets with the loan officer, things don’t go too well. For starters, he tries to impress the loan officer with a lot of banking jargon (not knowing yet that she’s the loan officer but assuming she’s simply a beautiful customer at the bank).
“I found myself suddenly in a positive cash flow position, and I thought I'd get my equity on the upside,” a cocky Jack says. “You know, I don't wanna let my net get too gross.”
He tells the woman that “that’s just banker’s mumbo jumbo. They all talk like that here.”
The lady allows Jack to look a little more ridiculous, and in fact, he asks her out, and that’s about the moment she informs him who she is – Louise Prescott, the loan officer.
Well, it goes downhill from there.
Jack tells Louise a little about himself. We learn that he was named after one of his seafaring ancestors, “Tripper the Skipper.”
We also hear about his “business” background, and there isn't much.
“Do you have any experience running a restaurant?” Louise wants to know.
“Uh, well, I was head chef at Angelino's for the past year,” Jack says.
“Have you ever managed a restaurant?”
“Well, I managed to get a job at Angelino's,” Jack says, laughing.
“That would be no management experience,” Louise says.
Jack has no house or car, we learn, and in general, no collateral, and so the loan officer doesn't have much to work with. But when Jack mentions that he has been a customer at the bank for five years, Ms. Prescott seems slightly more encouraged. But then she looks to see what’s in his account -- $5.95.
“I’ll say this for you. You’ve got nerve,” Louise says.
“Asking you for a loan?”
“Asking me for a date. I'm sorry, Mr. Tripper, but, you see, this bank can not give money to someone who can't pay it back.”
Jack’s response: “Well, I think that's pretty selfish of you.”
That can help anyone get a loan. When Samantha Stephens of Bewitched goes to the bank to try and get a loan for some home improvements, in “A Gazebo Never Forgets,” she doesn’t need to use magic charms, or even her own considerable charm, to get the money. As soon as she mentions where her husband is employed, the advertising agency McMann and Tate, it all comes together.
“Why, my brother’s firm is one of their biggest accounts,” the loan officer says. After learning that they both know Darrin’s boss, Larry Tate, the manager is even more enthusiastic.
“Well, we can move this loan right along. There’ll just be this little application for you to fill in… a mere formality, I assure you. If my brother can trust your husband’s firm with a million-dollar account, I guess we can risk a few bob on him.”
Unfortunately, there’s a loan investigator who needs to check up on the Stephens, and he winds up at their home, and naturally sees a polka dotted elephant, and the usual Bewitched insanity ensues. But the part of the episode where Samantha actually applies for the loan – that’s pretty realistic -- and she does, in the end, get the loan.
So it definitely helps to have references you can give to the bank, and to be involved in the community, and to have a well-paying job as Darrin does.
Have your financials in order.
In I Dream of Jeannie, there’s an episode called “Jeannie Breaks the Bank,” in which astronaut Tony Nelson wants to get a bank loan, so he can split the cost of a sail boat with his pal, Roger.
He almost manages to get the loan. He has $600 in a Christmas account instead of, well, $1,000, the amount he wants to borrow. The loan manager, Mr. Wilfred, is frankly kind of a jerk. Tony is an astronaut and is clearly a good credit risk. But Mr. Wilfred won’t have any of it. Still, just from watching the scene, I think if Tony had gone in a little more prepared, I think he would have gotten the loan.
And, sure, if the scriptwriters had been on Tony’s side. That, too, would have helped.
I have to say, it’s interesting how Tony winds up in the bank in the first place. He is astonished to discover that Jeannie has been spending a small fortune at the corner grocer where he has a charge account. He thought Jeannie was whipping up the food through her magic, and he was completely fine with that.
But the idea of her conjuring up a sailing vessel for him and Roger – that, he isn’t happy with because part of the fun of sailing, he feels, will be by working hard and earning the money for his boat.
Which makes sense, except that, again, he was perfectly fine with his genie giving him free groceries. But I guess I shouldn’t be overthinking a TV show about a genie.
Your lender needs the confidence that you will pay the loan back.
That’s the bottom line for all lenders, on TV or in real life.
The Office (2005-2013) filmed a series of webisodes (they only ran online, hence the name, webisodes) back in 2008, centering around the office worker Kevin Malone, who wanted to get a business loan to pay off his gambling debts. As Kevin saw it, he could ask for a business loan for an ice cream store – but he would actually just buy an ice cream cart, so he wouldn’t be really lying, especially if he didn’t specify that he wouldn’t be running his business in a building. Then the extra money that didn't go to his ice cream company would go to pay off his gambling debts.
In the webisode, “Malone’s Cones,” Kevin talks with the bank loan manager (Jeremy Rowley). The meeting isn't exactly a success, and it’s because Kevin, who is a bit slow witted, doesn’t exactly offer any reassurance that he knows what he is doing.
After seeing Kevin's list of flavors – Fudge the Magic Dragon sounds good – the manager asks, “What are your ingredients?”
Kevin says, “Ice cream.”
The manager then realizes he may not be talking to a guy who is playing with a full deck.
“And you would make the ice cream yourself?” the loan manager asks.
“We would buy the ice cream in the store,” Kevin says. Then he realizes the loan officer isn't impressed and adds, clearly hoping he has stumbled onto the correct answer: "Or we would make it ourselves."
“Do you know how to make ice cream?” the manager asks.
“No,” Kevin says.
Moments later, the manager talks directly to the camera, discussing Kevin’s loan application.
“This is going in recycling,” the manager says, reeling from the stupidity he has just experienced. “So… if he's lucky, we will shred it first, too, to protect his social security number.”
So how to get a loan from the bank? Proceed carefully. If you have references, a solid job or a really smart plan designed to pay back the loan, with any luck, maybe you'll find it as easy to get a loan as Samantha Stephens did, and you'll have that money show up in your bank account. Almost like magic.
Where you can watch these shows (at the time of this writing) to get tips for getting a loan from the bank: Three's Company is airing on Antenna TV. That is also where you can find Bewitched, and select episodes from the series about everybody's favorite witch can sometimes be found on streaming channels like TubiTV.com and the Roku Channel, which is where some episodes of I Dream of Jeannie can be found. The Office is on Peacock TV.
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