Pay Off

I had not been in a Chase bank for several years and was surprised to be welcomed by a young lady. I showed her our latest mortgage bill. She pointed to a teller. "Make your monthly payment there, Jaron." "Okay. I'm going to pay it all off.

I had not been in a Chase bank for several years and was surprised to be welcomed by a young lady.


I showed her our latest mortgage bill.

She pointed to a teller. “Make your monthly payment there, Jaron.”

“Okay. I’m going to pay it all off.”

The young lady gasped. “Really? All of it?”

“That way we don’t have to pay 7 percent on our balance anymore.”

“Clever man. I’ll get a vice president, Mr. Summers.” She scampered away.

Within seconds an eager fellow in a suit sprinted toward me, shook my hand and introduced his associate who also vigorously pumped my hand and told me what a pleasure my arrival gave him. Gave the entire world.

He mentioned that for the last 16 years no one in Los Angeles had ever paid off a mortgage. I noticed his knees were shaking.

The pair escorted me to a senior executive in a beautifully appointed booth and she shook my hands. The two V.P.s left, again re-shaking my hand.

The senior executive said to call her Ann and I told her to call me Jaron but she said she preferred Mr. Summers.

I said that sounded okay.

Ann, thrilled, called a special number and found out that Kate and I owed exactly $15,400.15. She said that Chase required a certified check or cash to close out our mortgage.

I handed her a certified check for that amount. (I had picked it up from the Bank of America after calling Chase earlier in some cyber cloud where they keep a tally of what each customer owes by the hour. Possibly minute.)

Ann made several calls and while she waited for responses asked me how I liked the B. of A.

I confided that they were crooks and in the death game. Just like Chase.

“The death game?” she asked.

“Mortgage comes from mort ─ like in mortuary. Means death. Gage is a grip. Grip Until Death.”

“I’ll have to remember that,” Ann said. “We’ll set you up with some excellent senior accounts. Check these out. I’d love to be your personal banker.” She gave me colored checks showing pictures of old people holding gnarled fingers on park benches, then she scurried off to complete our mortgage.

In a few minutes she returned and said that everything was settled and reaffirmed that she was looking forward to being my personal banker.

I said that would be wonderful but I was certain she would soon be racing up the corporate ladder and I would have to put up with her replacement ─

“Trust me, everything will be fine, Mr. Summers.”

“You people don’t trust me.”

“We trust you. Why, just look at your splendid record ─ you have not been late with a payment in 28 years. We would be honored to have you.” She looked at me with longing in her pretty brown eyes.

“You don’t trust me because you demanded I bring a cashier’s check here to make my final payment. Since you don’t trust me; I can’t trust you,” I said.

“If you had a checking account here and a mortgage with the Bank of America, then they would require that you gave them a certified check from us,” she said.

“So what’s the difference between the two of you?”

“Free parking.”

I thanked her and on the way out the gal at the desk stamped my parking ticket.

Because I had been in the bank an extra 15 minutes I had to pay the parking guy $1.50. That’s six bucks an hour.

That works out to $144 per day or $4,320 a month. You can lease a Rolls-Royce for that and pay for the gas. (Not the one pictured, that’s a Phantom Drophead Coupe Convertible and leases for a tad over $6,000 a month.)

A parking lot is a great business.

Of course the banks hold the mortgages on the parking lots.

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Jaron Summers wrote dozens of primetime television and radio programs, including those for HBO, CBS, ACCESS TV and CBC. He conceived the TV and Film Institute of Canada. Funded by the University of Alberta and ITV, Jaron ran the Institute for 12 years, donating his services for a decade.

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