This blog details my days in Reno. I’ve worked for some major companies, including Alamo, Norwest Bank, and Wells Fargo. I would also own/run two businesses and become a caregiver to my cancer stricken wife. Later I ran an adult day center specializing in dementia care, participated in a state council for that industry
I want to stress there are good people in Reno. And there are bad people/systems, everywhere. It is my belief that Reno is unique in its treatment of elders, due in part to gambling, but also to a network that protects its own. This is a book that I’m blogging when I have the time as I am currently working on screenplays being considered by the film industry.
Thank you for reading this post. It is the latest of many. You may want to pick an earlier point in order to catch up with the story.
Jane and I muddled through the days. Much of our time was used to clean up the bogus add-ons that had been generated by our predecessors, Alex and Janelle. Each of us had brought up the scam to Shirley. Her eyes crossed, her lips pursed, and she vowed to check into it. She never followed up.
Alex had been promoted to a “brick and mortar” branch of Wells Fargo on Seventh street, just a few blocks away in the Albertson’s shopping center. Shirley lit up like neon when he phoned.
Janie and I had resigned ourselves to the corporate version of re-arranging the chairs on the Titanic. The sales goals were impossible — at least if one was honest. We knew what Alex and Janelle had done, added on overdraft protection accounts and jimmied the system so the fees would hit after they were gone. It was a trick I might’ve seen in my rental car days, but you don’t play with people’s money. And it seemed that the population they targeted was always seniors.
Working in a scam environment sucked.
Still, there was some entertainment provided by local characters. A disc jockey from Sacramento, Bob Castle, tried to open an account. I liked the guy, not big, but burly — a biker dude in training with his imitation leather jacket. There was a problem with getting him a checking account. Wells Fargo, as most banks, use a program called ChexSystem. It’s kinda like a TRW for banks, tracks who leaves accounts in the negative so that the next bank down the line can get ’em. Bob was cool. “No problem,” man. “I’ll keep rocking.”
“I’m sure you will.”
Later, I’d know Bob Castle when I worked for Lotus Radio. He passed away from Parkinson’s disease. I smile when I think about him.
A news anchor’s wife came in. “I’m Brent Boynton’s wife,” she announced before I could even hear her own name. She wanted an SBA loan.
Now, lots of people thing the government is just waiting to give a person money to start a business. Uh…no. The bank will grind you. They want a list of everything the biz owns: chair, table, fax machine, how long your lease is, who wrote the business plan? If they’re not satisfied, how much equity ya got in that house? “A bank is happy to lend you money once you can prove you don’t need it.” (Will Rogers)
The government guarantees the loan, but after going through a few of these apps, it sure seemed that Wells didn’t expect to get the money.
And, I can’t forget the UNR professor that walked in the bank, the guy who wanted the equity loan (2nd mortgage) on his home. All kinds of names showed up — Shirley had suspected identity theft.
Well, there was a sort of identity theft … his wife’s doing. She’d been running credit cards, payday loans, all kinds of weird stuff out there without telling her husband. I can’t forget the last time I saw the big-shot professor walk in their. A man going to an execution. He came in alone. Who knows where the wife was — perhaps she was near Albertson’s. Pulling a slot next to Alex Militante’s bank. Two of a kind, working for three.
Of course we had our corporate characters, the ebullient Joni Rose comes to mind.
If I ever work for a large corporation again, I will definitely have a jaundiced eye if the district manager has the looks and demeanor of a high-school cheerleader. In a nutshell, that describes Wells’ regional head, Joni.
She’d come in the place with a smile borrowed from a Red Skelton painting. She’d cruse around the tellers, toss verbal pom-poms, corporate rah-rah to motivate the overworked women into grilling customers. “Hey, if they’re getting a big cashier’s check, it could be the mortgage. Is it our loan? What credit cards do you see in their wallet, or purse? Show a little personality.”
I can appreciate personality, even moreso when it’s paired with a good pair of legs, and Joni had that going for her. But I knew she and Shirley talked. They knew about the scams. In some way, my days and Janie’s were numbered.
Still, my wife was sick, and five days of Wells’ hell was better than the alternative.
It would all bust open, and Janie, of all people, would get the call.