Back to a worried bank
It didn’t take long for the bank to call after Dale deposited the check from Ottimo for $500,000. They asked Dale to a meeting with Rick Petrie the following day.
There was the usual friendly exchange of greetings, avoiding the immediate concerns of the bank.
“How’s the wife and kids?” asked the bank manager, Petrie.
“Fine, thanks, how about your two?”
“Great, my daughter is top of her class, but Sean is more interested in playing hockey and watching his Canadiens.”
“They may have a chance this year with Patrick Roy in goal.”
“Yeah, like the old Kenny Dryden days.”
“Ah-h-h, those were the days.”
“Everything was better in the 70’s.”
“Well, maybe not everything, look at all the money you’re making now.”
“The money’s good, but never easy. Maybe I should’ve been a banker. That looks like easy money.”
“Ha, never as easy as it looks.” Then they got down to business.
“Dale, I know you were in a tight spot without more financing and we let you down, but I’m not so sure we like to see you doing business with this new lender, Ottimo.”
“Well, his terms are not very good, but he did come up with everything I needed.”
“You know they’re not really a legitimate bank or finance company, right? And there are a few questions around the owners.”
Dale wondered how far Petrie would go in admitting he knew of the Mafia connections. They had accepted the deposit and ignored the ugly details, so he probably wouldn’t admit too much.
“What do you mean?”
“Dale, you know what I mean. You’re too smart not to know who you’re dealing with. And you know that the bank cannot be party to anything that smells fishy, or illegal. We have an obligation to report to the authorities anything that we’re suspicious about. I want you to assure me that half million has nothing to do with any loan sharking or money laundering.”
“Rick, I’m shocked you would even suggest anything like that from me!” Dale faked an exaggerated expression of outrage.
“Don’t be a jerk. I’m being serious. I have to report on this little meeting to my superiors.”
“Oh, in that case, of course the money is 100% legit, just like it came from a real bank.” He leaned forward looking intently at Petrie and continued, “Listen Rick, I would be much happier to have the money from you, but you said no. And I had no choice. These guys offered to solve my problem. We made a deal that I can live with and they delivered.”
“Alright, I accept that. But you need to help me get you away from these guys and back to the bank.”
“Fine, I like that plan, but these guys don’t let go very easily. What do you need from me?”
“We’ll need to see you reporting continued good numbers and building equity in the business to give us more security and better ratios. If the ratios are there, we can increase the lines to what you need, but it will probably take a good year before I can persuade anybody here to take another look.”
“It’s going to be an interesting year,” said Dale straightening the folders on the front of Petrie’s desk before leaning back into his chair, “Look Rick, I know you have your damn ratios to meet and bosses to satisfy and I appreciate your working on it for me, but it will take time for me to get the numbers where you want them. ”
Petrie nodded and wished he could have done more. He didn’t like to see good clients resort to loan sharks like Ottimo. He hoped he could get Dale out of their dirty claws before too much damage was done. The meeting ended with more friendly small talk and a reassuring firm hand shake. Dale left knowing they still liked and trusted each other enough to get past this challenge together.
What he did not know was that he now had new enemies that were plotting to do him more harm than any bank could save him from.