Posts Tagged ‘Inyanga’

Pushing The Papers

March 29, 2009

Successful bankers have a way about themselves. They exude aristocracy much more than the rich of any other stream. Their job is to keep the money coming in. The cash flow cannot stop, come what may. They seldom talk in terms of how many of certain things have to be sold. Rather they always weigh in the profits in terms of how long, “Is my cash flow based on an internal rate of return or net rate of return? How long will this take to double the principle?” They make money with money – Other People’s Money.

Jerry Roland was one such banker; Focused, Flamboyant and shrewd. His receding hairline gave off his high pressure lifestyle but that had no effect on his mesmerizing personality. At forty two he was much more energetic than most of his younger subordinates. He could read people’s minds with his sea blue eyes. He was the dream-man of innumerable women around him. He never failed to attract their dreamy eyed admiration. He always maintained a brisk pace while walking. And when he walked, there was always a bunch of people scampering about him either taking instructions or taking orders.

It was an over cast Friday morning when he dashed into his office with his signature flair. Every time he entered, the force with which he pushed open the door caused the curtains on the window on the opposite side to slide by an inch. He was the best asset to the organization, so he was assigned an imposing office overlooking the East Bay which always smelt characteristically of the birch wood so extensively used to decorate the interiors.

As he entered, his secretary stood up from her desk at the far end of the room, smoothing out her skirt and  greeted him, “Good Morning Mr. Roland!” Jerry replied with an acknowledging nod of his head. She serially arranged the papers on her desk for the briefing. As Jerry walked to his swivel-chair, he unbuttoned his exclusive Armani jacket. He took it off and carefully arranged it over the high back of his chair before sitting down. When he settled himself into the chair he loosened his tie, and swiveled his chair to face the secretary, “So what’s the day’s agenda, Brenda?”

Brenda came and stood beside his chair. She lay down a few sheets of paper in front of him, on his desk. She started of with practiced precision, “Sir, this Mr. Jojo seems to be an area of concern for the bank. These are his loan payment statements for the past year. He was issued a loan amount of sixty thousand pounds for his shipping business. He hasn’t made any payments since eight months now. His total outstanding stands at ninety five thousand pounds. We have contacted him several times asking for the payments. He just alludes by saying he is bankrupt.”

“Hmmmmmmmm…..” he picked up the papers from his desk and leaned back into his chair. He flipped through the papers one by one. When he reached the last sheet he asked Brenda, “You said he’s not been making any payments. I see he has made some payments every month.”

Brenda replied, “Close to nothing considering his dues.”

“So he’s been trying to make payments.” Jerry said analytically. “Does he own a house?”

“Yes, he is in sole possession.”

“Does he have a mortgage on that?”

“No.”

“Let me call him.” He picked up his phone and dialed the number listed on the statement.

It took five rings before there was an answer to his call, “Hello.”

Jerry asked in his customer centric demeanor, “May I speak with Salazar Jojo?”

“This is he” came the reply in a deep baritonal voice.

“Mr. Jojo this is Jerry Roland, The Managing Director of Axim Bank. How are you doing?”

“Surviving”

This threw the conversation off track but Jerry knew too well how to handle it, “Let me be of some assistance here. Mr. Jackson I realize you have been having some problems keeping up with your loan payments with Axim Bank. I understand….”

“Hey Listen. You don’t understand. You haven’t gone through what I’ve have gone through. My business crashed overnight. I had backstabbers for business partners. I’ve had sickness in my family and I am the only earning member now. And I am not making all this up, ok! You don’t understand.”

“Well, why don’t we try and work out a solution for all this,” Jerry said, keeping his calm through all the rudeness being hurled at him.

“There isn’t any solution.”

“You do own a house.”

“What about it?”

“I can help you with excellent deals on the mortgage of the house.”

“Hey, don’t even think about that. That house is the only thing I got and I ain’t gonna let it go.”

“Do you have any other options?”

“No I don’t. But I’ll pay when I have the money ok. Don’t push me.”

“Mr. Jojo, why don’t you come over at my office?”

“So you ain’t gonna rest until you get my house sold huh? I’ll be there.” Martin hung up.

The next morning Jerry found Salazar waiting in his office even before he arrived. Salazar was younger than Jerry had expected. He was in his mid thirties. He was a dignified man but looked bogged down by all his worries. He noticed red, swollen eyes; All of last night was spent drinking. He seemed to be in a hurry. The moment Jerry entered; he looked at him and stood up, as if to get started with whatever he was called for. A few dimes rattled in his jacket’s pocket. His jacket was old – but clean. “Mr. Jojo?” Jerry asked. “Yes” replied the man. “Please have a seat.” Jerry gestured him to sit on the chairs in front of his desk.

“I am glad you came by Mr. Jackson,” Jerry started in a reassuring tone.

“You will be. After all you are getting a chance to take over my house,” Salazar’s rudeness was perpetual.

Jerry said defensively, “We are not taking over your house. We are just providing you with finance against your house.”

“Its just the same. Listen, I’ll pay back your loan when I have the money. If you want to help me just stop the interest being charged on me. Your interest rates are too high.”

“As much as I want to help you on this, our company policies won’t allow me to.” Jerry was a considerate man and wanted to help Salazar, but he was also a shrewd business man. He was paid to be an opportunist. He said, “I can help you get a mortgage on your house with much lower interest rate.”

Frustrated, Salazar said, “I knew you would say that. Just do what you gotta do fast. I’ve gotta go.”

Just then, Jerry’s phone started ringing. He picked it up and said, “Hello.” He listened for a while and suddenly his expression changed. His forehead creased with tension. Eyes widened. “What do you mean?………. Where is he now? ………… What does the doctor say?” he was hurling frantic questions to the person on the other end without even giving enough time to completely answer each one of them. “I am coming right now.” When he hung up, he slumped into his chair, covered is face with his palms and cried.

A disturbed Salazar asked with concern, “What’s the matter Mr. Roland?”

Jerry replied through his sobs, “Its my boy; he’s sick. The doctor says he has SARS. They don’t understand how he got it. They say the chances of curing it are dim.”

“I’ll tell you what.” Salazar said as he tore out a sheet of paper from the memo cube placed on the desk.  “May I use your pen?” he asked permission. Jerry nodded and he picked up his heavy yet stable Pierre Cardin ink pen. Salazar wrote something on the paper and when he was finished he pushed the piece of paper towards Jerry. He said, “I come from the jungles of Africa. People there are not educated in the modern ways. But they know how the nature works. They know its secrets. There is this old lady Inyanga. She is ninety three years old. She might be able to cure your son with herbal medicines. You can try. She’s a miracle worker.”

Jerry said, “Appreciate your concern. I need to go now. Can I request you to come and see me at a more suitable time?”

“Take your son to Africa. He’ll be fine” replied Salazar and stood up from the chair to leave. He shook hands with Jerry and walked out of the door.

The bank notifications of his dues with Axim Bank stopped coming in. Salazar was rather uneasy from this. after three months, Jerry received. He was both surprised and delighted. He heard Salazar’s voice on the other side.

“Nice to hear from you Mr. Jojo,” Jerry said. Martin was appreciative of Jerry’s pleasant response. But he was also apprehensive. Was this the pleasantry before the slaughter?

“Ya Know, I was just wondering. I haven’t received any notification on my deferred loan payments lately. Is something wrong?” Salazar chose his words carefully.

Jerry replied a tad too blithe, “Well Mr. Jojo. You don’t have to pay it anymore. The bank has written off your loan.”

“B….But How’s that possible? I mean….. I don’t understand.”

“Don’t worry Mr. Jojo. I pushed some papers around for you. Its all taken care of.”

“But, why the favor?”

“Because I owed you one.”

That suddenly reminded Salazar of something. He asked Jerry, “How’s your son doing?”

“Oh he is excellent. He is just fine. And yes, he loves Africa.”

A smile of satisfaction passed over Salazar’s face. He triumphantly said, “I told you he’ll like it there.”

Then there was a pause in the conversation. Salazar broke the silence, “So, call me if you need anything else.”

Jerry replied, “I will Mr. Jojo, I will. Have a nice day.”

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