The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart
- Hellen Keller -
Margaret Hungerford eloquently wrote, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." She was absolutely correct. Inarguably, physical beauty can profoundly effect our behavior though within a working environment, we are expected to exercise self-discipline and refrain from surrendering to our impulses. This is why companies ratify policies that explicitly prohibit certain behaviors. Failure to adhere to these structures can result in profound ramifications, including resulting in the loss of employment, marring a person's and company's reputations, ruining family relationships and resulting in the filing of lawsuits that often end with a court ordering payment of some monetary award.
In May 2001, an attractive Afro-American woman visited Priority One Credit Union's main office located in South Pasadena, California to apply for an automobile loan. The member, Patrice P., requested a loan in the amount of approximately $26,000 so that she could purchase a 2001 Mercedes Benz from Beverly Hills Ltd, located at 9250 Beverly Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California. Patrice P. knew before visiting the credit union that she might not qualify for the loan, but she was intent on purchasing the vehicle which she desperately needed to own. She was smitten.
Patrice P.'s loan application and credit report were being reviewed when the Vice President of Operations, Charles R. Wiggington, Sr., entered the Loan Department and immediately noticed Patrice P. He was smitten.
The Vice President walked over to where Patrice P. sat and introduced himself. A short time later, he handed Patrice P. his business card and invited her to call should she ever have a question or need to express concerns, about her accounts or the credit union's services.
After Mr. Wiggington walked away, Patrice P. was informed that her request for an automobile loan was being denied due to several derogatory references and a FICO score of 520.
Patrice P. thanked the Loan Officer and left the credit union. The following day, Patrice P. called Mr. Wiggington to discuss her loan application and the reasons why her request had been denied. Following conclusion of their conversation, Mr. Wiggington visited the Loan Officer who had reviewed Ms. Polley's request and asked that he be provided the file containing the member's application and credit report. Once obtained, he returned to his office to review the documents.
On Monday, March 12, 2001, Mr. Wiggington and his uncle drove to Fat Burgers located at 4070 Marlton Avenue, in Los Angeles, California (90008). The two sat and waited for Patrice P.'s arrival. The President would later admit that he invited his uncle because he wanted him to see Patrice P.
A short while later, Patrice P. entered Fat Burgers and according to the President, sauntered across the room where both men waited. The President would recount then when walked across the room, "Every man had their eyes on her, but she came and sat with us." During the meeting which followed, they discussed her loan and before leaving, he assured her he would try to get her request approved.
On March 13th, a giddy Mr. Wiggington hurriedly made his way to the Loan Officer's desk and excitedly reiterated his story about his meeting with Patrice P. Mr. Wiggington's response is completely understandable if he was a 14-year old boy, but at the time he was almost 50-years old.
He informed the Loan Officer that he had signed Patrice P.'s documents approving issuance of the loan. The Loan Officer was taken aback because she knew the credit union's eligibility requirements weren't so pliable as to allow approval of a $26,000 loan for a member whose FICO Score is 520. The credit union's eligibility requirements were ratified by the Board of Directors and found in Priority One's Loan Policy. Mr. Wiggington's decision to grant exemption to the credit union's very specific requirements constitutes discrimination against those members who apply for loans but due to their credit scores being equal to or higher than Patrice P.'s, are denied their requests. Overcome by his urges, the middle aged officer found it impossible to comply to Priority One policy.
NOT SO HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
Patrice P. got her loan and returned home with her dream Mercedes Benz. Things didn't fare as well for Mr. Wiggington who returned home to his wife and children but who was never contacted again by Patrice P. He became so incensed that a few weeks later, while speaking to the loan officer who funded the loan, he angrily exclaimed, "That's it for me. She'll [Patrice P.] never get another loan from me."
The only reason Mr. Wiggington was incensed is that whatever fantasy he concocted wasn't realized. He had been scorned after being manipulated. Unlike President Wiggington, Patrice P. actually knew her marketplace and extracted from it, exactly what she wanted. The President was far outside of his league when her pursued Patrice P. but in the end, her interaction with him ended when he exhausted his use.
One of the reasons why credit unions have eligibility requirements is to determine a person's credit worthiness and whether or not they pose a risk. The requirement help the credit union ascertain if a person will be able to repay the loan granted to them in good faith. The requirements serve to protect the credit union from incurring potential losses, a fact Charles R. Wiggington,Sr. never considered when he decided to disregard the rules created to protect the credit union, its assets, and its members. .
Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools
who do not have the wisdom to be honest