A USAA member, an Army captain deployed to Iraq, was already fighting one battle. Then she received the shocking news that her home was hours from entering foreclosure. Thinking fast, USAA Bank's Norma Renteria found a solution that allowed the member to return to her mission with some peace of mind.
Having fallen behind on her house payments, the member arranged for USAA Bank to send an official check to the mortgage company – a USAA competitor – that would bring her mortgage up to date. She had the funds.
Several days later, Norma got a call from the concerned member who said she had received an e-mail from her mortgage company stating they would not accept the check. Renteria quickly brought a representative from the mortgage holder into a three-way conversation.
The problem, the mortgage rep explained, was that the check only covered the overdue payments but not the additional fees that had accrued. She went on to say that if the full amount wasn't received by the close of business that day, foreclosure proceedings would begin the following day. And, to make matters worse, the check had been returned to the member's home address.
"The member was getting quite upset," Renteria said. "Her funds were now tied up in the check that no one could get their hands on." Renteria said she'd send a stop-payment form to the captain, but it required a signature and would take days to process.
"I let the other two parties talk, hearing the near-panic in our member's voice, while I searched her account for a solution," Renteria said. "As soon as I saw she had a credit card, I told her that I would do a cash advance from her credit card to her checking account and the mortgage company could withdraw funds electronically within the hour."
Though this is not a preferred practice, it was necessary to save the member's home from foreclosure. The member's home was no longer in jeopardy and, Renteria told her, when the stop-payment on the check cleared, she could pay off the credit card.
"She was so relieved," Renteria said. "She told me she wished she could hug me. I said it would be nice, but what she was doing for me and our country was much more meaningful than a hug."