PNC Bank’s Chairman Opens Mouth, Inserts Wingtip
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The Fiscal Times
November 19, 2013

Pro-tip for bankers interested in not looking like soulless financial predators: Don’t publicly pine for the days when foreclosing on someone’s home was quick and easy. And for God’s sake, don’t talk about burning their stuff.

American Banker newspaper’s Maria Aspan on Monday afternoon reported, somewhat incredulously, on PNC Bank executive chairman James Rohr’s remarks to a risk management conference in Philadelphia. According to Aspan, Rohr regaled the crowd with a tale of his first experience with foreclosure as a young banker. He was still in the bank’s training program, when all the candidates got paired up with a partner from the mortgage department.

Related: 5 Years After the Crisis: What Banks Haven't Learned

"We went to see a police officer, he called a couple of guys and we went over to a house. He knocked on the fellow's door [and when] he answered the door, [the officer] grabbed him by the shirt, pulled him out of the house and said, 'If you ever go back in there again, I'm going to throw you in jail for the rest of your life.’ He sent two guys in there – they took everything out of the house and put it on the curb. He locked the door... and said, ‘The house is now yours.’ And then he turned to the fellow sitting on the stoop and he said, ‘I'm coming back at 4 o'clock with a can of gasoline. If any of that stuff is on the curb, I'm going to light it on fire.’"

The remarks drew “scattered chuckles” from the crowd, Aspan reports, and concluded with Rohr, whose bank is worth some $40 billion dollars, complaining about how long the foreclosure process now takes for banks.

You may think things are bad these days, but while robo-signers may burn down your credit rating, they generally leave your belongings alone.

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A longtime reporter on the intersection of the federal government and the private sector, Rob Garver is National Correspondent, based in Washington, D.C. He has written for ProPublica, The New York Times and other publications.