Sunday, April 14, 2013

Monday, God willing

I went to PNC Bank this morning to speak with my local loan representative, JD, whom I had been trying to reach all week. It doesn't look good, she said: my credit rating is (surprise, surprise) just fine, but my debt-to-income ratio remains problematic. That was frustrating to hear. JD told me she hadn't been given any specifics as to how bad the ratio was relative to the amount I was asking for, so we turned to discussing Plans B and C.

Plan B involves applying for a credit card with a large credit limit. Since my credit rating is solid, this may be feasible, and as JD noted, the fact that I'm trying for other alternatives with PNC (as opposed to with competitors) militates in my favor. So all is not lost; at the very least, there's a chance I may end up with a credit card. I told JD to aim for a limit of about $8000, as with the loan, but to lower that limit if necessary.

Plan C involves acknowledging that the Powers That Be are 80% likely to reject my application, and quickly submitting a reduced loan request—say, $5000 instead of $8000. That ought to be present a much better picture relative to my debt-to-income ratio, and ought to be more acceptable in the sight of the banking gods. Right now, my most immediate concern is to have enough money to cover my trip to Korea, but also, less immediately, to have the funds in place to prep for a move to Korea should I secure a job during the month I'm in country. So I told JD to submit a more humble loan request, and she did.

We'll know more on Monday, JD said. We'll know whether the banking gods (a.k.a. the underwriter) have taken the bait regarding the reduced loan amount request, and we'll know whether my application for a credit card has been accepted. Might be nice to get good news on both fronts, but if I do, I'll likely be forced to choose one or the other—the credit card or the loan. At this point, I'd rather choose the loan, because if I have to use the credit card for any cash advances while in Korea, the interest rate will kill me.

When I got back from the bank, I checked the mail and saw that both of my official transcripts had arrived. I debated, at first, as to whether to take them out of their envelopes, but decided to do so because they're going to get apostilled, anyway, which means someone will be opening those envelopes. I was disappointed to see that Georgetown no longer puts a raised seal on its official transcripts. Catholic University, meanwhile, uses a series of watermarks to confirm document authenticity.

So, with transcripts now in hand, I need to drive out to the State Department, either Monday or Tuesday morning, to get everything apostilled. This will be a rush order, so I anticipate having to pay much more than the usual $8 per document. I went out the other night to the art supplies store and bought a 14" x 17" portfolio in which to put all my documents. My poor Georgetown diploma, stored for years in an ignominious manner (rolled up and tucked away in a dresser drawer instead of being proudly framed), barely fit inside the portfolio's plastic sleeve. My other documents are much smaller, though: FBI background check, Catholic University diploma, and now my two official transcripts.

Assuming I get good financial news on Monday, I absolutely have to rush out and buy an iPad so I can remain in contact with the world while I'm in Korea. Without the iPad, I'm confined to smoky, filthy Net cafes, and can do no work at home. I've also got to buy that crucial ticket from Seattle to DC—the final leg of my journey back home. Still a lot to do, but now it's crunch time. Thursday is no longer that far away.


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