You’ve reached the E-Z Credit Line of the First Bank of China. Please note: to ensure the highest level of quality and for training purposes, your call may be monitored and/or recorded.
"Hello, this is the First Bank of China. My name is Liang. How may I help you today Mr. USA?"
"I’m looking to consolidate my debt and I was wondering about taking out another mortgage on my property."
"Well, let’s get some basic information, shall we? Do you own your own home, Mr. USA?"
"Technically, yes. I believe I still have title."
"Now, are there any other encumbrances on your property?"
"There’s a first mortgage for three trillion dollars and a second mortgage for two trillion dollars and there might be a lien or two for unpaid foreign oil bills."
"That’s quite an exposure you’ve got there, Mr. USA. What kind of money are you looking for in terms of a third mortgage?"
"Not a lot, really. Just a small amount to tide me over until I sort out some minor financial difficulties. A couple of small wars and an impending recession. Things like that. I figure half a trillion should do the trick."
"Half a trillion, you say. Now you realize, Mr. USA, that we’ll have to send an assessor around to ensure that your property still retains enough unencumbered equity to support a third mortgage."
"Sure, no problem; I understand. But could you make the appointment for the weekend? If you do the assessment on a weekday, my markets get a little jittery. You know how it is."
"Fine, fine. Now, Mr. USA, I’m going to have to ask you some personal financial questions to update our records.. What is your approximate annual income?"
"People tell me I’m worth $14 trillion give or take a few hundred billion."
"That’s nice. But what about your current account? How is your balance of payments?"
"My balance of what?"
"You know, the amount of money coming in versus the amount going out. Do you have a surplus?"
"Not exactly. But I’ve got a lot of good ideas and I know I’ll be back in the black soon."
"Perhaps so, Mr. USA, but from what I’m looking at here, you’ve been running a deficit with us for a number of years. What can you offer in the way of collateral?"
"Well, ah, there’s some mines and minerals out west, a bunch of farms and I think I still own at least part of New York City."
"Mr. USA, I’m going to have to pass your file on to my supervisor. Your first and second mortgages are coming up for renewal and with the increased monthly payments you’ll be looking at, I doubt we can offer you a third mortgage at any rate, much less at subprime."
"But what am I going to do? I’ve got payments to make and oil to buy. I need a bailout now."
"I’m sorry, sir. I don’t think we can do much for you today. Have you considered trying the Bank of India or maybe even the Seoul Money Mart? Perhaps they can help you out with a payday loan. Goodbye, Mr. USA, and have a nice day."