Should we ask for credit when we don’t need it?

Over the last couple of years, it’s occurred to me that when I needed money, it’s been harder to get. When I don’t want/need it, it falls from the trees.

I don’t mean extra income or windfalls, I mean offers of credit.

A number of years ago when my eldest was heading off to College, I inquired about an increased line of credit to help with tuition, residence and books. I had just moved to Toronto and signed the deed on this pricey brick box we call home. The bank where I had an existing line of credit said “nope, thanks for asking though”. This was the first time a lender ever said no to me. I was in shock. I mean, how could they say no? I was gainfully employed, made a reasonable salary, paid my bills on time. What gives?

I was so put off by their denial, I started shopping around. That’s when I moved my day-to-day banking to CIBC. In order for CIBC to get my business I asked them for a line of credit. I was crystal clear this was a deal breaker for me if they couldn’t offer it. They extended one, but cautiously.

Last year when I renegotiated the mortgage on my principle residence because I was buying out an ex, Scotiabank had a difficult time figuring out how to extend me the funds. I won’t even try to explain how it resolved itself, but it did, and it was a bit of a legal nuisance to be honest. The bank and I both took some risks, but calculated risks on both sides.

Fast forward to now. Without even asking, CIBC has boosted my line of credit from $20,000 to $27,000. No, I didn’t ask. They just sent me a letter telling me what a lovely customer I was and here’s another $7,000 if you need it. No, I don’t need it. My first reaction was to call them and say “thanks a bunch for thinking of me, but please just keep my credit limit where it is!”  I reminded myself that just because it’s there doesn’t mean I’ll use it. I’m rock solid confident I won’t use it. BUT, if something happens when I do need it – it’s there. Knock on wood, I hope I don’t need it.

In the same week Scotiabank, who only eight months ago had to move Everest to get my mortgage sorted out, called to offer me a high limit credit card, because I am “such a great customer”. Can you believe it? I wanted to use my favourite line from the movie Misery when Kathy Bates’ character says “have you all got amnesia?” I did say a polite no thank you to the nice man from Scotiabank. I assured him I didn’t need more credit, nor another piece of plastic in my wallet.

Now that my debt is being whittled down month after month, seems the banks are trying to bait me with a few carrots. It’s nice to be in their good graces again. I’m thinking it’s easier to get access to credit when you don’t need it.

What would you do in those situations?

Happy Victoria Day weekend to my fellow Canadians. I’m looking forward to a weekend of friends, family, art and dirt. See you on Tuesday.


One response to this post.

  1. This is a great post, McMom – and so true. It seems that banks are more apt to lend money to people who don’t actually need it.

    Last year I paid off my personal line of credit, after using it to buy stocks on margin. I paid it off in full, and then asked my bank to increase my LofC limit and decrease my interest rate. They did both, but only because they were hoping I would start using it again so they could get the interest. Bankers are sneaky monsters but they can also be your best friend.

    Happy long weekend!


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