I don't believe that Bernie Madoff is a saint. But the one moneymaking institution that has my dander up at present is Sallie Mae.
As you may recall me writing earlier this month, the company's policy during the worst economic downturn in modern times is to charge debt-addled college graduates a fee for deferring their loans while searching for a new job, and then only gives them three months without payments. When another of the many student loan companies with which I do business called me to get my mailing address, I asked them what I needed to do to defer my loans.
"Send us a letter explaining which unemployment agency you've registered with, and tell us you want Option A," the very helpful operator told me.
"There are no fees?"
"No. And you'll get six months without payments. If you still don't have a job after that, just let us know and we'll start another six-month freeze."
But it seems that Sallie Mae's lack of sympathy isn't only for the unemployed. The company also doesn't give a damn about dead soldiers.
"We are asking that you forgive Ian [McVey]'s loans as his federal loans are being forgiven on the basis of Ian's choice of service to our country as a patriot and so that our family may not have to bear these financial burdens while we deal with the inconsolable grief over the senseless, tragic and untimely loss of our son. While life has not been fair, we pray that you will be."
Sallie Mae responded with a computer-generated letter that, aside from a "Please accept our condolences for your loss" stuck in the middle, was a demand for $53,144.
I can't wait to see the day when Sallie Mae's executives are made to sit in front of Congress and beg forgiveness. I hope that our legislators show them the same level of mercy they've given their customers—none.