On Jan. 22, 2014, a letter to the editor that I wrote was published in this paper: “Keep wheel squeaking to get answers from insurance companies, banks, government agencies.” I was six months into a fight with my mortgage company to get an unnecessary $120 monthly fee removed, a fight I won a few months later. But not without help.

As I wrote then: “I’m bright, pretty savvy financially and patient, yet persistent. So how come I can’t make any headway?”

For six more months, I self-advocated, reading endless legalese and submitting reams of evidence, but the bank stonewalled. I needed an authority to help. So in July 2014, I contacted Maine’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection.

There I connected with an official as knowledgeable of and frustrated by this bank’s systematic negligence as I. Promptly after the bank received his letter of complaint on my behalf, it removed the fee.

For three more years, the same official worked with me to get refunded for the unnecessary charges. Last week – almost four years since the charge should have been removed – the bank issued me a $600 refund.

I write today not to gloat, but to thank.

Without the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection advocating for my rights, which the bank was blatantly violating, I would still be paying this fee. This state agency acts as a referee between individuals and corporations and was likely the only entity the bank would heed.

This week the state faces shutdown. It seems now, more than ever, it is important to be reminded of the important role that state agencies play. While I’m sure we all agree that various governmental agencies can improve in their processes and efficiency, I hope we can likewise agree that as citizens, we all benefit from the existence of a stable, professional and funded state government.

Margaret Myall