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There’s always something to howl about

If Not Us, Who?

I’m in a lousy mood today and I need your help.

The crooks are resurfacing.

If you thought the bad guys have been flushed out of the system, I’ve got some bad news for ya.  We spend an inordinate amount of time debating who and what caused the mortgage meltdown.  We spend very little time debating how we make sure it never happens again.  The key word I want to emphasize here is “we”.

It’s not up to the government to fix this mess.  It’s not up to NAMB, or NAR or Ghostbusters.  It’s up to US – the folks in the field and on the street that see the dishonesty and suck in the stench seven steps before it gets packaged into mortgage backed securities.

I wrote an article entitled The Code:  How the Mortgage Industry Could Self Regulate a few days ago.  Alas, my baby blog is a PR2 and I doubt too many people saw it.  I think it’s an important concept and I am grateful for a venue like Bloodhound Blog to facilitate the conversation.

If you leave it up to your government, you get lame-brain ideas like HVCC.  I’m telling y’all right now, right here that I’m going to do my little part to protect the general public from the bad guys.  We need to clean up our own industry.  Brian Brady has it right in my book:  you do wrong and he’s gonna “come down on you like a ton of bricks”.  People look to us as fiduciaries, and I do believe in buyer beware.  But unfortunately the doofus who doesn’t do his homework and gets himself ripped off just lowered the property values of every smart guy on his block.

So here’s the question I want to pose to the Bloodhound Community:

I know a bad guy, a predatory lender who ripped off hundreds of borrowers.  He went away for a while and now he’s back.  What can I do about it?  How do we take our industry back?

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  • 14 comments

    14 Comments so far

    1. Genuine Chirs Johnson May 28th, 2009 6:39 pm

      Good question. How is he back? I know a guy that was convicted of stuff. And he’s repentant. And he has stuff to give. What of him?

      It depends.

      Wait, see. If he’s up to his old tricks? Annihilation.

    2. Joe Loomer May 29th, 2009 4:09 am

      Mark,

      The Navy SEALS have a “Wall of Shame” website where they specifically name and give locations for any idiot stupid enough to claim they wore the “Budweiser” but never did. God help you if you’re on that list.

      I suggest you get together with folks like Brian and start something like that. Lemme know when you get there – I’ve got a doozy here in Augusta that’s ripping off veterans and Active Duty folks alike….

      Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    3. Mark Green May 29th, 2009 5:19 am

      Joe, I love this idea. In today’s litigious society, what are the risks that someone who either maintains or contributes to a board like that would be dragged into court for libel/slander/etc?

      I know there are a few attorneys who read BHB, and I’d love some feedback.

      I wrote about the type of BS Aaron Krowne of ML-Implode deals with on a regular basis here: http://www.bloodhoundrealty.com/BloodhoundBlog/?p=7653 yet he continues on. Closest thing we have to a real watchdog in the mortgage business.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Genuine Chris: Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to watch this guy up close – he’s 2,000+ miles away. And annihilation sounds great but how? He’ll be up to his old tricks, he knows nothing else.

    4. The Mortgage Cicerone May 29th, 2009 3:24 pm

      Great post Mark – You are so right and I’m with you all the way. We need a true grassroots level swell in our industry to correct the wrongs committed. Fortunately, I do feel most are honest in our industry, but we still have the slime balls that continue to hurt consumers and clients. Unfortunately, HVCC, while well intended is NOT the answer. Many are waiting for politicians to fix our problems, however that is not where the fix will derive…it will have to come from us. Thank you for taking an industry lead in fixing this with Mortgage Revolution!

    5. Brian Brady May 29th, 2009 8:57 pm

      “you do wrong and he’s gonna “come down on you like a ton of bricks”.”

      I was kindasorta talking about online reputation management when I said this but let’s explore Chief Joe’s suggestion about VeriSeal.

      I don’t know if a Wall of Shame translates well to our industry. The SEAL designation is pretty cut and dry; you either have the BUD/S pin or you don’t. I like the idea of a positive designation for mortgage originators that demonstrates elite knowledge and performance.

      Demonstrated education and expertise, subscribing to a code…sounds like you’re building your own association, Mark (and that ain’t a bad thing). If you really want to further this idea, think Better Business Bureau for originators

    6. Thomas Johnson May 29th, 2009 10:36 pm

      Just name names. Aren’t we all crying for TRANSPARENCY in Real Estate? We are supposed to wear our paychecks on our lapels right next to our “R” pins, yet we won’t name the bad guys. Am I missing something?

      I would also like to see Mr. Transparency Brad Inman’s tax return posted in a Scenius.

    7. Mark Green May 30th, 2009 6:54 am

      Cicerone, Brian, Thomas, thanks for chiming in. I was hoping this article wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle.

      First, I’d like to address Brian: Sorry for taking your quote a bit out of context but I just love your way with words. And it certainly applies here. I like the idea of a “seal of approval” which reinforces the good guys. However, I don’t think this solves the underlying problem. Consumers who are getting ripped off aren’t conducting their due diligence, and thus aren’t likely to be influenced by a “seal of approval”.

      Thomas, yes!!! I’m dying to call this dude out. But is this the proper forum for that? In my opinion, the proper forum doesn’t exist – yet. To Cicerone’s point, we’ll fix that problem at Mortgage Revolution.

      What I’m ultimately getting at is that the foundation exists today. It’s all of us. Instead of turning the other cheek, we need to take action on the street level. If enough of us chip in, you essentially get “The Code” that is so cool about the baseball example I gave in the Top of Mind Blog article. It becomes part of the fabric of our industry. We then aren’t leaving it up to the gov’t to come in and retroactively flail around cleaning up our mess.

      If all else fails, I guess we can always resort to Genuine Chris’ annihilation idea. That sounds like fun too.

    8. Joe Loomer May 30th, 2009 9:00 am

      One of the things I would recommend in areas where there are military installations is to approach both the unit commander and the senior enlisted leader (in the Navy, it’d be the Skipper and the Command Master Chief). Much like areas that are “Off Limits,” there are also briefings in the Plan of the Day (or whatever vessel the Army and Air Force use) about avoiding certain establishements and places of business to protect the servicemember. Imagine the car lots you’ve all seen with the banner “E-1 no credit? NO PROBLEM.”

      If you have quanitifiable evidence of a predatory lender abusing veterans (even if they’re not using VA loans), you can take that to the CO and Senior Enlisted Leader and see if they can’t turn off the spigot.

      Imagine a local paper headline after the fact – “Fort Whatever Commander puts ABCDE Mortgage off limits to Troops.”

      I suspect there are avenues like the state real estate commmissions and better business bureaus where predators’ complaint levels can be measured – as Brian hinted at. If you’re then posting valid data on a “Wall of Shame” from a governmental source, what’s the risk?

      Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    9. Brian Brady May 30th, 2009 9:07 am

      “Consumers who are getting ripped off aren’t conducting their due diligence, and thus aren’t likely to be influenced by a “seal of approval”.”

      This is where the BBB for lenders idea could gain traction. The BBB offered one of the first “transparent” models for consumer dissatisfaction by providing a public forum for customers to complain and businesses a chance to address that complaint.

      Advertise that the association will assist with ANY consumer complaint about an originator and you’ve moved the ball to our court. Ripoff report is doing this now but is overwhelmingly biased against the provider. I think honest originators will address complaints publicly if they feel they get a fair shot. The association can decide the level of necessary disclosure.

      THIS is the “ton of bricks” that can be brought down upon the unscrupulous originators.

      You game?

    10. Greg Dallaire May 30th, 2009 5:14 pm

      Mark,

      We don’t have a good forum for these types of issues other than the Better Business Beureau if only people would utilize those resources it could be a better system.

      We have so many talented people in the real estate industry hopefully some will take arms with their voices and maybe even some public service and run for office and implement common sense solutions instead of the game of politics.

      I’m glad you brought up this topic because it impacts our industry every day even now.

    11. Mark Green May 30th, 2009 5:19 pm

      Damn skippy I’m game – great idea Brian. Joe, I also like the wall of shame concept :).
      My take is that by the time a consumer complains, it’s too late to reverse the damage. What would rock is a mechanism to stop bad guys BEFORE consumers get hurt. To accomplish this, the supply chain also must get involved.

    12. Teri Lussier June 1st, 2009 1:57 pm

      Throw the bums out.

      >To accomplish this, the supply chain also must get involved.

      I’m in.

    13. Allan Becker June 1st, 2009 7:05 pm

      It’s a shame because these guys hurt the entire industry.

    14. David Orsini June 8th, 2009 6:33 am

      Mark, can I take a guess who you are referring to above? :)