What Should We Do With 125,000 Out Of Work Mortgage Bankers?

Today CNNMoney profiles an out of work mortgage banker who has been sending out 10 resumes a day since he was laid off in Feburary. He just got his first interview.

This week, things are are looking up. Hager, a Jersey City, N.J., resident, went on one interview for a fraud investigator job at a mortgage insurance company and another for a position underwriting employee dishonesty insurance. Executives at the latter told him they’d make a decision within 10 days.

He doesn’t know what next week will bring.

“It’s always flowed for me,” said Hager, 29, who discovered his love of math and finance in high school in Proctorville, Ohio, about three hours southeast of Columbus. “I’ve always had a job and every time I changed jobs, it was for advancement. Now, it’s like ‘What do I do with myself because I can’t wait for that next step.’ “

Hager has joined nearly 125,000 others on Wall Street and at mortgage firms and other financial companies who received pink slips since the start of 2007. It seems that nearly every week another financial firm lets go of thousands of workers at all levels. With the market flooded, it’s hard for the unemployed to land a job, experts said.

He used to work for Countrywide and now is hoping to “get his foot in the door” anywhere, even if it’s just as as a bank teller. Anyone got a job for Josh?

10 resumes a day, no takers [CNNMoney] (Thanks, Matthew!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. B says:

    Wal Mart is hiring.

  2. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Um, I say we put them to work in a GSE’s “Loss Mitigation” department to help clean up the mess they made!

  3. Bladefist says:

    Enlist? They are good liars, maybe be political speech writers.

  4. zibby says:

    My advice is to start drinking heavily.

  5. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    What Should We Do With 125,000 Out Of Work Mortgage Bankers?

    Change a light bulb?


  6. smitty1123 says:

    I’ve got a wonderful idea for a low-cost protein substitute. I’m calling it Soylent Green. All I need are about 125,000… investors.

  7. thirdbase says:

    Home repair. They can repair the homes their forclosed on previous customers are now trahing.

  8. louv says:

    What other sectors of our economy need to be tanked? All those mortgage brokers should go work there. How about he goes and volunteers at Soup Kitchens? Or goes to New Orleans and helps rebuild housing? Something useful that contributes to the betterment of people’s lives, instead of destruction. (yeah, I’m a little bitter about choosing a safe path, but still having to pay for the bailouts. Deal.)

  9. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    HEY! Wouldn’t this be good for AT&T? They had trouble looking for capable workers.

  10. MonkeyMonk says:

    Better yet . . . they could get work as handymen (and handywomen) helping to make repairs at “half of foreclosed homes nationwide that have “substantial” damage.”

    There’s something calming about the image of some subprime-writing chump scraping up weeks of animal waste from a filthy floor.

  11. RandoX says:

    Put them in the Army.

  12. B says:

    @AlteredBeast: The key word here is Capable.

  13. MercuryPDX says:

    To paraphrase a popular lawyer joke… the bottom of the ocean would be a good start.

    In all seriousness though, this will only making trying to get an “unrelated to my field” job (Jiffy Lube, Walmart Stocker, Home Depot Clerk) all the more difficult to get.

  14. fostina1 says:

    theres a lot of real estate for sale. maybe they could be realtors.

  15. m4ximusprim3 says:

    @AlteredBeast: Keyword “capable”. As in: Not morally bankrupt and responsible for the untimely demise of they company they worked for.

  16. unklegwar says:

    Who the hell would hire some guy with that haircut? The Jimmy Neutron look isn’t what I’d call professional.

  17. crabbyman6 says:

    ethics classes?


    Thanks for the laugh!

  19. DeafChick says:

    Isn’t AT&T hiring?

  20. GrantGannon says:

    Good luck to him in finding a job but his story is no different from the hundreds of thousands of other unemployed Americans out there.

    I got laid off in October as did 10 other people I worked with. I sent out resume after resume after resume. I had a few interviews here and there but it was early January until I started work again. Where’s my CNN feature? I can look just as desperate and despondent as this guy.

    Being laid off is a humbling experience, especially if you think that you ‘deserve’ to be employed. I found it very hard to be critical of other’s actions on the job…i.e drive thru workers, dry cleaning employees…they were working to pay the bills which was more than could be said for me.


    He could be a model for generic photos that blogs/websites post with their stories. Photos with a “no sympathy for yuppies” tag.

  22. crabbyman6 says:

    @GrantGannon: but did you have the same awesome haircut?

  23. Zclyh3 says:

    He chose the wrong industry. Every industry has it’s ups and downs. The IT has a huge debacle in the early 2000s and a lot of people lost their jobs. It happens to the best of us. This also is a great way for creative destruction. If one industry is dying, that motivates you to maybe go work for another industry.


  24. GrantGannon says:

    @crabbyman6: It was infinitely more awesome.

  25. homerjay says:

    Ya know, if they’re having trouble making ends meet they may want to consider one of those new sub-prime mortgages.

  26. Zclyh3 says:


    I’m sorry, I meant “had a huge”. lol

  27. I just can’t bring myself to feel a lot of sympathy for this guy. If it was the mortgage broker that did my 1st home purchase I would feel bad. Her name was Jessica, and she was everything I imagined a mortgage broker was. She was our advocate, and felt like a friend by the end. She fought tooth and nail for us to get the best possible terms. That was back in 2001.

    I’ve and purchased 2, and sold 1 home since then due to moves, and in both cases was struck a little dumb by the “fast and loose” feel to the process in more recent times. Hell back in 2003 when we purchased our second home the broker tried to sell us on one of those mortgages that went variable rate after 2 years (we were in a 0 down situation). I mentioned it seemed “a little risky” and he said “oh everyone is doing this now just refinance when your home is worth more”.

    So now I also am feeling a little burned having chosen a home at a more “reasonable” price for our third home (sold the second after 2 years at a slight (5%) profit, and also playing it safe. I have to now watch my tax dollars be spent bailing out big business. It’s not even bailing out the poor slobs who got taken in by those slick brokers. It’s bailing out the guys who made millions off these loan securities … someone please point out how this is helping my neighbor … anyone?

  28. CaptRavis says:

    Can’t help him with a job, but I’d be happy to help him out with a loan. I am thinking maybe a Home Equity Line of Credit. I offer a teaser rate of prime -2 for the 1st six months, then the rate goes up according to a mixture of astrological charts, tea leaves, and the LIBOR. It has a Maximum yearly cap of any base 2 number I am currently thing of with a lifetime maximum cap of 125% the sum of the digits in your social security number multiplied by your height. No credit checks, no upfront fees, just your house in about 18 months…..

  29. bjarmson says:

    Hey, don’t worry, the Fed is dropping interest rates towards the free money area again. The next bubble is just around the corner.

  30. tedyc03 says:

    @louv: There are sectors of the economy that haven’t been tanked? Bush needs to get on that right away!

  31. Adam Hyland says:

    I hear the army needs people.

  32. gqcarrick says:

    @GrantGannon: I totally agree with that. When I was unemployed a few years ago it was for 6 months, it was an incredibly depressing experience. I looked all over for any kind of job, I ended up working 3 jobs until I found one job that could replace my income.

  33. kapow! says:

    I currently work in the Compliance Department of a mortgage company whose ship, luckily, did NOT sink last year. I have to fight Sales (or “mortgage bankers”, “loan officers”, what have you) all the time over remaining compliant, making sure they are licensed, educated and protecting our borrowers privacy.

    Some days it seems as though these guys are nothing better than car salesmen (some of them WERE car salesmen) and care about nothing more than their own bottom line (yes I am making gross generalizations, but I have seen very few bankers with whom I would trust to do a loan for me. YES – there are honest and hard-working people in this field, but they normally don’t work on commision.)

    After witnessing much of what I have over the past couple years, I have to say that I AM NOT SURPRISED. Gee – let’s give a $250,000 ARM loan to someone who has a history of not paying their bills, works minimum wage and does not have to provide income documentation and see what happens.

    This industry brought this crisis upon themselves and our country, and I for one am PISSED that the government is suggesting that we as taxpayers step in, bail them out (i.e. Bear Sterns), and be on the hook for any losses. YES – greedy borrowers are to blame as well – but the decision to grant credit rests with the lenders and the bankers who put together those risky deals.

  34. Juggernaut says:

    Geek Squad is looking for a few good men

  35. MercuryPDX says:

    @GrantGannon: I’m in the same boat. I was laid off in July last year, finally found a contract-to-hire job in November. I was doing great there, and two months short of the line a big client of theirs (the one I was hired to work with) cut the work in half. They asked if I could work at home on an “as needed” basis, and that’s where I am now: Sending out resumes to the same companies I did last year, with little to no action. I’m giving it another month, then applying for two lesser paying jobs anywhere I can find them….. Fast food included.

  36. MercuryPDX says:

    @gqcarrick: Thank you for the testimonial. :) I can now see that this is going to be inevitable.

  37. bohemian says:

    I have a few suggestions.
    The Army is hiring.
    Or Haliburton.
    Maybe KBR.
    Maybe force them to live off of unemployment while doing mandatory volunteer work helping the poor.
    Low paid security guard keeping an eye on all those foreclosed homes that are getting trashed.
    The local convenience stores are always hiring.
    Dog kennel cleaner.
    Septic tank spelunker.
    Bed pan cleaner.
    Rent boy.

    I am having a hard time feeling sorry for this guy.

  38. Ah.. The heart of the consumerist. I love it. Good people are out of work and suffering and its a joke. Most of these people are hard working honest folks. I know a lot of mortgage people who are really hurting right now.

    You know who isnt suffering? The dirty ones. The dishonest folks are always able to make a living.

  39. m4ximusprim3 says:

    I think we need some kind of “newer deal” where we put these guys to work on public projects to reverse some of the damage they’ve done-

    Maybe tearing down mcMansions and building public parks and libraries in their place?

  40. ARP says:

    @Steve Trachsel, Ace: Amen. Most of these people were just doing their jobs. Some were shady, but many weren’t. Most importantly, they didn’t make many of the strategic decisions that put us in the spot we are today.

  41. Anitra says:

    I’m sympathetic to this guy, but only as much as I would be for laid-off dotcommers or auto workers. Your industry is imploding – figure out what ELSE you can do, because your old job won’t come back (or at least, not soon enough to help you).

    Yes, being unemployed sucks, but it doesn’t make you special.

  42. MercuryPDX says:

    @bohemian: I’m not a mortgage banker, but I appreciate your suggestions. Hopefully your job won’t lay you off as the economy tanks because of this mess, and you won’t need to take one of those jobs yourself.

  43. ClayS says:

    Good list. You should hold onto it as a reminder of your compassion if you ever find yourself out of work.

  44. GrantGannon says:

    @MercuryPDX: I almost turned a hobby (running) into a temp job by picking up a shift at a local running shoe store. I found that drawing unemployment insurance would be only slightly less than what I would have made at the shoe store.

    Again, if this guy is holding out because he thinks he ‘deserves’ a job that pays what he used to make selling junk loans, then he needs a serious attitude adjustment. You do what you need to do to pay the bills. If he’s got savings and wants to hold out, good, that’s what they’re there for and what I did.

  45. bluebuilder says:
  46. @Steve Trachsel, Ace: I knew you’d be here my good man. And you know that I couldn’t agree with you more. Having worked for one of the GSEs for the past couple of years (until a month ago) I know how many honest people there are out there. It’s lacking in class and character to wish continued unemployment on just about anyone.

    And to whomever made the crack about the loss mit departments, that group at the GSE I was at were among the hardest working people I have ever encountered in my professional life. They came in early and left late and did everything they could to help people. A big part of this that no one talks about is the reluctance of a majority of delinquent borrowers to respond to their lenders’ calls and letters when the borrower starts to get in trouble – and when they finally do, it’s too late.

  47. tamoko says:

    @Anitra: Well put.

  48. tamoko says:

    Male prostitution?

  49. warf0x0r says:

    @TakingItSeriously: How does this help your neighbor you ask?


    It doesn’t. System is broken needs fix’n.

  50. allirob says:

    They can work at McDonald’s. They all helped to cause the issues with the mortgage market, along with borrowers attempting to purchase way above their means. If the mortgage fols had done their jobs properly, they would still have employment in that field. It is your own responsibility to make sure you keep your job by doing it the best you can and looking out for the interests of your employer and customers both.

  51. consumersaur says:

    Better trained CSRs!

  52. katylostherart says:

    i vote troop replacement in iraq after paperwork research.

  53. woodenturkey says:

    well if the cost of food keeps going up i guess i could eat a few

  54. Burn them for heat.

  55. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Shoveling shit in a slaughter house.

  56. Superborty says:

    @ Woodenturkey: Still laughing my ass off. Touche. On another point, I find it hard to believe that everyone wants to blame these folks for the housing issues. Sure they played a decent role but let’s be honest with ourselves. Do you think the “real estate prices never go down” people shouldn’t take any blame. The blind speculators that inflated the bubble with the easy money play no role here? Come on….

  57. Amiga_500 says:

    I graduated college right in the middle of the dot com bust and i’m in IT (and i even had years of experience in IT). Guess they can work at McDonalds or hit the local recruiters like i did and take whatever job is available. No sympathy here.

  58. Squeezer99 says:

    maybe he should think about going into another field of work.

  59. Observer2121 says:

    To anyone who had something negative to say I hope you die. I was laid off from Bear Stearns in September 2007 and am still looking for a job. The more high paid guys like me who get laid off the worse for the rest of the economy. We won’t be buying from your restaurants, won’t be buying new cars, won’t be buying from Home Depot to renovate our homes, won’t be buying anything from owners of American businesses. You may be jealous of the guys who work on wall street because of the high pay but I guarantee none of the guys in India who have taken a lot of our jobs will be spending a penny in this country. Our misfortune will trickle through the whole economy and pretty soon you’ll be writing on this blog about how you’ve been laid off.

  60. lincolnparadox says:

    My suggestion is perhaps taking up the jobs other Americans “don’t want:” agricultural workers, maintenance workers, unskilled construction laborers, packing and shipping plants, simple industrial line work. I hear that employers in these industries actually are risking fines by employing people from other countries to fill these types of positions.

    Cry me a river. If these guys had self-policed their own industry, they might have saved at least half of those jobs. Everyone knew that this was coming, upper management didn’t care and probably kept their jobs.

  61. ClayS says:

    My guess is that those that are unsympathetic to this guy have never been laid off themselves. These low-level brokers that are out of work did not establish the loan criteria that caused the defaults. They worked within their companies’ guidelines and their state laws. I hope that they and anyone else that have lost their jobs can get back on their feet as soon as possible.

  62. megan9039 says:

    Maybe he can ask his old CEO for some money? Seeing how BoA is going to pay him Millions to do the same s*!@ job he did for Countrywide!

    The little guy gets fired – no severance
    CEO gets fired – get Millions in severance

    This must be the new way of the world – screw the average worker.

  63. chauncy that billups says:

    The answer to the question posed by this post is…nothing. We don’t do anything with these 125,000 workers. At 29 this guy was taking home $4600 a month? You know, life has ups and downs. It seems like this generation (I’m included in this at 29) seems to think that life only moves you up, up, up. I blame the fact that the last major downturn this country had (9/11 and the weak recession of 1991 don’t count) happened while we were in diapers. They will all find something else eventually. It’s life. I was out of work and forced to temp at menial jobs for 2 YEARS before I found my current job. And I’ve never taken home $4600 after taxes.

  64. Adam Hyland says:

    @Observer2121: Oh well. Like I said, the army is always hiring. I’m sure that degree of yours included a course in calculus, so you could even become a pilot if you wanted to!

    don’t get all bent out of shape because there is schadenfreude here. and don’t try some scary macro threat, either. The fact that I am happy or unhappy bout you losing your job has nothing to do with whether or not you lose it. And I have little to no sympathy for someone earning over 75k who loses their job. That is the sort of income where you can (in some housing markets) develop a reasonable emergency fund. If you make 22k working as a nursing assistant, tool and die worker or whatever, losing THAT job leaves you with much less of a margin.

    So in short, tough ducks, you were the marginal producer and you got dropped.

  65. Myron says:

    Sounds like an old lawyer joke:

    What do you call 125,000 mortgage brokers on the bottom of the sea?

  66. missdona says:

    For me, it really has nothing to do with their savings plans or the money they made when they were employed. $75,000 in New York is not a whole lot of money. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent living, but it’s not wealthy.

    It’s tough on The Street right now, and I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.

  67. DogTown says:

    Why in the hell should “we” give a shit what these guys do?
    That’s their problem.
    This group of workers is no different than the problems faced by many other kinds workers that are now out of a job.

  68. losiek says:

    Them bankers will do just fine in any management. They fscked up plenty people by pushing too much credit on them, they can continue messing up other sectors.

    Oh, one thing – it must be the higher mgmt as there is not enough money to be misappropriated in the middle/lower tier. And no private jets either, which sounds to me like every banker needs one to commute to work.

  69. Observer2121 says:

    @Adam Hyland:

    You’ll be seeing your income decline soon enough. No industry is in a bubble, 125,000 people not making any money will affect you wether you like it or not.

    I don’t see why you would have more sympathy for a person making 22K as opposed to 75K. Taking delight in the misfortune of people who made moe money that you is just ridiculous.

  70. ARP says:

    @Observer2121: Wow, your arrogance is amazing. You definetely worked at B-S.

    So, trickle down economics is why we should feel sorry for you? Too bad they don’t work.

    Funny, you went from yourself to India and completely passed over the middle class (who actually supports the economy more with their spending than the few wealthy people). How symbolic. You understand there’s a middle and lower class, right? Those are the people that serve you your morning starbucks (and your bump). You may not think of them as humans, but they are. They’re also the backbone of the economy, not you. If our government would support policies to actually give them a break, we’d have a much softer landing from what you caused.

    Oh well, you can sell you McMansion and live in your BMW X5. Your trophy wife and kids that resent you might not be on board though.

  71. missdona says:

    There are huge misconceptions on this thread about the life of average Wall Streeter. Live it before you judge, people.

  72. Me - now with more humidity says:

    bilups: and you never will take home anything decent with that attitude.

  73. pal003 says:

    I am not unsympathetic to anyone unemployed nowadays. But if this guy was one of those greedy mortgage brokers who I encountered but decided against – then I want him to experience some major financial pain first – like losing your home, your savings, and your retirement savings that you had to cash out.

    So if his work motto was ‘greed is good’ then I wish him many years of being homeless.

  74. nichomiz says:

    The Army has lots of good jobs.

  75. Canoehead says:

    Of course, since this guy lives in my hood, if he and his ilk are getting canned, it will push the value of my home down. Aggh the guy doesn’t even work as a mortgage broker any more and he is still screwing me over. Of course, I got my utterly conventional mortgage from a traditional big bank – and they were and continue to be really good, except that they loose my flood insurance certificate every two months and demand that I send them a new one or they will buy flood insurance on my behalf.

  76. parvax says:

    These responses are horribly mean – I hope none of you ever lose your jobs! As for suggestions, he should go back to school and become a nurse, then he’ll always have employment.

  77. fuzzymuffins says:

    here’s a great idea

  78. ARP says:

    It’s quite simple to me- the higher up on the food chain they were, the less sympathy I have as they had more influence over the policies and decisions that were made that caused this problem. Besides they should have big nest egg (or did you invest it in real estate?).

  79. consumersaur says:

    @nichomiz: Not really.

  80. Hodo says:

    Is this a trick question? Would they make good kindling?

  81. Ethel.Mertz says:

    Honey, you’re hot! If you’re a straight boy, go into pharmaceutical sales. You know, the guys that parade in and out of doctors offices hawking samples? They’re all hot and they love flirting with the nurses. And if you’re a friend of Dorothy, well, if this posting doesn’t find you something, become a male escort. You’ll find a sugar daddy in no time.

  82. Ethel.Mertz says:

    @smitty1123: Honey, we’re not even close to the “Soylent Green” stage. However, if “our” party doesn’t win the next election, we may have to remind “People” what “Soylent Green” is all about.

  83. lonewolf333 says:

    Bestbuy always needs more scumbags.

  84. iluvhatemail says:

    @Observer2121: Well your “people” should have to sleep in the bed they made. You got laid off because the company you worked for wanted a quick buck and you are expendable. My wife and i make good salaries and you don’t see us out there going in debt for the economy. What a stupid analogy anyways.

  85. chauncy that billups says:

    @Me: What attitude? That life has ups and downs? That almost all of these 125,000 workers will be ok, and that they should learn to deal with being out of work and keep trying? What is wrong with that attitude? and FYI, with this “attitude” I’m getting a raise in 2 months that will put me well above that take-home. But it doesn’t upset me that I’ve never had it before.

  86. bukz68 says:

    @Observer2121: “To anyone who had something negative to say I hope you die.”

    So does that mean that you hope you die? In all seriousness though I don’t think you’re going to get a job with your “without RICH people like me the economy is going in the shitter” attitude. Perhaps you were one one of those finance buffs who acted with integrity and class but when you work in an industry that has caused a great deal of pain and difficulties you should be prepared for the backlash. I’ve seen quite a few lawyers handle insulting jokes much better than you’ve handled a few blog posts thus far.

  87. drew489 says:

    First off, this kid must NOT be looking for a job or must be picky. It’s easy for any decent sales guy to get a job in Insurance, cars, banks, bank tellers or anything else.

    Secondly, you guys bashing brokers. Just more people jumping on the band wagon…Most brokers I know worked 50 – 70 hours a week for 100% commission. How many of you work that many hours?

    Also, the absolutely stupidity and absurd misrepresentation that a mortgage BROKER ruined someone’s financial life or the economy is so unbelievably short sighted and ignorant…

    Broker’s did nothing but sell products there were available. They did NOT approve them, create the programs, lend the money or have ANY part of the decision process other than actually presenting it to a customer. If the customer did not need or READ the mortgage paperwork, who’s problem is that? THE CUSTOMER’S! But no…more people who don’t want to take accountability for their own decisions.

    If you’re going to sue brokers. Then, in turn, you should sue Burger King restaurants (not the corporation itself) for people who have heart attacks from eating too much fast food, you should be suing 7-11 for selling cigarettes, suing liquor stores for selling booze that causes drunk driving accidents, etc.

    I’m not a mortgage broker anymore but I can tell you I worked much harder than most people I know and I was rewarded for it financially. Go ahead and say it’s lack of ethics but that’s BS too…try pointing the finger at people who actually approved and wrote the guidelines for the mortgages that “ruined” our economy. Those guys had much more control over this problem than any loan officer.

    Find a new scape goat, it’s called the American consumer WHO SIGNED 100+ pages of paperwork & disclosures to put themselves in this position.

  88. iliveinyoureyelid says:

    “What Should We Do With 125,000 Out Of Work Mortgage Bankers?”

    Soylent Green?

  89. fuzzymuffins says:

    nice to see that jobless “big money” people threaten that economy will crumble because they will no longer patronize the dirt paying service industry.

    money may make the world go around, but it is NOT the barometer at which a career is valued. i have more respect for a 35K teacher shaping our future than a 150K wall st baron. now “observer”‘s attitude solidifies that belief further.

    maybe a few months on unemployment and a few years in the working class without perks for the aspiring ‘elite’ will open their eyes to what the majority of america is dealing with.

    i suffered HEAVILY from the tech crash around 2000. from 6 figures to 8 bucks an hour in six months. i waited tables for 3 years till i got a decent tech job back. so, “been there done that”…. but i stuck it out because i love my career, not the money.

    if money is all that drives your existance, you doom us all.

    selfishness is what has put the US in the toilet right now. humility and compassion is the only thing that will get it out.

  90. mandarin says:

    Welcome to the real world. Now you can either keep looking for the same job or you can change your career just like some of us did when we knew having a business degree isnt enough.

  91. tmlfan81 says:

    @zibby: FTW

  92. Adam Hyland says:

    @Observer2121: I probably won’t. But 2nd Lt pay for the army is nice, and payments made in a combat zone are tax free. So get cracking.

    Of course 125k out of work will help to depress the economy. But that doesn’t mean that those 125k will still have jobs i f we just think good thoughts about them. Furthermore, people in industries that helped cause the problem get a smaller portion of my sympathy. do I think that everyone laid off at Arthur Andersen was a crook? No. But that might teach people to be a lot more discriminating about who they get a job from.

    However, the people at countrywide ALL participated in this mess. They all pushed bad loans, strong-armed appraisers and browbeat customers. I don’t feel sorry one bit for them.

  93. Odwalla says:

    Gee, Republican much? Trickle-down didn’t work in the when your exalted Regan pushed the God-awful idea in the ’80s. It didn’t work when GeriatriBush pushed it in the ’90s and it still isn’t working now. Shut up, sit down, and get a job that produces something tangible.

    Geebus, you’re like a petulant Charlie Sheen at the end of, “Wall Street”.

  94. Adam Hyland says:

    @drew489: so the people who pushed the loans aren’t responsible because they didn’t draft them but the customer is responsible? so instead of ~100k brokers, it is millions of homeowners who were personally responsible for the housing downturn? Each and every one of them plotted the failure of our economy and all came to the same conclusion about which mortgages to take, who to get them from and how to have their home appraised? Did they also resell those mortgages as bonds while obscuring their true risk structure? Boy those dastardy homeowners are at it again!

    come on.

  95. parliboy says:


    I teach.

    I scoff at your 50 hours a week.

  96. drew489 says:

    @Adam Hyland: Who signed the contracts? Who underwrote the guidelines to which these loans funded? I don’t understand why homeowner’s aren’t responsible for this.

    Let me give you an example. Let’s say I go to a Ferrari dealership and they tell me I can get a Ferrari for no money down and $100 a month, but on the 60th month, my payment is going to go to $10,000 per month. So I say, “YEA! Let’s do this, I’ll figure out the $10,000 a month when the time comes”.

    Who would you choose to blame? Ferrari for making an attractive car w/ an apealing financing program? The salesman for selling the car? The dealer for offering the car?

    Or would (SHOULD) you choose the consumer who either didn’t read the paperwork or didn’t calculate his/her ability to pay, or not pay, back this loan?

    It absolutely blows my mind that people blame “the messenger”.

    Let me put it yet another way. Let’s say the banks NEVER came out with these programs and therefore NONE of these BAD BAD EVIL loan officers had a job as a loan officer…would we be in the same boat? And, more importantly, would those same hitleresque loan officers be ruining the world in some other way?

    It’s just a joke. We are/were a scapegoat for mistakes made by people MUCH more important and wealthier than us.

    I knew a lot of extremly hard working and educated loan officers. The media portrays them as ex-convict-life criminals looking to literally steal money from poor unsuspecting consumers. The reality is the consumer either…




    People need to take accountability for their actions. Period.

  97. Erwos says:

    @Adam Hyland: By the same token, it’s not as if the mortgage brokers were plotting against America. They were helping get people into homes, and turn a tidy profit for their employer.

    There’s no one entity entirely at fault here.

  98. Buckler says:

    I suggest that, when the time comes, they go on the “B” Ark.

  99. Tijil says:

    They need to start practicing the important phrases of their next job so the can consistently say it with a broad smile.

    (That would be either “Would you like fries with that?” or “”Paper or plastic?”)

    Learning such job specific phrases will help them in their future job interviews.

    (Sounds brutal? Not really. Many people right now are in dire straights, and basically losing everything they’ve worked for all their lives. The mortgage bankers are no different, and deserve no more consideration than others. Suck it up, put on the paper hat, and smile.)


  100. greensmurf says:

    @Adam Hyland: That has got to be the dumbest stereotypical comment I have heard:

    “However, the people at countrywide ALL participated in this mess. They all pushed bad loans, strong-armed appraisers and browbeat customers. I don’t feel sorry one bit for them. “”

    What? so the employees that serviced loans, that worked in areas that have nothing to do with sales, that did data entry, filing or any other position not directly involved with loan origination and even if they did I am sure there were not people that tried to do the right thing but were over ruled by their managers?

    Okay then by your reasoning I take it that ALL people in the service toss defensless puppys off cliffs and laugh about it, and shoot random dogs and animals for fun and a laugh with their buddies while they video tape it?

    And I guess “ALL” Borrowers were stupid and tame cattle that let themselves be lead into their money trap, it doesnt matter that they withdrew all the equity in their home to get those BMW’s and boat, and 1245 inch plasma HD tv’s, the trips to europe, and all the other fancy junk they used the money for.

    Catch my drift? You might want to remove the “ALL” from your statement and not put a umbrella to label all employes of this company.
    While I am sure there was unethical happenings here and there. The borrowers are just as to blame for the situation as the mortgage companies.
    Sorry it takes two to Tango, the fact is borrowers put the blindfolds on themselves and the mortgage companies led them down the path.
    But this doesnt mean all employees of a mortgage company are to blame.

  101. drew489 says:

    It really comes down to the fact that most of the people here commenting don’t have any experience w/ the loan process other than what they’ve read on the internet or POSSIBLY in their home buying experience.

    If any of you actually knew what it takes to get a loan approved and how completely ludicrious it is to say loan officers forced loan down people’s throats…most of these posts would not have been made.

    Do any of you realize how many people are involved with a mortgage? There are dozens of people that have to collaborate to get a loan approved, signed, funded and serviced. The common links, however, are there has to be a bank/lender/investor to lend the money AND there has to be a borrower willing to sign 50 – 100+ pages of paperwork before the loan is approved.

    It’s not like Countrywide or any other lender was sending out blank checks to customers and saying, “Go ahead, spend this money, you’ll never have to pay it back and there are no consquences to borrowing money ever!”.

    No, not even close. First, someone has to craft the guidelines in which said investors will be lending hundreds of thousands/millions/billions of dollars to…someone has to pay for an appraisal (and at Countrywide, you were not allowed to even know who the appraiser was or talk to him/her, most of the time), the customer had to give a loan officer all their private information such as social security # and date of birth, a LO had to input the info and pull their credit, the credit had to be interpeted by someone and then graded, a customer had to sign disclosures and send over piles of paperwork, processors would have to process all this paperwork, underwriters would have to review and verify all this paperwork, investors would have to review the paperwork and issue a commitment, lawyers or title companies would have to review deeds/titles, and on and on and on.

    Finally, the customer would have to sit down and HOPEFULLY review all the paperwork they are signing. THEN the customer had 72 hours to COMPLETELY reverse the loan at anytime and for any reason by faxing over a recission letter to the bank. FINALLY after all of this it would fund.

    How could a loan officer be responsible for all those decisions, all that paperwork? They couldn’t. It was a coordinated effort finalized by the consumer who signed the documents and accepted the loan.


  102. newspapersaredead says:

    I think this guy should go back to Ohio. A byproduct of the faltering economy in Ohio is the booming payday loan market.


    I’m sure this guy would be more quaified that most of the loan officers that work at these places and could “get his foot in the door” at one of these places.

    Good Luck Hager!

  103. SisterHavana says:

    @GrantGannon: Hear, hear! I got laid off from my newspaper job in late August 2006. (the paper cut 100 positions and there have been three rounds of layoffs since then!) Sent out resume after resume after resume, had a few interviews, mostly a whole bunch of nothing. Unemployment ran out, kept job hunting like mad, temped here and there when there were available assignments (Registered with a few agencies). Even that dried up in the last few months. I didn’t have CNN knocking on my door, wanting to do a feature on me, let me tell you.

    Being laid off IS incredibly humbling. It’s not fun to be told that you will not be considered for a job, even though you’ve got loads of experience in what’s needed, because you didn’t major in a certain subject in college YEARS ago. It’s not fun to be told – when you’re told anything at all – that you’re underqualified or overqualified or the position isn’t available after all.
    Okay, off soapbox.

    The good news is that I start a new job a week from Monday!

  104. Adam Hyland says:

    @drew489: Don’t get so worked up. Most of us don’t have working experience in these fields. I certainly don’t. I’ve never been a banker or a mortgage broker. That doesn’t stop me from reading about it (on the internet and otherwise) and understanding some of the basics.

    We get that it is complicated. It’s ENORMOUSLY complicated. That means that we can’t funnel this down to one party at fault, and we shouldn’t. It wasn’t this guy’s fault that home values were too high. It wasn’t this guy’s fault that sub-prime mortgages made it into mortgage backed bonds camouflaged with good mortgages.

    that isn’t my contention. Just like any problem, there were multiple points of failure here. There are also multiple potential sources for failure that didn’t result in this crisis by themselves.


    The people at these firms played a CRUCIAL part in furthering this mess. Did banks play a part? Sure. Did non-bank financial intermediaries play a part by drafting those derivatives? Sure. Did the originator of the ARM style contracts play a part? Sure. Did the customers play a part? Sure.

    But the banks and the loan officers were at the crucial point to say that a majority of these loans were probably bad and the structures they were designed around were more than likely going to generate more defaults than would be acceptable. they were the closest to the transaction and held the information required to make that decision. they know what past mortgage structure looked like. They knew what the likelihood of default was.

    What it comes down to is the fact that they weren’t motivated to restrict borrowing. Of COURSE countrywide wasn’t writing blank checks, but they were lending to individuals with bad credit on a limited down payment situation with rising payments over time. Anyone in the lending business who doesn’t see that as a problem probably doesn’t really merit that job. The company in general but the customer facing portion of it in particular didn’t have a motivation to limit borrowing, they had a motivation to push people to borrow and to get them into mortgages that were most amenable to the interests of the broker. A negative amortization loan is a much better instrument, in the company’s eyes, than a fixed rate loan–assuming the default risk is the same (it isn’t), the present value of the sum of future payments on that type of loan is higher. It’s a better deal for the broker and the bank and a bad deal for the customer.

    Combine that with a societal myopia about housing prices and a seller’s market and you have a perfect situation to pressure home buyers into loans. Don’t like the terms that we are offering, that’s fine, another buyer will. We will just offer HIM the same loan and you’ll have to wait months to buy a new house when the prices will probably be higher. If you think that pressure like that has no impact on actions you are fooling yourself.

    This is not to say that home buyers were faultless. there are plenty of people who didn’t understand what they were doing. but there were FAR more people convinced by the ‘wisdom’ of the market and of the financial prognosticators (and by their loan officers, realtors, and bankers) that their home value would increase at above-average rates. THOSE people are the majority of the folks who got genuinely burned by this. No matter what claptrap you might say about contracts, culpability or whatever, the combination of financing loans on the basis of home value (yes, the fault of the banks and the brokers) and a populace told that home values always go up helped to result in this total mess.

    the complication of the issue does not excuse them. Home buyers are losing their homes. and mortgage brokers are losing their jobs. good.

  105. alstein says:

    Infantry. We need some in Iraq.

  106. Trojan69 says:

    Spare me the “woe is me” and “unless you’ve been there” memes. I was there. I went to college and sacrificed to get a piece of paper that said I was qualified to do a job for which I was perfectly suited prior to stepping foot on campus. I played the damn credentialism game.

    Then I got to work as a grunt for two years with no promises and less than minimum wage. I was within two moths of giving up my dream. Then, I got the offer. I moved to NYC. I kicked butt and received glowing recommendations for increase in salary and responsibility. KABOOM! Across the board layoffs. Last-in, first-out. Goodbye dream company, dream job.

    Anyway…in my experience there is nearly always a direct correlation that those who are willing to shade truth and shirk ethical and moral responsibility – who “game the system” – are the ones who move up quickly. In finance, this was an absolute given.

    Anyone with a conscience, and a lick of common sense, all the way down to clerical well understood that the real estate valuations were ethereal (aka phony). But just about everyone went along. It just so happens that these same folks are now being made to pay the piper. Tough.

    If any of y’all choose to remain in a place where morals and ethics aren’t a prime consideration, do not. DO NOT, come crying to the rest of us when life turns against you.

    For those who are genuinely innocent and were completely fooled, let this be a lesson. Next time, take care to look beneath the surface. Find out who and what you are dealing with. It isn’t rocket science.

    Why is it that a company like Southwest Airlines has folks banging down doors to get hired, but places like cable companies have huge turnover? Open your eyes.

  107. JustaConsumer says:

    I think chain gangs are a good idea. I would like to chain them up with the “title insurance” people.

  108. clank-o-tron says:

    @Trojan69: This is a really well-thought out post. Consider this my +1.

  109. VikingP77 says:

    Boo hoo!

  110. bellecat says:

    At the risk of sounding like I am trolling for sympathy I would like to throw in my two cents. My husband got into the mortgage business years ago when a friend of his opened a brokerage. After the few months it took him to realize he’s not a sales guy he took a job there as a loan processor. As the company got bigger and the mortgage business started booming, he witnessed the loan officers’ increasing willingness to push back ethical and legal boundaries.

    Thankfully he found a job with a national lender as a loan processor and left the small brokerage. Surely working for the largest national mortgage company at the time would provide an environment with enough rules, processes and oversight that he wouldn’t have to worry about being surrounded by fraud. In the meantime, he decided to finish his degree so he could get out of the biz. A year later, laid off. Entire department jettisoned.

    Got another job at another large national lender. Lower level management this time so that was good. Actually received quite a bit of recognition for his mad fraud detection skills. Pushed back on a lot of loans. Made the legal team happy but pissed off the loan officers left and right. Got a few fired on the way but I’m here to tell you that the loan officers had to be pretty damn blatant before the company would kick them to the curb.

    Uh oh, mortgage business is starting to get talked about in the press.

    ME: “Honey, think you might want to look elsewhere?”

    HIM: “Nope, my company stopped doing those loans a year and a half ago. I’m good, the big boss just said so. He just came back from the national meeting with kudos and smiles. We’re the only office in the entire company making money instead of losing it.”

    Shit you not, one week later the whole office was closed. They handed out cardboard boxes at the elevators as the employees came in for work.

    Alrighty, got the business degree, he can go anywhere now, right? Not so much. Six months later finally got a job at Sprint. Good job, perfect for him, he loved it. Travel was part of the job and he started that on his third week. On his very first day on the road I had to email him and ask him about the post I had just seen on Consumerist about Sprint layoffs. Just the email you want to pick up when your plane finally touches down in another city.

    I’m sure you can see where this is headed. Yep, laid off again. This time it’s really bothering him because he finally had a job he truly enjoyed.

    So I threw all of this out (and I apologize for the length) to make this point: We tried. He tried. You can say all you want that because he worked in that industry that makes him slimy and unethical and the root cause of all evil. But he’s not. He’s a goody-goody. I don’t say that because he’s a saint, he’s just too paranoid to be a law breaker. He’s not good at rule breaking. He’s not even good at lying. And he’s not comfortable with screwing people. He left the first job because of his conscience. He had to leave the next two because the big guys had enough money and they were done playing.

    We’re not stupid, we’ve lived here all our lives and know Sprint’s history. When he took the job we knew there was a very distinct possibility it would lead to another layoff. We didn’t think it would be this quick, but there you go. He wanted to work and be a productive citizen and take care of his family. We don’t want to file unemployment, we want to make it on our own.

    So now what? Still think he deserves to be out of job? Those 125,000 mortgage people out of jobs? By and large, those aren’t the loan officers. Those aren’t the reps from Countrywide and First Magnus and BoA that brought in lunch for entire brokerages and authorized hefty kickbacks for the brokers that got you to sign a loan for 1/2 a percentage point more than you could have gotten. They aren’t the appraisers that took cash payments under the table for artificially inflating house valuations. They are the people behind the scenes that were just trying to make a living. Yes, sucks to be us right now. Nope, don’t want your sympathy. Life is shitty sometimes and we’ll get through it, we always do. But please stop and think for a minute before making blanket judgements about someone you don’t know.

    Oh, and as a kicker, one of the big lenders came back and sued everyone in that original office for loans that had been done five years prior. Since hubby’s name was on the paperwork as the processor, we got sued, too. It was the last loan he worked on before he left. He hadn’t even finished it but because his name was in the file somewhere he was included. Lender went bankrupt shortly after the lawsuit. We wondered why they pushed so hard to get everyone to settle quickly, now we know.

  111. bellecat says:

    Okay, thought that lawsuit was a good enough kicker, but the news is on right now and they just reported that Gary Forsee’s compensation package from Sprint included $1.5 million in salary and retirement benefits of $89,516 A MONTH FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. He got fired for incompetence and running the company into the pooper and he is still making TWICE AS MUCH IN A MONTH AS MY HUSBAND WOULD HAVE MADE IN A YEAR. I have not cried through this whole thing until right now. This is not fair.

  112. zolielo says:

    Seems as if the fellow in the article was already a soldier or seaman for he was applying for veteran health benefits.

  113. clevershark says:

    When I was laid off by a dotcom in 2001 and spent a few months dipping into my savings because I was not eligible for unemployment benefits (I wasn’t a permanent resident) I don’t recall any mortgage bankers being too concerned about it. I also don’t recall whining about it.

  114. FLConsumer says:

    I have an idea! They can take all of the jobs that we currently have illegal aliens doing! What a concept — American workers, working in America! Brilliant!

  115. dazzlezak says:


    Juggernaut I was going to say 2 words, Best Buy!

    You stole my Blue shirt=Orange jumpsuit thunder

  116. RocktheDebit says:

    Bankruptcy law, for the ones who still have a remnant of a conscience. (One of my coworkers left Wells Fargo a few months ago). It’s a growing industry now and a good way to pay some karmic debt. The rest… I hear the Army’s looking. Or maybe organic farming – it’s not too dissimilar from mortgage broking, in that both fields involve a lot of bullshit.

  117. @RandoX: precisely. I hear the Americans need cannon fodder for Iraq.

  118. banmojo says:

    Put them all to work in Alaska, building a pipeline and the necessary infrastructure for us to start pumping all that Alaskan oil down to the other states so we can have cheaper gas, cheaper transport costs, and start exporting oil ourselves!! I want some of that Dubai thing over HERE!! NOW!!!

    Along with them, put every other bum who’s on social welfare (but has the physical/mental ability to work) to work in Alaska, building that damn pipeline!!

    I’m SICK of this shit, America needs to UNIONIZE, and MAKE the damn government do our bidding NOW!!

  119. factotum says:

    Where’s my violin?

  120. caranguejo says:

    The dude wouldn’t have a problem if he just took any job he could get, and learn to cut back his (probably) excessive lifestyle he cultivated while working as a mortgage banker.

    Maybe he should work in healthcare… they always need people.

  121. brent_w says:

    Force them to live in homeless shelters as a punishment for destroying the economy?

  122. tamoko says:

    This is the BEST THREAD EVER on Consumerist!! It’s like watching a cage match between a pack of wolerines and a platoon of gimpy Navy SEALs.

    Awesome!! Just awesome!!

    @Observer2121: I don’t agree with your logic, but I respect your opinions. Good luck regardless.

  123. axiomatic says:


  124. Mr. Gunn says:

    I’ll bet there are some great jobs in high-end home fixtures, custom cabinet making, marble, that sort of thing.

    You know, the stuff that people tend to invest in when they’re going to be in their home for a long time, as opposed to trying to flip it for a quick buck.

    Oh, or how about title research?

  125. synergy says:

    @louv: You and me both.

  126. synergy says:

    @Observer2121: Nope. I wasn’t foolish enough to go into the business field.