- Posted August 1, 2008 by
Elicott City, Maryland
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Obama's debt cutting plan
Life after a career as a mortgage lender
In January of 2000 everything seemed to be heading in the right
direction. At age 30, after a decade in the restaurant industry, I took
a job as loan officer with a prominent local lender in the suburbs of
Washington, DC. Within two years, my hard work and honest lending
practices had moved me up the company ladder and given me a loyal base
of clients; I was a senior sales manager earning a good commissioned
income. In January of 2003 I married my wife, we purchased our first
home, and had our first child in early of 2004.
After the shock to the economy on 9/11, and subsequent recovery,lending institutions began to loosen the guidelines for home purchasing
and refinancing. Unprecedented overinflation of home values created a
frenzy in the housing market over the next few years. Some, but not
nearly enough people in positions to have the appropriate foresight,
saw this as a house of cards.
Many thousands of mortgage brokers and lenders were placing a
newly created pool of credit worthy home buyers into mortgage loans.
The term "credit worthy" took on a whole new meaning to these
predators; the theory being to get them in the home with a payment they
can afford right now, regardless of their ability to pay that note when
the ARM adjusted.
In 2006 as the mortgage crisis began to permiate the economy, tens of
thousands of homeowners began to find themselves with rate and payment
adjustments they could not afford. The predators who placed these
unsuspecting homeowners in their predicaments were either nowhere to
be found or preparing to pounce again, providing short lived relief
that would come with long term and devastating consequences.
As a mortgage lender who has always prided myself on my honesty and
integrity, I was appalled by what was happening in my industry. Never
having placed a single client in a sub prime loan, I continued to do my
best to educate my clients and provide the most sensible loan products
and sound finacial solutions the industry had to offer.
Alas, in 2007 when the crisis was full blown and investors began to
pull out and tighten lending guidelines, my niche of financially savy
home buyers and home owners stood pat. My client pool, and referral
pool of business began to dry up and my income drastically declined.
Early this year I was forced to sell my home in order to downsize my
life and provide for my family. Several months ago I made the decision
to leave the industry I loved. The future of my family was at stake and
I had to make a change.
Ironically, the years of honesty and integrity as a proven producer and
manager have turned out to be more of a curse than a blessing. I have
been lumped in with the predators that largley created this crisis; a
pariah, a scoundrel, and thief. A resume that I worked eight long years
to build is barely worth the paper it's printed on; tossed aside
hundreds of times by company after company.
As I search for employement to provide for my family, I can't help but
ask myself if there was something that I did wrong or that I could have
done differently. the conclusion I have reached is that I, like most
american's out of work in this difficult time, did nothing wrong. I was
just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thankfully, most of us can
hold our heads high in the face of this tumultuous time. My integrity
is fully intact, I can only hope that an employer out there will see
beyond the stigma of my mortgage lender resume and see the man I truly