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A Cause to Support – the ARM Industry Needs To Occupy Wall Street!
I know, I know, we're getting into the game a bit late, but this may be our final, great chance to not only get positive press but to further our own agenda as well. It's time to Occupy Wall Street.
What's that, you say? Leave our comfy desks and auto-dialers and join a bunch of recycled or reincarnated Hippies to bite the manicured fingers on the hand that feeds us, to attack the very same financial institutions which has filled our calling queues and pockets for oh-so-many glorious years? Yes.
Hear me out as I present a considerable number of reasons for us to weigh in on the side of these protestors and others of us who comprise the "99ers." (1% rich; 99% poor)
#OccupyWallStreet (on Twitter) is a movement that began in NYC on September 17 with an encampment in the financial district. The occupiers proclaimed their methods to be non-violent and their purpose to be the ending of the moneyed corruption of this country.
Like a spark to tinder, it caught fire.
What started out as an isolated protest group unacknowledged in the mainstream press has spread nationally and internationally, reaching Madrid, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Madison, Toronto, London, Athens, Sydney, Stuttgart, Tokyo, Milan, Amsterdam, Algiers, Tel Aviv, Portland, Chicago, Palestine, Phoenix, Montreal, Cleveland, Atlanta, Kansas City, Dallas, Orlando and Miami…and on and on.
Notice any positive parallels? Our industry is certainly people-powered, we can be found in cities nationally and internationally, we assert that our methods are non-violent, and our purpose is to…make a buck or two? (That last doesn't seem catchy enough.)
And, we have common ground in attacking Wall Street transgressions. After all, have these people not undermined the very source of our revenue – uncontested debt? Legitimate debt, legitimately owed, has always given our industry a fairly decent shot at working hard to both satisfy our clients and make a fair return on that effort.
Thanks to Wall Street, this is becoming impossible.
Think about it. Even if a debt we are pursuing is undisputed and acknowledged by the debtor, thanks to the ripple effects of the Great Recession (which no one disputes was brought on by the greed and excesses of Wall Street), fully one-sixth of U.S. citizens live in poverty and overall some 18% of our workers are either unemployed or underemployed.
A few examples of the getting-blood-out-of-turnips problem we are facing:
Medical. Roughly 40% of consumer collections is in the medical field. With roughly 50,000,000 Americans without health insurance and health-profiteering unencumbered by legal strictures adding to what is owed, how do we expect to collect from a shrinking pool of those who are still well and still employed?
School Loans. Wall Street moved into "Higher Ed" a few years back by bankrolling For-Profit Colleges. They, in turn, charged excessive tuition (by any standard) and then annually proceeded to dump students into the workforce burdened by tens of thousands of dollars in loans. Student debt is reaching 1 Trillion dollars – already having passed credit card debt – and is seen as the next "meltdown bubble." Student loan default rates are vaulting into the teens, and fully 50% of these defaults are from students who attended for-profit colleges.
Our industry has already begun to collect on those accounts, and we are surely "feeling their pain." Try getting as much as a $50/Month payment out of a kid flipping hamburgers at a local fast-food outlet who is saddled with as much as $100,000 in debt.
In fact, there is a major student-stoked national campaign that is demanding that ALL student loan debt be forgiven – and it is gaining momentum. Put THAT in your portfolio and smoke it.
Credit Cards. Speaking of credit cards – a major source of lust and revenue for debt purchasers as well as traditional agencies – but is it really profitable – or even ethical to collect on? Banks not only ran up these losses by the unconscionable escalation of interest rates and service fees, but then sold our industry hundreds of millions of dollars in "tainted" write-off's which never should have been sent out to third-parties to start.
I am referring, of course, to the famous "Linda Almonte" whistle-blowing case at JP Morgan Chase which is still wending its way through the halls of government oversight agencies. That shoe, when it drops, will not land lightly. It will shake the banking – and our – industry.
Mortgage/Home Loans. Faulty foreclosure paperwork, loans proven to be incomplete and in some cases downright fraudulent, and the outrageous robo-signing of mortgage with or without proper authentication; how it is that not one banker or wall street executive has been arrested?
Things are so rotten in Bankster Land that the Attorney Generals in a number of states are refusing to release a number of our major banks from lender liability. Banks have been seeking broad releases to protect them from legal claims growing out of securitization, servicing, loan costs, unresponsiveness to requests for modification and robo-signed foreclosures, etc. Santa will not grant them their wishes this year.
Collateral Damage. Yep, you know them well – the people who acknowledge their debts, are more than willing to pay them off, but due to job or home loss brought about by a bankrupted economy – have barely enough to meet even basic needs for food and shelter.
Now, let's get back to our thesis – that the ARM Industry would be well-served by joining our young and unemployed friends on the protest lines. Let's let them know that they are not the only ones who feel, in their words, "wronged by the corporate forces of the world" and that "upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors."
As responsible citizens and business owners, we must stand up for the legitimate rights of the debtors, our neighbors.
After all, we want our neighbors to stand up for OUR legitimate rights, yes? See you at "Liberty Square."
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