Several years before the mortgage collapse in 2008, I used to work for what was the biggest sub prime mortgage lending company in the United States. In fact, the only reason I would even tell this story is because they are no longer in business because of all their shady business practices. One of my best friends who was a high level manager at the time had somebody resign on him out the blue so he ended up needing a extra body so he wouldn’t be under staffed going into the next month. He was under some serious pressure from the regional manager to hire somebody before the weekend so he wouldn’t wind up in the doghouse with some fucked up numbers. I didn’t really get it, for me it just sounded like some company bureaucratic bullshit. I remember it was last Saturday of the month when he called me that day, but it kind of seemed like he was in a sort of panic but after her told me the situation and that I would have to quit my current job and start on Monday he offered me a position on his team and I quit my job that same day.
Honestly, I didn’t know a dam thing about mortgage lending or sub prime this and that, I just knew that I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to earn a decent living. One thing I did know though was that my friend was earning over six figures a year as a portfolio manager so even with him bringing me on as a loan officer, I figured I could at least earn 50K or more if played my cards right. The good news was that the only interview I had with him consisted of us drinking a few beers over a couple of games of Madden, that was it. Truth be told, he probably could of picked anybody, but he did me a solid. He knew I was interested in getting on at some point and I know he wanted to bring me on board in the future but I wanted to get my real estate license first, but when it’s time to move, it’s time to move.
This was the first legitimate job I had making more money than I knew what to do with. I’ve always been one of the sharpest knives in the drawer, so when he told me there wasn’t going to be any formal training or that he wasn’t going to have time to show me the ropes and that I was going to have to learn as I went, I was all in. The day before I started, I took the last of the cash I had and went up to Sears and bought me a couple of white dress shirts a tie or two a few pairs of slacks and a cheap pair of hard toe shoes. I wore so many black ties and white dress shirts you would a thought I worked for a funeral parlor, but nevertheless I was off to the races.
When I started that following Monday morning, it was like I was like I had stepped into a scene in the Twilight Zone. More than half of these loan officers were sweating like dogs because they were so coked out the other half were slamming tall cans of Red Bull back to back, the rest were talking a million miles an hour among one another or bragging about who made the most money last month, who had the fastest car or who’s girl had the biggest fake titties. It was literally like a jungle in there. By the way there were several potty-mouthed women on our team too and given the chance they would chime in and talk shit with the best of them. Actually, I liked the place and I fit right in.
This was the boiler room at its finest. It’s not that I was surprised by any of this, I just didn’t expect it to be like that. I was thrown into the lions den on my first day. Taking applications left and right and pulling credit reports. You see, nobody other than my friend knew I didn’t know shit, so I had to wing it as best I could and somewhat fake my knowledge and experience, until I got myself up to speed to really figure out what the hell I was even doing. However, within a few weeks on the phones and making a zillion and one cold calls, I had me a nice little pipeline of business and things were rolling. I hadn’t closed any loans at this point but it was nice to not have sit or look at an empty desk anymore. I would pick up on what other loan officers did to make money and really when it came down to it this wasn’t brain surgery. Not at all.
The first deal I closed was for about 400K with this married couple from Connecticut. They had all the right paperwork for the loan and was more than eager to get this done so they could pay off some debts and take a vacation. Now, if everything went through and they signed the papers (which they had), I would get a check at months end for about three grand before taxes. Doesn’t seem like a whole lot for what the home was worth but when you do this 10 or 12 times in a month you got yourself a nice pretty pile of gold. After all the double and triple checking and all the second sets of eyes I had look at the documents for me and after all the pre celebration about me funding my first loan. I made one critical error.
This is where things got fucked up royally because I never checked their credit report to see if they had any other mortgages that needed to be paid off (which they did) or if they had any late payments on them (which they also had). I really didn’t know what to look for other than what I was told to, but best believe shit slipped through the cracks. Not a big deal though right? True, except that they had already signed the papers and the loan got funded. Normally, one of the girls would a caught the error down in the funding department but they never did.
So what does that mean you may ask, well the homeowners still get their money but my cover would surely be blown. What I had committed inadvertently was a nice shot of mortgage fraud by the loan getting funded and all the checks getting cut. Me getting canned was the least of my worries, I mean it wouldn’t have been the first time, but my friend would lose his job and they would certainly open up a investigation through the Department of Real Estate on him and me everybody on our team who I’m sure we’re funding illegitimate loans and I would be looking at some serious jail time and fines up the ass because I never went through the proper training or received any sort of certification to be able to work there in the first place and this was my first fucking deal. To say the least I was on my way to bringing the whole house down single handedly. All within less than a month after I started.
Well I’ll Be Double Dogged Damn
To be continued…..