Greatest American Bank
Put that coffee down.
In 2004 I was working for a bank in the states, one of the biggest mortgage lenders in the country. Trapped in an office with a corner cubicle, I was surrounded by seven divorcees, some incredible women, and others on the angry and bitter side. They all treated me well, but not so much each other. They sought me out as a sounding board for their petty squabbles. I had to play Switzerland and found the best way was to just listen, nod, and keep my mouth shut. It was a rollercoaster each day.
It was the wild west for home loans.
The underwriting matrix was trashed.
Every application was approved.
You only needed to show up and have a pulse to get approved for anything.
No job? No problem.
No credit? No problem.
“No speakah Ingleesh? No problemo amigo!”
No income, assets, future, brain, or ability to earn anything for all eternity?
No problem. Acme Home Loans had something for everyone.
Between 2000 and 2006 I was a paper server in the trenches of what would bring the entire global financial system to its knees and ruin millions of lives, though I didn’t quite know it at the time. To be clear I did not sell subprime mortgages, only A-paper, but even that became extremely dubious in the years after George W. Bush declared that every American should own a home.
2004 was semi-shady. 2005 was slim-shady. But 2006 was the year things really started to go berserk. All of my initial training was thrown out the window.