Green Credit & Me
Okay, I’m back from a much needed vacation (more on that later) and there seems to be some amount of chatter going on out there in on-line-loan-modification-land about yours truly, apparently started by some guy named Mo Beddard, or whatever his name is, I really don’t know. Apparently, he’s some sort of mortgage-broker-turned-loan-modification-blogger-type who has, for whatever reason, gotten it into his modicum of grey matter that I’m somehow a bad guy because I liked the guys that operated a company called Green Credit Solutions, or Green Credit Law Center.
You see, the California State Bar Task Force recently shut down Green Credit as they were working hard to finish negotiating on behalf of the 1,500 or so homeowners that remained in the incredibly inefficient, and down right stupefying loan modification negotiation process, brought to all of us by our banks and federal government.
According to the company’s records, since its inception in the latter part of 2007, the company represented approximately 5,000 homeowners seeking loan modifications; 1,000 of which were either declined and never charged, or received refunds for whatever reason. Therefore, at the end of their day, Green Credit successfully completed loan modifications for roughly 2,500 homeowners, which I might point out is more than most of the lenders or servicers participating in President Obama’s Home Affordable Modification Program, known by the wonky acronym, HAMP.
And that makes Green Credit… NOT A LOAN MOD SCAM. Are there any questions about this point? A “loan mod scam” is a company that takes your money and delivers nothing in return. A “loan mod scam” does not save 2,500 homeowners from being thrown out of their homes by obtaining loan modification agreements from banks and servicers.
Moe has also written a stream of utter and entirely unfounded nonsense about me being paid by law firms as a result of referring homeowners to their practices, something that has simply NEVER HAPPENED. I’ve tried to explain this fact to Mo by commenting on his blog several times, but although I don’t know the guy from Adam, he’s certainly shown himself to be someone who prefers not to be bothered by facts. He even implies that I’m some sort of criminal in several of his almost incoherent diatribes. I’m not going to bother responding to stuff like that because it just seems silly to do so, but recently I spoke with an attorney that’s had some dealings with Mo a few years back, along with a few others that have known Mo, and it’s interesting that he and Green Credit do have something in common: They’ve both shut down firms offering to help homeowners obtain loan modifications. Oh well, no matter…
Mo is obviously some sort of sociopath with a following and I guess I’m supposed to care one way or the other when he says something. I don’t, however, so let’s get to Green Credit and end this interminable boredom. I’m only going to do this once, so if anyone cares about this topic… now’s the time to pay attention.
I met the guys at Green Credit last year in the late fall… maybe November of 2008. One of their senior executives contacted my firm, asking that I meet with them in my role as a communications strategist.
The senior managers at Green Credit were very forthcoming in showing me their internal operation and allowed me to interview several of their clients so I could learn more about the whole loan modification conundrum. They ended up retaining my firm for a couple of months to create a few things like an electronic brochure, a newsletter, and other miscellaneous minor stuff like that. My main consultative contribution was to tell Green Credit’s senior managers that they should be extremely understanding of the plight of homeowners, and further that they should go out of their way to let homeowners know that today’s situation is not their fault. It’s the banks that broke the world through fraud and unconscionable leverage, not homeowners. My firm has represented literally hundreds of companies in the U.S. and abroad and by comparison, Green Credit would be considered a tiny client engagement, to the point of being insignificant.
Months later, in the Spring of 2009, Green Credit was audited by the Department of Real Estate and they invited me sit through that audit, which I did. I asked the DRE examiner whether they were doing anything seriously wrong, or whether it was a matter of administrative compliance, and the examiner stated that it was only compliance issues as far as the DRE was concerned.
The State Bar closed them recently, charging that they were “practicing law without a license,” which sounds pretty bad, but I don’t think anyone was actually concerned that they were going to go to court and try any cases, or anything like that.
You see, last October, the Department of Real Estate (DRE) here in California came out with a new “advance fee agreement,” which was to be used by all DRE licensed companies offering to assist homeowners with loan modifications. That new agreement stopped firms regulated by the DRE from charging homeowners up front to work on obtaining a loan modification. Instead these companies would be required to place funds paid by homeowners in some sort of trust account, withdrawing them at certain points along the way. The end result of this new advance fee agreement was that it would seriously impair a company’s operating cash flow.
In my mind, the advance fee agreement was always a manifestly stupid response by a state regulatory agency who clearly hadn’t the foggiest idea what was going on as related to loan modifications, nor any idea what to do about regulating the emerging industry in order to protect consumers from unscrupulous operators. I mean, either you’re a scam or you aren’t. If you are, then you shouldn’t be allowed to steal only some money… you should be closed down. And if you’re not a scam, then the government has no business regulating how a company is allowed to charge for its services.
The DRE could have carefully investigated the situation related to the legitimate operations offering to obtain loan modification agreements from lenders and servicers. They could have, but they didn’t. Instead, they decided that limiting the cash flow of the legitimate companies would somehow help protect consumers. It didn’t, of course. The scammers went right on scamming, and the legitimate operations like Green Credit, consulted with their attorneys and went through all kinds of gyrations in an attempt to find a way to operate in compliance with state law in order to complete the client files they had taken in to-date.
Now, this next point may shock some of you… certainly those that haven’t read any of the 260 articles I’ve written on this and related topics over the last year… but I don’t give a rat’s ass about trivial and contrived compliance issues. I only care about the millions of homeowners who continue to be unconscionably screwed and consistently abused by our nation’s banks and mortgage servicers. If someone did something wrong in the compliance department, but also modified several thousand loans, I’m not all that concerned. I’d rather have my house saved than a firm that’s worried about following all the rules, especially because I’ve watched the mess that our state and federal government has made over the last two years related to loan modification companies.
If the guys in Sacramento or Washington D.C. think that I view ANYTHING they’ve done to-date as being even remotely competent, let me be oh so clear… I DON’T. As far as I’m concerned, our government is functioning just slightly above where I’d expect a troop of trained chimps to be functioning.
As a matter of fact, since we’re on the subject, I’m not really much of a “law-and-order” guy. I don’t mean that I don’t like the television show, I mean that I don’t always believe in following the letter of the law in this country, and I certainly don’t when I find the law to be unfair at best. That’s right… in my view, if you can save my home, I don’t care if you work for the mob… got it?
And, lest you not recall, this country was started by a bunch of guys who were committing treason, and it was made great by a group of people who refused to follow the Supreme Court’s unspeakable madness we refer to as segregation. That’s right… Rosa Parks was out of compliance, was she not?
In fact, truth be told, I’m the kind of guy that would harbor a fugitive if I knew that his or her crime had involved doing whatever was necessary to feed an orphanage… and there was no other way to do it. And as far as lying to banks… well… I encourage it. They deserve nothing from any of us.
I would have thought that anyone and everyone who has read more than one or two of my columns would already know these things about me, but apparently some things need to be said in no uncertain terms, so here goes…
1. I’ve never been paid plugged a nickel having anything to do with a loan modification or referring a homeowner to a lawyer. Never, not even once, not even a nickel. Mo’s a liar. And Mo, in case you can read, I’m easy to find, so grab your bus pass and head on over whenever you muster up the courage to do so. Otherwise, as someone familiar with Mo’s colorful past said to me recently: “Mo should have smoked more of the pot he was dealing when he was busted and maybe then he wouldn’t have been arrested later for beating his wife.”
Was that too subtle?
2. I feel badly that Green Credit was shut down before finishing the work on behalf of the 1,500 homeowners they had left in their pipeline, as it’s referred to in the industry. But if anyone wants to be upset about that, perhaps they should be mad at the State Bar or DRE. Had Curt Melone or Chris Fox, Green Credit’s founders, wanted to take the money and run, they would have done so ages ago. They may not have been in compliance with whatever, but because of them more than 2,500 people didn’t get thrown out of their homes last year. Perhaps the state could have helped them be in compliance instead of making it essentially impossible.
Was that too subtle?
Don’t bother writing in on this subject; it’s highly unlikely that I’ll read the comments. It’s time to move on to more important things… like toasting my bagel.
Okay, look… I don’t really have anything against Mr. Bedard, nor do I actually care whether he wants to attack me by spouting untruths. My readers are certainly more than capable of discerning what’s true and what’s not. I have tens of thousands of readers each month and communicate with hundreds of lawyers across the country almost constantly. If those lawyers were compensating me because I referred a homeowner to them, there’d be a lot more people accusing me of it than Moe Bedard, wouldn’t you think? Besides, if I was being paid for referring homeowners to lawyers, I wouldn’t be broke all the time.
Mandelman Matters isn’t a business plan. Apparently, Moe offers a class on how to make money blogging and I’m thinking about signing up. Mandelman Matters sells no advertising, and makes no money. It’s easily the most expensive hobby I’ve ever had. Read it if you like it, don’t if you don’t. I write it for me, no one else. But, by all means, feel free to check or challenge any of my facts. They are always right. And if they’re not, I sure do want to know and will correct the matter instantly.
(I missed one fact last year… I called Massachusetts a “judicial foreclosure state,” when in fact it’s a non-judicial one. Several readers wrote in within minutes of the article’s posting and I corrected with a notice at the top of the page right away.)
Yeah, Moe’s a jackass, but he’s obviously also a jackass that in his own way wants to help homeowners, and fight unfair treatment by lenders and servicers. He started one of the first loan modification firms in Southern California and he’s made some mistakes… so what. Hell, I’d probably like the guy… again, if he wasn’t such a pant-load.
His partner in the persecution of Green Credit as the second coming of the evil empire is a woman named Krista Railey, who was a blogger at ML-Implode, the site that hosts Mandelman Matters at no cost, by the way. Krista, although perhaps a bit fanatical at times, always seemed to be a good person and there’s no question that she fancies herself the loan modification compliance queen. I haven’t read anywhere near all of what she’s written about me and Green Credit, and she does go a bit around the corner at times, but she’s right that she complained to me that she thought Green Credit was out of compliance on several occasions.
Just like now, I told her I wasn’t the compliance police and I didn’t care as long as they were saving homes for homeowners, which they undoubtedly were throughout their existence. If I’ve assured Krista once, I’ve done so a thousand times: I have or had no business relationship with Green Credit or ML-implode, beyond what I’ve described herein. No money has changed hands having to do with me, and I don’t know anything about anyone else’s dealings.
I can’t tell who is going to be deemed to be “compliant” and who isn’t. The California State Bar obviously has no idea what they’re doing when it comes to lawyers offering loan modifications, nor does the FTC. I’ve written numerous articles that draw out precisely why I say these things, so check them out if interested. If you can’t find them, ‘cause my blog does suck that way, email me and I’ll send you a link. (My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org)
It should be obvious that our state and federal governments have failed at every single turn in our growing foreclosure crisis. Nothing they’ve done or said has been remotely helpful or honest, and as far as transparent… don’t even get me started. These guys are transparent like Mt. Rushmore is transparent.
There have been several others that have been shut down or are being investigated by one group or another related to loan modifications. I’m going to write about each one that I know something about, and I’m going to challenge the FTC and State Bar’s idiocy whenever needed and appropriate.
I will tell you who’s not going to be investigated as related to loan modification scams: Any of the banks.
IndyMac/One West Bank… the poster child for unreasonable foreclosures, in my view, should be fined a zillion dollars and the bank’s CEO should be wearing an orange vest and picking up trash on the 405 Freeway for what his bank has done to homeowners. And unquestionably, HAMP’s now infamous “trial modifications” are the biggest scam to hit loan modifications since Hope-4-Homeowners managed to modify one mortgage… instead of the many thousands promised.
So, that’s the long and short of it. I’ll keep following the scams, and the not-so-scams. And I’ll keep helping in any way I can, which will soon be a lot more than ever.
Stay tuned… I’m about to make something available to homeowners that can’t be had anywhere else. Something that will help level the playing field between the banks and homeowners. Something that will save homeowners thousands of dollars and months of frustration.
That’s all for now though… Look for it… it’s coming very soon… only days away.
And remember… The church is near, but the road is icy. The tavern is far, but we will walk carefully. Ahhh… it’s good to be back… I missed you guys.