Articles by Rick Grant

Seeing past the media opportunity

I had a feeling that as soon as I dipped my toe into the public relations pool that I’d be on a slippery slope that could send me slip sliding away from the reputation I had built over long years as a trade journalist and editor. So when I speak of the PR industry in this column, it is not to indict firms operating in my space — competitors, so to speak — but rather to explain why our government is so messed up.
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Business conferences that speak to us well

A lot of what I've been talking about in this column over the past few weeks has been about how we, as an industry, communicate with those parties that impact our businesses, employees, partners, regulators, legislators and borrowers. Much of the time, as it turns out, it doesn't look like we put a great deal of thought into what we communicate before we send it out there.
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When lawyers control the foreclosure conversation

It must have seemed like a brilliant idea, in the beginning. When life isn’t the way you want it to be and your elected officials can’t hear you over the voices of those with more money to contribute, take your case to the courts, plead your case for justice before those who only exist to check the power of the state and balance the needs of the people against the rule of law. Judges were respected just like rulers, back then. In fact, the first Chief Justice of the United States, John Jay, was the president of the Continental Congress of the United States from 1778 to 1779.
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Fear and loathing of the QRM

I’ve been spending more time lately listening to the messages our industry, government regulators and other interested parties have been sending out through the media as the industry settles into the new dry-dock that is Dodd-Frank. As the business goes through this retrofit, many parties will attempt to influence what changes get made and how closely the future state of the home finance industry mirrors what the many writers of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act originally envisioned.
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The courage to serve borrowers

I was impressed with the turnout and the energy level at last week’s Mortgage Bankers Association's national mortgage loan servicing conference. I was told by vendors there that demonstration suites were full and booth traffic was better than average. Some even told me that servicers were actually buying this year instead of just looking. Desperation can have a positive effect on people, in some cases.
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CFPB must not serve two masters

I’m often amazed at how simple lessons from childhood sneak back up in adulthood and cause you to slap your head in long-delayed understanding. I got so tired of hearing my mother tell me to layer my clothing before going outside in the winter. When I moved to the Northeast, the lesson made perfect sense. Other examples: always retain an attorney when you go into business; hire the very best people you can afford; when nature calls, make sure she doesn’t do so near an electric fence; don’t spit into the wind.
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The Treasury Department’s fairy godmother

I always loved the word “Fiat.” Not the car, the concept. I first heard it in debate class back in high school. It was a tool that debaters used to discuss the positive and negative aspects of a given course of action. By using fiat, you could skip past all the issues relating to actually getting the thing done and just focus on what would be the likely outcome when it became a reality.
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Legislating a fix for mortgage servicing

So, the government has now admitted that Home Affordable Modification Program was a failure, or at least some folks working there have admitted what the industry has known for a long time. This was no surprise to folks working here. What it is, to be frank (to say nothing of Dodd), is a problem for the industry.
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