I have a friend who reads the New York Post daily and sends me the best covers and articles. Please note: while the writing staff is clearly among the world’s most creative and pithy, I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the paper’s content. As a matter of fact, our friends at Wikipedia talk much about sensationalism, conservative slant, and other unflattering aspects of the Post. But it truly is quite often creatively entertaining.
To illustrate some of that creativity, check out these cover shots. And, seriously, I have personally censored some of the more outrageous (but cleaver) selections.
I can now hear my Editor asking, “Why in the world is this goofball talking about the NY Post in a mortgage article?” Here’s why. In the May 9, 2019 Business Section, this article appeared: “Mortgage crisis ‘villain’ Angelo Mozilo: ‘I don’t care’ anymore.” Really Mr. Mozilo? I wonder how that makes the people who lost their homes, went to jail, lost their jobs, lost millions of dollars, lost their loved ones feel when they read that? Wait, I’m in one of those categories!! It doesn’t make me feel good, that’s for sure.
In 2009, CNN’s Anderson Cooper posted, “Ten Most Wanted Culprits of the Collapse” and, yes indeed, it included Angelo Mozilo. And to see more about how people felt about this crisis right after it happened, read the comments after that post. Of course, also note that the first “blame” finger in the post points right at YOU (meaning all of us).
In addition to all of us and Mr. Mozilo, the list also includes Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae, James Cayne of Bear Stearns, Beazer Homes, Lehman Brothers Richard Fuld, Former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm, Alan Greenspan, former FED chairman, Joe Cassano, AIG, and Chris Cox, SEC Chairman.
Time Magazine went further and noted, “25 People to Blame for the Mortgage Crisis.” Here is their list and, yes, you’ll see some overlap.
- Angelo Mozilo
- Phil Gramm
- Alan Greenspan
- Chris Cox
- American Consumers
- Hank Paulson
- Joe Cassano
- Ian McCarthy
- Frank Raines
- Kathleen Corbet
- Dick Fuld
- Marion and Herb Sandler
- Bill Clinton
- George W. Bush
- Stan O'Neal
- Wen Jiabao
- David Lereah
- John Devaney
- Bernie Madoff
- Lew Ranieri
- Burton Jablin
- Fred Goodwin
- Sandy Weill
- David Oddsson
- Jimmy Cayne
Yes, it was a horrible time in American financial history. Yes, it was horrible for absolutely millions of people. Yes, It rocked the entire world and not in a good way, in nearly all cases. But my mother always told me, “From all bad comes some good.” Let’s see if she is right just by examining the “bad guys” on both lists. Have they learned anything? Have they chosen to give back to society at least a part of what they allegedly took? Yes, let’s get judgmental, not physical. We’re sourcing the 2018 American Banker, “Faces of the financial crisis: Where are they now? (Banker edition)” for the first three. Note, that publication lists other names too!
|Angelo Mozilo||Not Caring||So, not giving back|
|Jimmy Cayne||Retired and playing bridge||So, not giving back|
|Dick Fuld||In 2009, he launched a business development and capital management advisory firm, Matrix Advisors LLC, and in 2016 he founded an asset management firm, Matrix Private Capital Group.|
When asked at the [2016 New York financial services] conference why he didn’t just ride off into the sunset after Lehman’s collapse, Fuld responded, “Why don’t you just bite me?”
He has apparently not delivered any keynote addresses since. 🙂
|So, not giving back|
|Franklin Raines||From usa-wethepeople, “Raines was forced to retire from his position with Fannie Mae when auditing discovered severe irregularities in Fannie Mae’s accounting activities. Raines left with a ‘golden parachute valued at $240 Million in benefits.’ The Government filed suit against Raines when the depth of the accounting scandal became clear.” It appears the case was dismissed. Raines later worked for the Obama Campaign.||Does not appear to be the case. Check this out for the “sh** happens” analysis/explanation.|
|Beazer Homes||It appears Beazer is still going strong. However, it seems their reviews are not as strong, at least not those posted on consumer affairs.||Then there is this opinion, “Not Quite Ready for Prime Time” from SeekingAlpha. So, I’d say probably not.|
|Phil Gramm||Hard to say. But he did post a video with Senator Enzi on boosting America's economic growth in 2017. Many blame Gramm at least partially for not just the economic meltdown, but also the Enron disaster. Perhaps the Third Time's the Charm possibility should be avoided.||Doubtful.|
|Alan Greenspan||Just posted, “Alan Greenspan: Can the U.S. Economy Stay on Top?”||I think he thinks he has. 🙂|
|Chris Cox||California Attorney||Maybe? In June 2014, he was named a Father of the Year by the Father's Day Council and the American Diabetes Association in recognition of his "outstanding contributions to his family, profession and community.”|
|Joe Cassano||Philanthropist and Real Estate Mogul||Stronger maybe? ‘Man Who Crashed the World’ Turns to Philanthropy, Real Estate” Well, maybe not. “Ex-AIG Exec Joe Cassano is Free, Rich and -- in His Mind -- Innocent”|
Okay, but let’s be serious. Suppose you’re in the mortgage business and making $500 Million a year and further suppose you came from a family that had nothing and made nothing and also suppose your Board of Director simultaneously thought you were a hero and pushed you to do MORE, more, more, more, more.
Then suppose it all stops. It just stops. Your teams leave within 48 hours. The feds are in your office asking very deep, probing, ugly questions. Your corporate legal team is missing. Your income drops to a small fraction of what it formerly was. Your spouse starts making noises you don’t want to hear. And the Board terminates your contract. What would YOU do?
I suppose giving back to society is not your first goal. So what is? In many cases, it's getting back in the saddle. [Digression Alert! Remember the music that starts playing when Top Gun’s Maverick is in court, and stops when he quits? Yep,that’s called Back in the Saddle.]
Anyway, about a related but probably less prosperous group, check out what some top mortgage professionals (okay, not as top as Angelo Mozilo) did after the ‘meltdown.’ In Conquering Shifts, read stories of failure and success, about prosperity during stormy weather, and ultimate success through double-digit rates, housing bubbles, and, yes, the worst financial crisis since the depression.
Or look at it from an entirely different perspective. Try “Meltdown: I Need a Plan.” That one is a fictional account of a big money guy who fell hard but got back on his feet in a much nicer way.
And yes, what shameless self promotion! I co-wrote both of them. But, based on that, you might say I am extremely familiar with the effects of the 2007 and 2008 financial debacle. Let’s say this. It was ugly, some of the ugliness remains, and I never want to experience that again. I literally used to wake up and believe with 100% certainty I had had a horrible, lengthy dream, and was so glad my memories were not reality. Except they were.
Not to worry, life moved on, I moved on, and I am doing just fine. However, I seem to have gotten WAY too serious, dreary, and retrospective here. That.must.stop.right.now. [Second digression. I love when authors use that style in novels, mostly romantic fiction. He.Was.The.Hottest. Man. Ever. … Oh.No.I.Didn’t.Just.Say.That! … I.Love.Him …]
Back to our ultimate purpose. Let’s get some laughs going.
Some moldy oldy jokes about the financial crisis:
- I went to the ATM this morning and it said "insufficient funds"... I have no idea if that means the bank or me.
- With the current market turmoil, what's the easiest way to make a small fortune? Start off with a large one.
- How do you define optimism? A mortgage loan officer who irons five shirts on a Sunday.
- Quote from a securities trader: "This is worse than a divorce. I’ve lost half my net worth and I still have a wife."
- This market stinks so bad … my 401(k) is now a 100.25(k)!
- A man went to his bank manager and said: ‘I’d like to start a small business. How do I go about it?’ ‘Simple,’ said the bank manager. ‘Buy a big one and wait.’
- The credit crunch is getting bad, isn’t it? I mean, I let my brother borrow a tenner a couple of weeks back, it turns out I’m now Britain’s fourth biggest lender.
And, if you enjoy British Humor, I’ll leave you with, “Bird and Fortune - Subprime Crisis.” As my father always told me, “Learn to laugh … at everything.”