A banker who’s not fit to be a rancher
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
When I was in my teens, I worked summers for ranches around Rifle and Meeker. I’d lived for five years on the family farm outside of Rifle, gone to one room schools, and knew about ranching and its culture.
I could do a couple of things well, but most of the time I managed to find a way to screw up, like driving the tractor into the ditch, hooking the team up backwards, failing to tighten the cinch so the saddle turned, and me with it. I could go on for a couple of pages, but you get the idea.
After my senior year in high school, I was working for a hard bitten old cowboy on Piceance Creek who had run wild horses in his younger years. Towards the end of the summer, he took me aside and said, “I know you’re tryin’ awful hard, but you just ain’t cut out to do this. I don’t know what you’re gonna be, son, but it ain’t a rancher.”
He didn’t know, but I did.
I became a banker.
The current nationwide foreclosure flap, wherein the required documentation and procedures are messed up or missing, made me think about what the old boy said. Can it be that the majority of us in banking are the platoon clown, the fumbling fullback, the out of step cheerleader? It seems so, doesn’t it? One bunch of money men were making “liars loans” to borrowers who couldn’t pay them back, big banks and brokerage houses were packaging the paper into securities and passing them along to investors who couldn’t get enough of the tainted assets.
Other bankers were handing out spec construction, land development, and commercial real estate loans to just about anybody that could scare up a set of plans.
Actually, I don’t think that everybody in banking is an Inspector Clouseau. This whole thing has been a team effort, with virtually everybody involved. It just goes to show what this country can do when we put our minds to it and work together.
The foreclosure issue is simply a case of the 21st century colliding with the 19th. The property transfer and foreclosure system in the U.S. is archaic, and relies totally on the execution and recordation of paper. The concept that fosters the procedures go back to about 1066 and William the Conqueror.
The loan origination system, on the other hand, is automated, and the mechanism for securing funds for mortgages, securitization, has dramatically complicated the whole process. A mortgage may be transferred from one owner to another several times before being passed on to a trustee for a mortgage backed security. Intervening assignments and notarizations are sure to be missing in many cases.
Critics of the system say that it’s outdated, archaic, and unworkable in today’s paperless world. And they’re right. But the law is the law, and there’s not a judge in the land that will, or can, contravene the law.
Banking is certainly a multi-footed beast, isn’t it? At least, the industry has an awful lot of shoes to drop. We’ll try to give you a head’s up when the next one hits the floor.
Pat Dalrymple is a valley native. He’s been in the mortgage and banking business since 1961. He’ll be happy to answer your questions or hear your comments. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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