Fingers Point Both Ways on Broker Blame

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The new rules on mortgage broker compensation are slated to start today, causing a flurry of 11th-hour debate. Lawrence Baxter, a Duke law professor and former Wachovia executive, gently chided American Banker for giving vent to so much grumbling in the reported coverage, and he vigorously defended the impending change.

BankThink posted the response above online Wednesday, and comments quickly appeared.

The first, from kashburn, cheered his points as "brilliant" and stated, "YSP was nothing but the fleecing of the American consumer for years and now the brokers cannot hide behind the veil of secrecy any longer."

While Baxter criticized the banks and the brokers together, a defender of the brokers pitted them against the banks. SteveCharger commented: "It's easy to point to the mortgage brokers and lay the blame for the financial meltdown at their feet but they were just selling the products that the mortgage bankers were giving them to sell!"

Countrybanker challenged him: "Do you really believe what you just posted?"

And yes, he did: "A very low percentage of the loans made involved fraud on the part of the borrower or mortgage broker. They were selling the products that the investors were willing to buy. Freddie and Fannie were and are the problem. Once they started using Loan Prospector and similar underwriting systems and discovered that most people with good credit pay their home loans, then the leap was made that most everyone pays their mortgages and then that RE never goes down … you know the rest. … To blame it on the mortgage brokers is ludicrous!"

Regarding Baxter's anecdote about his pool boy becoming a broker and his suggestion that maybe some brokers should go back to that if they can't swallow the new rules, Diana Cessna commented that it "would be such a travesty to those of us that enjoy our swimming pools."

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