Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. As I grow older, I realize that there is a system designed to help the haves; at the expense of the have nots. The system is very subtle and usually slowly constructed over time to “help” us. Let’s look at the Federal Reserve. If I asked you the definition of the “Fed”, you would probably say it is a government agency. In truth, the “Fed” is not a government agency, but a banking cartel that has partnered with our government to use federal law to further its goals. Rates are raised and lowered to “help” us, but in reality it is to help the banks. The purpose of the “Fed” is to protect the large member banks from competition.
As most of you know, I am in the mortgage business. I am pushing 25 years as an originator and find that the only constant at work is change. In case you have not noticed, our world is mired in a really nasty recession. We have been told that the root of this ugliness is the mortgage brokers that peddled loans of ill repute and questionable financial soundness. While there is some truth to this, did you ever wonder who offered these products to the mortgage brokers? Anyway, it does not matter. The Fed looked long and hard at the existing “system” and decided that some serious changes were necessary. After much discussion, a ton of new compliance rules were dumped on the mortgage industry and we were instructed to do this or go away. The “Fed” decided that an originator should be compensated the same on each transaction. While this sounds like a reasonable plan, the kicker was the second part of their plan. Mortgage brokers could no longer charge fees normally associated with processing a loan. I know some of you reading this are probably glazing over at this point, but stay with me…there is a sports point coming. So now that mortgage brokers cannot charge the borrower an origination fee or a processing fee, they must make their fee either entirely from the borrower or from the lender on the “back end”. When a loan is sold, there is a premium that is paid to the company that originates the loan. A broker must now pay the originator solely from this premium. So, at first glance this looks good for the consumer, right? In the short run, yes. In the long run, I suspect that the mortgage brokers will be forced out of the business. Banks and mortgage bankers can charge the fees that the brokers cannot, and although the mortgage bankers must make the same percentage on each loan, the compensation can be collected a bit up front and the difference from the lender buying the loan.
So, the mortgage bankers are cool…right? Wrong. What makes a mortgage banker different than a broker is that they have a warehouse line to close loans in their name. In essence, this is a line of credit from a large bank. The mortgage banker closes a loan and uses this money to fund the loan. After closing, the loan is sold to a servicer and the amount of the loan (minus interest and fees for the bank) is credited back to the mortgage banker’s warehouse line. In 2008, there were hundreds of warehouse options, now there are 8 in the US. Recently B of A pulled out of this business…this presents a problem. The other banks have become very slow to purchase loans from the mortgage bankers. They review the loan and provide a list of things that they feel prevent the loan from being purchased. The things may be a missing page from a bank statement or maybe they think that the DL is not clear enough…it can be whatever. The mortgage banker scrambles to gather the necessary requirements only to be given an additional list of missing items. Oops…now it has taken too long to sell the loan and a penalty is charged. See where this is going?
Today, I read that the “Fed” is carefully weighing whether to require Savings and Loans to have a larger reserve requirement. This is commonly called…skin in the game. It has been suggested that if this requirement come to pass that many Savings and Loans will simply go away. Wow, so the mortgage brokers, mortgage banker and Savings and Loans are gone, who is left to “help” the consumer? Big banks are left and when you go to shop for a mortgage, it will be very easy. Big bank A, B or C will be your option. You will be told that the banks are competing against each other, but how confident are you that this will happen? The big banks have a big building and big salaries to take care of and consumers are low on the priority list. Oh...and the bank originators are paid salaries with a small bonus for loans closed. Can you say disincentive? How long will it take to close a loan? A few months should be sufficient, if the system deems you credit worthy.
If you are interested in learning more about the Federal Reserve, go to You Tube and listen to The Creature from Jeckyl Island. It is in 12 parts, but is very interesting…
There is another cartel that exists today…the NFL.If you have been following Jonathan Vilma’s case, you will know that he is suing Goodell and the NFL. It looks very simple. An arbitrator has found that Goodell has the right to suspend Vilma, but is this good for football? If the bounty scandal has shown us anything, it is this: Goodell is the most powerful person in American pro sports. He can do what he wants, when he wants, and how he wants. After negotiating last year’s CBA, Goodell bought himself much grace with the NFL owners. It is funny, but rich people are happy when they get more money. By putting more money in the owner's pocket, Goodell has more or less free reign to run the NFL as he wants. Goodell is the judge, the jury and the appeals court -- thanks to that collective-bargaining agreement. Goodell issued the suspension, and then when Vilma appealed, Goodell upheld it. What a system!
Vilma’s attorney is Peter Ginsberg. You may remember this name as he represented the Kevin and Pat Williams when they were suspended for 4 games for testing positive for an illegal substance. Ginsberg got the suspension cut in half primarily because he proved that the NFL knew that a dietary supplement contained a banned substance but did nothing to alert players of this fact. Players actually called the NFL hotline and were told it was okay to take the supplement. That is rather odd, when you think about it.
Ginsberg is not a dumb guy. Did you know that the defamation suit was filed in Louisiana? It is not a stretch to predict that Vilma is much more popular in this region than Goodell. Vilma has claimed that he has never put any money up for a bounty or participated in such a system. Goodell claims to have a ledger detailing the bounty system. Vilma may or may not be guilty, but he should be allowed his day in court…and with a judge not named Goodell.
In a related story, “according to a report from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the NFL wants to "increase the penalties" for players who are busted for DUI. Currently, a DUI results in a one-game-check fine (up to $50,000) with suspensions available for multiple transgressions. Florio also reports that the NFL's wanted to crank up these penalties "for several years," but, according to his sources, "the union has resisted."
Of course, it makes perfect sense for the union to resist (Florio acknowledges as much), because, despite a desire to cut out DUI arrests amongst union members, the NFLPA has absolutely zero interest in handing more power to Roger Goodell. This is particularly true given the nature of the appeal system, which currently consists of Roger Goodell reviewing Roger Goodell's decision. It's hard to blame the NFLPA.”
I think all of us can agree that drinking and driving is a horrible idea. We have laws in place to punish those that are caught doing this. Is it the NFL’s job to add layers of punishment for players that get a DUI? Should football players be held to a higher standard than you or me?
When Roger Goodell became the commissioner of the NFL, there was a need for increased discipline in the NFL. As with many in power, he began his job honestly, but seems to have lost his way. Power is a very dangerous thing and it is what drives the system that operates around us each day. There is little that any of us can do to fight the system, but being aware that it exists is important.
In case you have not noticed, Kevin Durant is a bad mother…I missed the first half of the Heat/Thunder game but very much enjoyed watching the Thunder rumble ahead in the second half. Please remind me why the Lakers threw Derek Fisher to the curb? That pass he made when he looked to be shooting was awesome. Long and athletic are the Thunder. The Heat will make adjustments, but I don’t see anyone in a Heat uni that can stop KD.
I figured it would be the Thunder in 6 and I will stick by that prediction…
Has a cop ever let you off a ticket when he realized who you were? Yeah…I have not either. Oakland Raiders rookie defensive lineman Christo Bilukidi tweeted this recently:
Ran a red light n got pulled over, cop ask me what I do n I said I'm a Raider, I dodged a 428$ ticket. #BigLeague.
I will go out on a limb to say when you get a freebie, it is probably a good idea to keep it to yourself. Even if the cop that let him off never hears about the tweet, I am sure that the word will get around with some of Oakland’s finest. My guess is that next time the result will not be tweeted…
One of the things I have always liked about baseball is that each field is unique. Fenway or Wrigley or even Minute Maid offers completely different obstacles for the players to overcome. But, I have never seen a field like the one at Braintree high school in Massachusetts. There is no foul pole in right field, but there is a building! If the ball goes down the stairwell, it is a ground rule double. But, if the ball goes around the building, the right fielder may have to chase the ball into the parking lot. Since there are no fences, it is truly a unique field. I would love to catch a game at this park! Maybe this is a dumb question, but with all that room between the stands and home plate...why not just move the field further from the building? Oh well, it is still cool to me.
That’s all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey:
I think a good novel would be where a bunch of men on a ship are looking for a whale. They look and look, but you know what? They never find him. And you know why they never find him? It doesn't say. The book leaves it up to you, the reader, to decide. Then, at the very end, there's a page you can lick and it tastes like Kool-Aid.
Consider the daffodil. And while you're doing that, I'll be over here, going through your stuff.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…