It is no secret that the regulatory climate for the mortgage industry has tightened up dramatically. Just ask any loan officer, real estate agent or home buyer. Everyone knows that there was rampant fraud for years, contributing to the economic mess we have today.
Many consumer advocates and regulators are calling for a crackdown on those in the mortgage and banking sectors; the perpetrators of fraud—even past moral turpitude—must be identified and the miscreants fired immediately.
Third party originators, like mortgage brokers and employees of small mortgage banks, have been subject to supplemental testing and licensing, credit checks and criminal background investigations for two years while the banks have been exempt from such requirements.
The big banks—sometimes referred to as the “Too Big To Fails”—have begun to police themselves recently, performing background checks on low level employees and firing those who do not meet their new stringent standards. That brings us to the story of one Richard Eggers, 68, a Wells Fargo call center employee earning $29,750 per year.
When Wells Fargo ran a background check on the Des Moines, Iowa employee, they discovered that he had been convicted of a heinous crime: he had attempted to use a dime-sized disc of cardboard to steal some time in a laundromat washing machine. Justice was served, however. He was apprehended and spent two days in jail for his fraud. Fortunately, the criminal justice system did its job, and he was apparently rehabilitated. He has not had so much as a parking ticket since that earlier offense.
It may be of interest to know that Eggers’ crime spree occurred some time ago—February 2, 1963. Still, rules are rules, so he was summarily dismissed from the job he had held for seven years.
Other large financial institutions, like Bank of America, are following suit, dismissing low-level employees for prior criminal offenses.
Fortunately, middle and upper management personnel are being spared. It is common knowledge that these members of business royalty, who earn their multimillion dollar salaries and bonuses every single day, had nothing to do with the financial crisis that now afflicts us. It is appropriate that thugs like Mr. Eggers are identified and eliminated from the industry without delay.
Bravo, Wells Fargo! Kudos, Bank of America! Well done, all you captains of finance! With your wisdom, we will endure this crisis and emerge stronger than ever before.
You can bet your Learjet on it.
(This story originally appeared in USA Today)