Show of hands. How many of you identify the mortgage business, or better still, the subprime mortgage business, as the face of the last economic downturn?
Right or wrong, our industry served as the convenient scapegoat for what was, in reality, a much larger issue. As a result, we were specifically rewarded with a tectonic shift in regulation and oversight in the years that followed. The wrath of the pendulum swing exceeded even our wildest expectations. The legislative edicts ushered in by the Dodd-Frank Wall St. Financial Reform Act, and its appointing of a top cop in Richard Cordray of the CFPB, dawned a Dark Ages of credit availability. And though we’ve since become quite adept in making more with less, our industry will never be the same as a result. Some would say we had it coming.
Though the record will reflect that I was never a purveyor of subprime or stated income loans myself, I thought I would share my enlightened experience with the NRA. It seems to me they are finding themselves on the business end of a growing chorus of Americans who sense that a change is in the air and that the National Rifle Association is, this time around, the industry with the target on its back. That when innocent people are being gunned down in schools, at a concert or nightclub or, Lord have mercy, at church, something ain’t right. And I believe that one of these mass tragedies or another, or another, or another is going to be a last straw, a final stick in the spokes that sends the NRA’s whole Second Amendment joyride to a caterwauling, head-over-the-bars crash of spectacular proportions. But it doesn’t have to be this way. No, this relative calm before the storm is the NRA’s opportunity to carefully concede, on some of their own terms, to ideas whose times have clearly come. This is their last chance to marshal the last chance their brakes might arrest the careening descent of their overburdened, dilapidated old truck of ideas about gun ownership and gun rights. Before the wheels come off, they can either figure out what’s most important to their constituents, carve it out and keep it, or they can keep on barreling down their path to oblivion.
The mortgage business never sobered up. We couldn’t police our own punch bowl and leave the party in time so it ultimately took a Big Bang before it all went bust. After the smoke cleared, many walked away with tail between legs and without shirt on back. In retrospect, seems like cutting a bargain or two to avoid a complete meltdown, followed by a complete lockdown, would have been a sweet deal. But no, not us. We, too, were once invincible. We goaded them to come pry the NINJA loan out of our cold, dead hands. Then eventually, inevitably, they did.
Now it’s the NRA’s turn to get on the right side of history, embrace sensible change and help move America forward on this very complex and important debate. Or, they can continue to party like it’s 1899. If they do, they gotta know the cops are on their way.
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door,