Four years ago this January, I was invited to speak at the American Bar Association’s (“ABA”) Conference on Consumer Financial Services, which was being held that year in Park City, Utah. In attendance, I was told, would be several hundred attorneys representing essentially all of the banks, lenders and servicers we’ve all come to know and love. (I wrote about it at the time, and the link just above will take you to my article from January 23, 2010.)
When I got the call from the individual recruiting and coordinating speakers for the conference, and he said that I was being invited to be one of them, to be honest, I thought it was some sort of gag.
“Okay, very funny… who put you up to this?” I said after hearing why he was calling.
But he assured me that it was not a gag, they really wanted me to come and speak about the foreclosure crisis from the homeowners’ perspective. I would be part of a panel of experts that would include Tom Pahl, an attorney, who at the time was a director of enforcement at the FTC.
Tom would be talking about the prevalence of “scammers” that were offering to help borrowers at risk of foreclosure get their loans modified, and the FTC’s response. This was the beginning of what would become the MARS (”Mortgage Assistance Relief Services”) Final Rule that would take effect about a year later.
“Do you know who I am?” I asked the caller from the ABA. “I mean, have you read my blog?”
He assured me that he was quite familiar with my blog.
I inquired, “And you think bank attorneys want to hear what I have to say?”
“We think they can handle hearing opposing views,” he replied.
I laughed… I mean, I really laughed. “Well, this should be interesting, I’ll give you that. At least it won’t be boring. Are you sure that I’m not being invited so that my body can be buried in the snow and not found until the Spring thaw?”
He laughed, but not quite as convincingly as I would have liked.
I spoke for an hour the first morning of the conference. I made fun of the servicers like Bank of America for not being able to answer the phone (In understand, all those buttons can be so confusing), of Wells …read more