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How to Deal with Corruption in REO

Did I say CORRUPTION?!!! You bet I did!

If you've been selling bank foreclosures as an REO broker for any length of time, you've undoubtedly run into a "proposal" that smelled "fishy", didn't seem right, or just kinda made you go "hhhhmmmmmm".... It seems that around every corner there's a guy or girl trying to make a quick buck from everyone-problem is, it's not always LEGALLY. To be right up front and honest with you, this kind of b.s. gets my blood boiling, to the point where I'd like nothing more than to ram my fist down someone's throat, every time I hear such an offer. Wow...that sounded harsh! haha...actually, I'm not a violent guy, and I would never do such a thing, but I sure want you to have a vivid mental picture about how strongly I feel about running a "clean" business, rather than a sleazy one. Let me give you an actual example of the kind of thing I am talking about here, in case you've yet to come across this sort of impropriety:

One time, I get a call from a person who apparently "used to be an Asset Manager" at a large firm. He says to me "hey, I have a business proposition for you." OK so he's got my ear. I am tuned in, ready to pounce on a great opportunity like a Tiger who's spotted a lame deer in an open field. My mouth begins to water. I can almost taste the extra cash...."I have a friend who in charge of distributing the REO properties for XXX Company and they have a lot of inventory for GA" he tells me. Now, I'm drooling! "He says that you can have them ALL". GREAT! I say, thinking that he probably has heard of me or someone has referred him to me, as a broker who is super competent, and with a reputation for getting the job done. I'm anxious to speak to this guy about a solid business partnership, so I pull over to the side of the road to be able to pay closer attention. Then he hits me with "all he wants is for you to pay him 10% under the table for every deal you do". WHAT! Seriously, this fool must be kidding! He actually wants me to illegally pay him for sending me properties.

Now, you may think "well of course ANY broker would immediately tell him to go pound salt and hang up the phone" but WOULD they? Don't be so sure...I can tell you that I have either seen first hand, or know from credible colleagues, of people who have slipped over to the dark side of the bank owned homes business, throwing all integrity right out the window like a discarded candy bar wrapper. Seems they find the temptation of the sweet and easy reward inside, to be so irresistible, that they are willing to litter the landscape of a good business with trashy practices. Ultimately, it takes two parties to allow this to happen-an unscrupulous broker and a shady Asset Manager. Unfortunately, all too often, these birds of a feather seems to find a way to get together. But trust me when I tell you this: Word gets around. And it gets around FAST! I've said many times that the REO business is a very "small" business in terms of who knows who. If a guy is with a well known company, or even a smaller one, their competitors have their eyes on them CONSTANTLY. And the minute a scent of bad behavior hits the air, the competitors will pounce on them like trained bloodhounds. To think that people don't jump at the chance to bring their opposition down in ANY business is just plain foolish. Wow, the more I write about this, the more I feel my temperature rise. Running a "clean" business is something that I am extremely passionate about. If you think that you somehow must bow to these criminal lowlifes in order to become and REO broker or to ultimately succeed as one then I say this...LOOK AT MY BUSINESS FOR EXAMPLE. For that matter, l can show you so many examples of super clean, ultra-efficient, highly-profitable, competition crushing businesses that my good friends and colleagues run...all without the slightest infestation of greed, bribery and bs!

On a deeper level, think about how this crap affects others:
1. Banks unwittingly use lower classes of brokers and ultimately may sell homes lower than necessary, because the LOSER is chosen by his willingness to "pay to play" rather than on his merit.
2. Lower selling prices mean greater losses to banks, which means more money out of my pockets and YOURS to fund bailouts.
3. Neighborhoods continue to decline in value at greater rates than necessary.
4. As housing prices drop, more people are unable to sell their homes and more people are forced into foreclosure.
5. YOU and I are cheated out of the chance to do more business because it's getting underhandedly diverted to chumps.

These are just a few of the hundreds of ways that this stuff affects you and me personally and how it effects our economy, our clients and our country as a whole. These are TOUGH times for sure and making a living sure isn't easy. But who ever said it was?! REAL entrepreneurs know that the reward from pushing for that 1% additional growth in your business every time the sun rises is sure as hell a lot more rewarding than paying off these gangsters for "protection". Gimme a break folks. This stuff ALWAYS ends badly. The short term income boost is never worth it. I can tell you the story of a guy I know personally who decided to "pad" invoices and ended up in the federal pen for 18 months (and hey, he is actually a "nice" guy...the business was just too costly for him to run without "padding" he thought.) Temptation woooed him and ultimately got him! Picture HIS Christmas morning, surrounded by concrete and bars, sitting in a plastic chair while he talks to his family on the other side of a plexiglass window on a telephone. No hugs and kisses this year.....Worth it? I think not. On a grander scale, a VERY large company recently shut down it's REO department after it discovered it was infected with corruption. Yeah, a WHOLE department shut down, locked the doors and chained them shut! Happens more than you'd like to think.

So, what do you do when you're approached with a "proposal"? Hate to say it, but it's been my experience that simply turning your head and walking away is best. As much as you might like to take action, whether it's giving the guy a serious piece of your mind or trying to get him fired, you are best to disassociate yourself and move on to greener and CLEANER pastures. There's a sea of GOOD business out there for you to feed on. The REO world is way too small. Word gets around quickly. Probably not wise to have your name in ANY way mentioned when people talk about corruption......Rotten stinking GARBAGE I tell ya'...and like any other business. You live and die by your integrity folks. If you don't have any, you better hike up your boot straps and go hunt some down. The bell will be tolling for you soon without it!

Rant over.