Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Liar Loan

In his novel, ‘Liar Loan’ author Jason Reid tells a fictional story about the how one mortgage company under the leadership of a greedy CEO manipulated the mortgage system. Although fiction, the story mirrors what actually happened causing the 2008 – 2009 collapse of the sub prime mortgage market which nearly caused the destruction of the entire US financial market.

Neil Roberts is the CEO of Katana Mortgage, a company that markets mortgages to the masses and creates refinanced mortgages to unqualified homeowners who want extra money for personal endeavors such as education, financing a business, expensive products…etc. With loose regulations, Neil Roberts’ team is able to engage in unethical tactics such as manipulating credit scores, pushing up the values of appraisals, and charge high fees with high adjustable interest rates with their refinanced mortgages. Neil’s team lend to unqualified homeowners without thinking about the consequences of large numbers of homeowners not being able to repay their loans leading to mass foreclosures.

Neil Roberts is a self-centered, egotistical, arrogant, and sexist CEO who lives for instant gratification in business and his personal life. He pushes his team to make as many deals as possible to unqualified mortgage holders. In his personal life, he neglects and cheats on his wife. Jared, his top salesman and an obsessive compulsive, trains greedy young men and women with no mortgage experience to convince just about anyone to refinance their home. Neil’s world is on the verge of imploding when everything he has worked for in both business and his personal life begins to fall apart. The result is the biggest challenge of Neil’s life: learning what is truly meaningful in life.

‘Liar Loan’ is a fast-paced engaging story that gives readers a glimpse into a big cause of the collapse of the sub prime market. Readers will learn the tactics mortgage salesmen used to convince homeowners to refinance their mortgage to a loan they could never afford. As well, readers will learn how homeowners are partly to blame for taking a mortgage they could not afford so that they could get extra cash. In the story, there is a large amount of dialogue and explanations that focus on how the mortgage refinance works, slick sales tactics, and how credit ratings and appraisals can be manipulated so that homeowners could qualify for the loan. Readers will gain insight into the loan officers’ corrupt behavior, greed, lack of moral conscience, and how the loan officers justified their actions. Regarding character development, readers will start out despising Neil and Jared, but will have a change of heart as the two young men face what they have become.

‘Liar Loan’ is not only an engaging read, but it provides valuable information about the mortgage market and will hopefully educate people to think before they pick up the phone and call a company that has sent them an email or direct mail advertisement promising them they will get a mortgage that will give them lots of extra cash.

Tracy Roberts, Write Field Services


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