The excellent Julian Delasantellis, who contributes regularly to Asia Times, reviews Confessions of a Subprime Lender, by Richard Bitner, who worked in the industry and coundn’t take it anymore. The review serves as a good refresher on some of the chronology, arcana and issues, and is just fun to read because of Delasantellis’ writing style and wit.
Subprime–an (im)morality tale
Confessions of a Subprime Lender by Richard Bitner
Reviewed by Julian Delasantellis
In 1949, the hard-boiled American crime writer Raymond Chandler observed that “Such is the brutalization of commercial ethics in this country that no one can feel anything more delicate than the velvet touch of a soft buck.” It wasn’t that “velvet touch of a soft buck” that the subprime mortgage business felt, and fell victim to, these past few years; it was the creamy caress of about 3 trillion of those soft bucks. It was the heady intoxication of this sensation that caused the industry to abandon all pre-existing standards of banking probity and morality, and this is the story that Richard Bitner tells in his new book, Confessions of a Subprime Lender.
By 2006, Bitner, co-founder of subprime broker Kellner Mortgage, had seen so much of his industry’s blatant balderdash, howling half truths, and malevolent mendacities that he could stand no more. Walking away from a business that had made him, and everyone in his business, insanely wealthy in an insanely brief amount of time, he pledged to write a book that would tell the truth about this business. Amazingly enough, considering the dross that winds up in the business sections of the bookstores these days (The Way of the Bushido Method to Sell Your Timeshare or, 12 Apostles=12 Successful Salescalls–The New Testament Sales, Commission and Wealth Plan) Bitner could not find a publisher for his work, so he self-published.
Buzz spread and word got around, John Wiley and Sons put out an edition in early summer. On Amazon.com, the book is now ranked number 4 in the “mortgages” sub-category of Business and Investing/Real Estate