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Mortgage ethics

by henrycopeland
Thursday, June 28th, 2007

From today’s WSJ:

“Twelve years ago, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. sent a vice president to California to check out First Alliance Mortgage Co. Lehman was thinking about tapping into First Alliance’s lucrative business of making “subprime” home loans to consumers with sketchy credit.

The vice president, Eric Hibbert, wrote a memo describing First Alliance as a financial “sweat shop” specializing in “high pressure sales for people who are in a weak state.” At First Alliance, he said, employees leave their “ethics at the door.”

The big Wall Street investment bank decided First Alliance wasn’t breaking any laws. Lehman went on to lend the mortgage company roughly $500 million and helped sell more than $700 million in bonds backed by First Alliance customers’ loans. But First Alliance later collapsed.”

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