Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372

I'll never forget the day.  It was early in June 2010. 

I got up early, made the coffee, took a quick shower, and hit my computer to check e-mail.  I had a class scheduled for CE so I only had an hour or so to review the e-mail and ActiveRain overnight posts. 

I didn't get to the CE class.  I was mesmorized by the News Headlines and the ActiveRain Blogs. 

I REMEMBER THE DAY WELL.  Taking a sip of coffee, while the e-mail was downloading, I logged onto ActiveRain and looked at the Blog Dashboard.  Goodness, about every other word was BANKS, BANKS, BANKS.  So, I clicked on a post by"AJ",always a good reporter of mortgage industry news and there it was, right at the top of his blog post



Congress, overwhelmed by the virtual demise of the real estate industry, has capitulated to the banking industry and approved legislation to permit banks in real estate on a federal and state level.  The emergency legislation sponsored by Senator Schumer, D-NY and sent to Representative Frank was reconciled and sent to President Obama who signed the Bill in the Rose Garden while entertaining the recently pardoned Angelo Mozilo, former head of Countrywide Mortgage and Richard Wohl, former President of IndyMac. 

Well, it was no surprise.  We had all expected it.  Real estate sales had fallen to about 10% of the volume for 2008.  There was little opposition to the Bill.  Although the President of the National Association of Realtors had attempted to meet with Senator Dodd, D-CT whose aide was overheard commenting "Hey, Sen. Dodd got a VIP sweetheard mortgage loan from Countrywide.  He knows who butters his bread." Foreclosure for sale

FORECLOSURE FOR SALE.  The action was precipitated by the overwhelming number of homes on the market now selling, foreclosures offered for sale and short sale listings that were not being approved by the banks financing the homes with owners in financial distress or default.  Fully 50% of the homes on the market nationwide were foreclosures or short sales, but the banks stopped approving any offers to buy in late 2008.  Many suspected that the banks conspired to slow and finally cease approving contract offers that included a commission to real estate agents/brokers.  Once the agents and brokers ceased listing activities, banks began listing properties in default on the Internet and invited prospective buyers to visit the homes.  Names, addresses and phone numbers of the owners were listed.  If the buyers were interested in buying, they were to contact their local bank member of the consortium banks authorized to handle the sales. 

STREAMLINED REAL ESTATE CONTRACT.  The banks offered online forms for buyers to complete and deliver to one of the banks on the "approved" financing resources list available at the local bank member of the consortium.  Once the bank received a form from an interested buyer, they were advised to obtain the services of an attorney to prepare a Contract of Sale.  All fees for credit review, appraisal, legal fees, surveys, etc. were paid in advance by the purchasers.  Bank clerks were all advised to direct home buyers to obtain the services of an attorney and when the contract between the buyer and seller was completed, the bank would process a loan application through one of the bank consortium members.

There was little for real estate agents to do since most banks controlled over 50% of the existing properties in the country.  Prices weren't published anywhere.  While agents still maintained the MLSs, few sellers listed because buyers were all going to the banks for lists of foreclosures.  Sellers found that their net was lower than they expected.  However, they were happy because, as the bank clerk advised, "you won't have to pay a real estate commission". 


Top Contributors to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, 2007-2008 Cycle

Citigroup Inc $80,800
UBS Americas $74,250
Paul, Weiss et al $67,000
Kasowitz, Benson et al $64,250
Metropolitan Life $59,000
Goldman Sachs $58,040
Morgan Stanley $57,000
Guardsmark Inc $54,000
Lehman Brothers $53,750
Merrill Lynch $50,250
JPMorgan Chase & Co $47,800
Cantor Fitzgerald $46,250
Milberg, Weiss et al $46,250
News Corp $46,250
Time Warner $43,500
Newmark & Co Real Estate $43,450
Cassidy & Assoc/Interpublic Group $40,171
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu $39,999
Tudor Investment Corp $39,250
Lazard Freres & Co $39,000

Contributors to Representative Barney Frank, D-MA, 2007-2008 Cycle

Ace Cash Express $5,000
American Bankers Assn $8,000
Bank of America $1,000
Bank of America $2,000
Bank of New York Mellon $2,000
Citigroup Inc $2,500
Citizens Financial Group $1,000
Fifth Third Bancorp $2,000
Financial Services Roundtable $5,000
Huntington Bancshares $1,000
Independent Community Bankers of America $10,000
JPMorgan Chase & Co $4,500
JPMorgan Chase & Co $2,500
KeyCorp $1,000
LaSalle Bank $5,000
Massachusetts Bankers Assn $1,250
National Bankers Assn $1,000
National City Corp $1,000
US Bancorp $2,500
Wachovia Corp $3,000
Wells Fargo $2,000

 Top Contributors to Sen. Barak Obama, D-IL, 2008

Goldman Sachs $658,430
University of California $495,159
JPMorgan Chase & Co $423,107
Citigroup Inc $393,904
UBS AG $377,600
University of Chicago $375,829
Harvard University $363,074
Lehman Brothers $342,760
Kirkland & Ellis $341,064
Skadden, Arps et al $335,234
Sidley Austin LLP $334,845
Google Inc $327,964
Exelon Corp $309,161
Morgan Stanley $297,463
National Amusements Inc $284,850
Jones Day $251,250
Time Warner $250,002
Jenner & Block $236,899
Latham & Watkins $230,276
Bank of America $227,442

Top Contributors to Senator Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. 2008.

Citigroup Inc $310,294
SAC Capital Partners $286,600
United Technologies $263,400
American International Group $224,678
St Paul Travelers Companies $205,400
Bear Stearns $205,100
Goldman Sachs $175,600
Royal Bank of Scotland $174,050
Morgan Stanley $155,000
Credit Suisse Group $154,550
Merrill Lynch $139,550
JPMorgan Chase & Co $130,850
Lehman Brothers $124,200
KPMG LLP $113,100
National Westminster Bank $111,900
General Electric $108,250
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu $108,000
Hartford Financial Services $101,500
The Hartford $94,350
Bank of America $91,300

Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, 

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Comments (61)

Marilyn Katz
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - Westport, CT
ABR, e-PRO -

Hi Lenn-  Interesting contribution list.  Was that money given to Kucinich, before he dropped out of the presidential race (Jan'08), or do you think it was just to support his impeachment proceedings against Cheney and impeachment articles, introduced against Bush.

Jul 22, 2008 12:59 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Marilyn.  That's in the 2008 list. 

Jul 22, 2008 02:29 AM
Jan Wood
None - Gallatin, TN

God, Lenn... this sounds more like a bad dream.  Too much coffee in your diet. 

I've been telling everyone that I hope both candidates slip on a banana peel before the election.

I'm very surprised that News Corp gave Schumer one dime... now that's very interesting.


Aug 05, 2008 12:57 PM
Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

Lenn (and Jan Wood), I think most of these corporate "givers" are acting out of fear rather than beneficense. If they don't "pay up" they don't get anything. Apparently McCain has less to offer BofA than Obama or they fear Obama more.

The real estate industry is changing whether or not the banks come in. And their inventory won't last forever anyway.  Fear not children, we shall overcome this as well.

Bill Roberts

Sep 14, 2008 08:20 AM
Sandy Childs
Keller Williams Realty - Spartanburg, SC
Realtor - Spartanburg, SC

Lenn: OMG we have been talking about how this could happen for months! I just love the way that you put it in story form. Girl you are dead on. Maybe the next one that you write could be about how we wake up to live in socialism or with a dictator. It could happen.

Mar 31, 2009 12:02 PM
Heather Fitzgerald
REALTY WORLD-Harbert Company, Inc. - Greenwood, IN
REALTOR Greenwood Indiana Real Estate

My business partner swears we are headed for Socialism, touching on what Sandy says.  Interesting that Barney received more money than Obama from NAR-what the heck????

Scary that Obama was harping so much and now is almost silent on these issues.  We have a bunch of properties that were scheduled for Sheriff's Sale from January thru last month that ended up being canceled, but will probably end up on as reo's eventually, flooding the market again.  They were postponed I believe due to the moratorium that was so important that seems to have fallen off of Obama's urgent agenda.

May 07, 2009 12:37 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland


IMO, these guys up on the hill and in the White House live in a caccoon.  They aren't that tuned in to the country, only their individual agendas and the agendas of the entities that feed their coffers. 

Power is their game and they are pathological about it.  They are also ruthless.  The extent to which Obama and his cabal is infiltrating our government and the banking, corporate, etc. systems is absolutely frightening. 

Even if the masses could read through their rhetoric, stand up and vote them out, the government that will remain will not be what most believe it to be. 


May 07, 2009 09:26 PM
Kent Anderson
Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho - Sandpoint, ID
from Schweitzer to the Lake

Lenn - Can we say Conspiracy?  I just had a conversation like this on Monday with a customer who is facing 2 foreclosures.  WELL WRITTEN!

Jun 17, 2009 05:06 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Kent.  Thanks.  The perfidy of the members of Congress is, IMO, palpable.


Jun 17, 2009 10:31 PM
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

Dear Lenn,

What a well written post. You should have been a reporter. Your facts and info are so clear and easy to follow. Why on earth would TREPAC give our money to each and every politician in the race? What is the point of that? Why not spend it on one candidate that actually  has our interests at heart??? Wouldn't that make more sense?? Just my .02. Thanks!


Jul 18, 2009 01:46 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Betina.  They don't look out for our interests.  They look out for their own.  They want a foot in the door no matter which candidate wins. 

Jul 18, 2009 10:05 PM
Sandy Childs
Keller Williams Realty - Spartanburg, SC
Realtor - Spartanburg, SC

Lenn: I never thought I would see this is=n my lifetime ~ I really don't want to work for a bank, but ut really could happen.

Aug 29, 2009 05:05 PM
Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing

Lenn, it's been a while since I've made a comment on AR - this is possibly the most prophetic posts ever written on AR.  Sadly, I'm not sure that there is anything any of us can do about it. 

Aug 29, 2009 06:09 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Sandy.  Sandy.  Work is work.  Perhaps you won't have to.

Kate.  Thanks.  This was written July 2006 but I saw the debacle coming back in Spring 2005.  That's when I sold my house in Bethesda.  The key for me was when average prices of real estate was higher than the average home buyers could qualify to buy. 

I never dreamed at that time that the government would engage in policies so destructive to the average home owner, but as the market slowed, I realized early in 2006 that home owners were in trouble and it would seriously reflect in real estate activity.  We lost the move-up buyers and that has traditionally been about 25% of our market.  With that consumer out of the market, the market was dead. 

Congress has not a clue.  They simply do what their lobbys dictate.  Of course, there was also the crooks who ran Fannie and Freddie that gave us false financials to inflate their own bonuses.  They got off scott free and the Congresspersons who took bribes to save the banks got reelected.  The final insult to the citizenry was the total power grab by the Obame admin.  We haven't begun to see the harm to the country that will cause. 

Aug 29, 2009 10:00 PM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I think it could happen the way you are saying.  However, the reality is I think the banks have shown exactly why they should not be in real estate.  The government runs the banks, so what it will come down to is the Banks (Government) deciding what and if we can buy or rent and where.

Very Scary.

Oct 10, 2009 01:06 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Gene.  I am of the opinion that almost anything that has come from the government for the past 12 months is scary indeed.

Oct 10, 2009 11:21 PM
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

I frankly don't think very well of NAR; never have.

Their lobbying on behalf of member interest is enormously lack luster.

I don't want my dues being spent to support any particular party or candidate.  But if the membership as a whole feels it is appropriate, then those contributions should be equally divided.

Feb 19, 2013 10:02 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Bill.  I was OUTRAGED when I saw the list to whom the Virginia associations contributed.  I reduced my RPAC contribution from $100 to $10.

Feb 19, 2013 11:20 PM
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

I don't do TRPAC (Texas) for that very reason.  I think that the for an association of a zillion members, NAR and the state associations do a terrible job of representing our interests.


Feb 24, 2013 02:15 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Bill.  Good for you.  I'm very disappointed with the Virginia assn.  I don't pay much attention to the MD assn.  They've been lost for decades.

Feb 24, 2013 06:27 PM