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Somebody listen to Ohio Congressman Mike Turner

Two Men, Two Strategies

How do you solve the mortgage crisis? These two men have the answers but they differ to some extent. First, meet Ron Farris, president of Ocwen Financial Corp. The West Palm Beach, FL-based commercial and residential loan servicing company has not fared so well last year with large losses in the third quarter. Yet Farris remains optimistic despite the odds. In an interview with The Palm Beach Post, he has this to say on keeping up with his customers, “For many years the mortgage business was all about originations, which was something we did very little of. With the economic troubles the country has experienced, mortgage servicing has become the focus… I like to find out first-hand what our customers are experiencing when they interact with us. I try to spend time each month listening in on customer phone calls and calling our customer service number myself.”

It’s something that Farris might have learned from the mortgage market catastrophe and his company is carefully watching its own actions to prevent any costly mistakes.

Now there’s a refreshing idea from another man. Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville is calling on Congress to create an agency that will limit the release of risky mortgages. His official press release states, “The report, (The Impact of the Housing Crisis on Local Communities and the Federal Response)summarizes a number of policy considerations based on the individual testimonies and discussions held at the housing forum into broad based themes consisting of the following: preventing predatory lending by increasing financial product transparency and preventing the issuance of inappropriate loan products; streamlining the mortgage servicing industry; standardizing housing counseling and loan modification regulations; improving the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and building local organizational capacity in distressed communities; and rethinking the impact of the low-income housing tax credit on older cities.”

Looking at Farris’ and Turner’s solutions, it’s no brainer to see the difference. The former attacks the problem on a “business-is-business” approach, looking at things as already given so he takes off from where the mess is. The latter however is more sensible, one that can nip the mortgage mess in the bud.

Somebody listen to Rep. Turner please.

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