Bruce Marks doesn’t bother being diplomatic. A campaigner on behalf of homeowners facing foreclosure, he was on the phone one day in March to a loan executive at Bank of America Corp.
“I’m tired of borrowers being screwed!” Mr. Marks yelled into the phone. “You’re incompetent!” Before hanging up, he threatened to call bank CEO Kenneth Lewis at home to complain about the loan executive.
Mr. Marks’s nonprofit organization, Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, has emerged as one of the loudest scourges of the banking industry in the post-bubble economy. It salts its Web site with photos of executives it accuses of standing in the way of helping homeowners — emblazoning “Predator” across their photos, picturing their homes and sometimes including home phone numbers. In February, NACA, as it’s called, protested at the home of a mortgage investor by scattering furniture on his lawn, to give him a taste of what it feels like to be evicted.
In the 1990s, Mr. Marks leaked details of a banker’s divorce to the press and organized a protest at the school of another banker’s child. He says he would use such tactics again. “We have to terrorize these bankers,” Mr. Marks says.
I presume we all know whom to blame if harm ever comes to any one of these bankers, and/or their families, as a consequence of Marks’s actions. To be sure, Marks deserves opprobrium. But he’s not the only one set to be placed in the dock:
Though some bankers privately deplore his tactics, Mr. Marks is a growing influence in the lending industry and the effort to curb foreclosures. NACA has signed agreements with the four largest U.S. mortgage lenders — Bank of America, Wells Fargo & Co., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. — in which they agree to work with his counselors on a regular basis to try to arrange lower payments for struggling borrowers. NACA has made powerful political friends, such as House majority whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, and it receives federal money to counsel homeowners.
(Emphasis mine.) Elected officials helped make this kind of financial terrorism possible. Read the whole thing to get a sense of the depths to which Marks is willing to go to potentially expose the people he doesn’t like to danger–his protestations of “we don’t do violence” don’t really do anything to ameliorate his gross irresponsibility. As you are reading, bear in mind that Marks has the support of the United States government in carrying out his campaign to “terrorize” bankers. Just what is the government thinking when it gives its stamp of approval to this nonsense?
(Thanks to Walter Olson for the link.)