Archive for December, 2009

Bank of America, RE/Max and Wells Fargo. From Very Bad to Great.

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Einstein BofA

For his ground breaking book, "Good To Great", Jim Collins and his research team looked into just about every public company in the United States to find those companies that made the transition from good to great.  Good is the enemy of great – which is why most companies and most people never make that leap.  They are good. They are not great.  To get on Jim Collins "great list" a company had to significantly outperform the other companies in that industry for  a minimum of fifteen years.  Making the great list wasn’t going to be a fluke.  Collins first wanted to isolate the companies, then study them to find out what the great companies all had in common – which is the subject of his book.  A very interesting part of his study was also the direct comparison company chosen that had the same opportunities as the great company – but did not make the leap.  Those companies were studied, as well – to find out what they had in common.

The good to great company that made the grade in banking was Wells Fargo.  The direct comparison bank – that had the same opportunities, but did not act upon them and did not move towards greatness – was Bank of America.

Currently, Wells Fargo is the very best bank to deal with for a short sale.  The very best.  The other banks that are factually as good as, if not better than Wells (Wachovia, World Savings) are owned by Wells Fargo!

I’ve written before about Bank of America.  When it comes to short sales, from an agent’s, buyer’s or seller’s perspective, B of A / Countrywide has been, and is still currently, the absolute worst lender in the United States to deal with – and pretty much everyone in the industry knows it.

Now the good news.  A month or so ago one of the most powerful and truly influential people in real estate, Dave Liniger  assembled some top B of A executives and several United States Senators in the same room.  I think it is fantastic that Dave Liniger can contact them, tell them when and where he needs to see them and have them actually arrive.

Mr. Liniger proceeded to tell the B of A executives that their reputation – in the area of short sales was just awful.  He told them that he had about 100,000 agents with RE/Max and that he doubted very many of them would even consider directing loans to Bank of America.  He pointed out to them that if they had any hope of keeping their agent driven business they had better stop making enemies over in their short sale division.  The senators were a little surprised and dismayed at all the specifics Mr. Liniger pointed out had occurred with regard to loan modifications that never happened (after people were put on wait for six to nine months) and that the same thing was happening with short sales.

The Bank of America executives were shocked and said they had no idea such things were happening and (the good news) vowed to correct each and every one of types of behavior that Liniger had pointed out to them.  Dave Liniger is predicting that B of A short sales will soon be as easy to do as Wells Fargo short sales.

To be fair, B of A is already improving.  The loss mitigation companies they’ve hired to handle some of their short sales is not (repeat, is NOT) difficult to work with, at all.

I personally do not believe that B of A will ever consistently achieve the stellar results that Wells does.  The reason?   The executives were shocked at what Dave Liniger had to tell them – they didn’t already know.  A great executive would have not only known it was happening, they would have been able to predict it and prevent it from happening.  Great executives make it their business to know what is happening in their business.  That said, I still believe that B of A will make great strides and improve tremendously.  I want to add, I am grateful for Dave Liniger stepping up and to B of A’s top management for owning up.

Short Sales are only going to get easier!  So, THANK YOU!

A Late Christmas Gift For You

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

checking for email

I haven’t been blogging much lately (for some months) and needed an easy one to get myself started again.  The gift to me is being able to post this here now.  The gift to you is a really (really really) cool book from Seth Godin you can download for free, here.

I think you will really like it.  I know I have.

Merry Christmas to everyone!