For nearly a decade, Beth Jacobson lived inside the vast machinery of subprime mortgages that shook the nation’s economy.
In sworn court testimony, she describes watching loan officers comb through heavily black areas such as Baltimore and Prince George’s County, forging relationships with churches and community groups to sell them shoddy loans. She says she processed homeowners with sterling credit ratings for higher interest rates than they needed to pay. And she says she pumped out millions of dollars in mortgages to people with no paperwork and low incomes to become Wells Fargo’s top-producing loan officer.
The machine made her rich — the questions came later. Now, she has recast herself as a crusader for consumers in a battle that has pitted her against the system she once pushed.
The 51-year-old Maryland mom has emerged as a defining character in the ongoing saga of the country’s housing crisis, from the headiest days of the bubble to the current flood of foreclosures. Her scathing affidavit detailing “the stagecoach to hell” at Wells Fargo is a key part of the groundbreaking lawsuit filed by the city of Baltimore against her former employer. The case spawned copycats across the nation, and federal regulators launched investigations mirroring its claims.
TVNL Comment: Too little, too late. The damage has been done, big time.