My Mortgage Broker, My Friend?

A Wall Street Journal piece this morning asks the increasingly relevant question: Is my mortgage broker really working for me?

New Yorkers, especially, should be asking that. State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo earlier this month subpoenaed information from Manhattan appraiser Mitchell Maxwell & Jackson and from mortgage broker Manhattan Mortgage Company, one of the city's top originators of mortgages. Mr. Cuomo's office then, shortly after these initial subpoenaes, extended its dragnet to include the real-estate appraisal unit of First American Corp., another appraiser that does work in the city.

The information sought? Whether or not mortgage brokers have been pressuring appraisers to inflate or otherwise change property values.

In a city where such values have jumped this decade, the pressure is understandably on for every side of a home sale--buyer, seller, broker, mortgage broker, bank. Each side has vested financial interests in a closed deal, and buyers who trust their mortgage brokers to work for them (rather than realizing up front that the mortgage broker works for him or herself) engage in a fickle lunacy.

"The mortgage broker does not represent the borrower," one mortgage broker in Colorado told the Journal. "We sell access to money."

Borrower, beware, indeed.


Article continues below
More from Politics
(FILES): These two file photos show then Labor Secretary Thomas Perez (L) speaking to reporters about the minimum wage for federal contractors at the White House in Washington, DC, on Feburary 12, 2014; and Minnesota Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison (R) during a press conference about Islamophobia at the National Press Club on May 24, 2016 in Washington, DC.

US Democrats, licking their wounds from last year's election debacle, will pick a new leader on February 25, 2017 to take the fight to President Donald Trump and his Republicans. The race to chair the Democratic National Committee (DNC) features front-runners Tom Perez, a Hispanic-American and former secretary of labor under Barack Obama who is the establishment pick, and Keith Ellison, a black Muslim congressman from the party's progressive wing who has left open the prospect of pushing to impeach Trump. / AFP / Mandel NGAN AND Brendan SMIALOWSKI        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN,BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Sanders 2020 Just Became Much More Likely With Tom Perez as DNC Chair