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!
Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?
(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?
NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination
When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”
At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?
The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.
In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…
Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement
The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.
Job openings hit a high point
To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.
The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.
Good news, bad news, depending on your profession
That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.
Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.
If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.
If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.
Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.
Gas prices are down, so are gas taxes about to go up?
Do low gas prices mean higher gas taxes are on the way? Budgeting for 2015 just got a bit more complicated, if some politicians have their way.
Gas taxes and your bottom line
Many industries rely heavily on time in their vehicle, not just truck drivers and delivery trucks. Sales professionals hop in their vehicles throughout the day, as do many other types of professionals (service providers like plumbers, and so forth). For that reason, gas prices and taxes are a relevant line item that must be budgeted for 2015, but with politicians making the rounds to push for higher gas taxes, budgeting becomes more complicated.
Gas prices are down roughly 50 cents per gallon compared to a year ago, which some analysts say have contributed to more money in consumers’ pockets. Some believe that this will improve holiday sales, but others believe the timing is just right to increase federal taxes on gas. The current tax on gas is 18.40 cents per gallon, and on diesel are 24.40 cents per gallon.
Supporters and opponents are polar opposites
Supporters argue as follows: gas prices are low, so it won’t hurt to increase federal gas taxes, in fact, those funds must go toward improving our infrastructure, which in the long run, saves Americans money because smoother roads mean better gas mileage and less congestion.
Gas taxes have long been a polarizing concept, and despite lowered gas prices, the controversial nature of the taxes have not diminished.
While some are pushing for complete abolition of federal gas taxes, others, like former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell (D) tell CNBC, “Say that cost the average driver $130 a year. They would get a return on that investment” in safer roads and increased quality of life, he added.
The Washington Post‘s Chris Mooney points out that federal gas taxes have been “stuck” at 18 cents for over 20 years, last raised when gas was barely a dollar a gallon and that the tax must increase not only to improve the infrastructure, but to “green” our behavior, and help our nation find tax reform compromise.
Is a gas tax politically plausible?
Mooney writes, “So, this is not an argument that a gas tax raise is politically plausible — any more than a economically efficient tax on carbon would be. It’s merely a suggestion that — ignoring politics — it might be a pretty good idea.”
Rendell noted, “The World Economic Forum, 10 years ago, rated us the best infrastructure in the world,” adding that we “need to do something for our infrastructure, not in a one or two year period, but over a decade.”
Others would note that this rating has not crumbled in just a few years, that despite many bridges and roads in need of repair, our infrastructure is still superior to even the most civilized nations.
Regardless of the reasons, most believe that Congress won’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, especially leading up to another Presidential campaign season starting next year.
“I think it’s too toxic and continues to be too toxic,” Steve LaTourette (the former Republican congressman best known for his close friendship with his fellow Ohioan, Speaker John Boehner) tells The Atlantic. “I see no political will to get this done.”
Whether the time is fortuitous or not, and regardless of the positive side effects, many point to a fear of voters’ retaliation against any politician siding with a gas hike, so this matter going any further than the proposal stage is unlikely.
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