BLOG VIEW: What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

Written by Phil Hall
on June 08, 2009 No Comments
Categories : Blog View

you have been following MortgageOrb, you may recall that we recently established a presence on Twitter[/b] – we're over at www.twitter.com/MortgageOrb – and, to date, we've received a respectable number of followers. If you've never monkeyed about Twitter, the key challenge is getting your message out within the tight parameters of 140 characters. Thus, if you have to say something, it needs to be succinct. And considering your message is one out of zillions floating around cyberspace, it needs to stand out with clarity and some degree of importance. The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) knows something about getting a point across with no excess verbiage. Last week, it put out a report on the state of foreclosures, and its talking points were startling: One million new foreclosures have been filed so far in 2009, which can be subdivided into 6,500 foreclosures a day or one new foreclosure every 13 seconds. Stop for a moment and count to 13. When you reach 13, there's a new foreclosure. Repeat your count, and there's another foreclosure at 13. Then do it again, and again, and again. You get the idea? And, for the record, ‘one new foreclosure every 13 seconds’ is a mere 36 characters, including spaces! The CRL deserves kudos for defining the problem in a manner that fits well into our Twitter age of micro-messages. But now comes the hard part: How does the industry communicate a solution in a manner that is quickly and easily absorbed? I am not necessarily suggesting that the answer to our problems is to get a Twitter account. But I am calling (again) on the industry to shape a clear, concise and cogent explanation of how it is working to ensure the stability of the housing market and, by extension, help to push the economy back onto the road to recovery. It is difficult to counter the notion of a proactive, genuinely concerned industry working overtime to stem the tide of foreclosures when the notion of one foreclosure every 13 seconds is put forward. As I mentioned in my Blog View last week, CNN reported that the much-ballyhooed HOPE for Homeowners program – which was created with the idea of helping up to 400,000 borrowers avoid foreclosure – helped only one family remain in its home its first seven months. Again, the succinct definition of a response – one family in seven months – is sharp, albeit in a manner that slices the credibility of the mortgage banking sector and the Department of Housing & Urban Development. (After all, they are the designers of the HOPE for Homeowners program). My challenge to the industry is simple, but not simplistic: Define your response to the ongoing crisis in a Twitter-worthy manner. Spare me the white papers, congressional testimony and speeches. Spell out, in fewer than 140 characters, just what the industry in general is doing to turn around the crisis. But if the industry is not able to explain itself in this tight manner, then we can easily cite the famous line from the movie ‘Cool Hand Luke’: ‘What we have here is a failure to communicate.’ And as a result of that failure, there will be further erosion of public, government and investor confidence in the industry. – Phil Hall, editor, [b][i]Secondary Marketing Executive[/i][/b]. [i] (Please address all comments regarding this opinion column to hallp@sme-online.co

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