Three years ago, I would've given anything for someone in the media or government to listen to me. I figured out how the banks were fixing the system to make money off innocent American citizens, and I wanted someone to know. I thought if I let the media know, they'd be excited to report the fraud. I assumed telling the government would fix things. Then I became the media...
Now I'm a veteran blogger, syndicated throughout the web. Friday I officially became a very unique and high-level expert within the housing industry. After a long journey that forever changed who I am, how I view the world, and what matters to me, this morning, I finally had the ears of a room full of senior officials from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Behind closed curtains, I told these people everything they needed to hear and I wanted so bad to tell someone who actually understood and could affect change. I feel like the weight of the world just fell off my shoulders.
Pacing back and forth on the gf's porch, I spoke to these people from the heart. It took 3 minutes to breeze through my credentials. This sounds like a lot of time, but for a whistleblower, there are easy trappings to fall into. I didn't just wake up one day with the right answer for the right ears -- I consorted with hackers, activists, journalists, and other assorted "deadbeats" to face cultists, drones, incarceration, death, being committed, and more trouble than it could possibly be worth. I walked through the fires of hell holding on to nothing more than my own sense of morality. I earned this call... and I played my position for every ounce it's worth.
I outlined for them the problems with mismatched technology - how allowing the banks to consolidate and buy each other out the way they did created a work environment where a regulator would have to study, practice, and dig through dozens of computer software systems training manuals to even begin working on the financial transactions contained within them. I illustrated to them that when financial health inspectors came to check out the banks, they were served freshly prepared information... and never bothered to check the kitchen.
Too Big Not To Fail
The officials were very interested in what I had to say. They tested my knowledge in every way possible, but they talked to me as an equal -- they showed me respect. I've talked to a lot of state and federal regulators; I'm no unknown in civil law circles either. A lot of these people think it's OK to talk down to me, but the FHFA guys (and broads) were good. They understood and made it very clear they want to help. I naturally question anyone's intentions, but I know I can't control the outcome. Yoga, meditation, and conversations with my loved ones remind me to detach from the outcome. Whatever the government does with the information I gave them, I know I gave it my all, and I know I gave them the right answers.
I wish I could sit here today and tell you that I just affected a major change in the world -- I solved the housing crisis, gave a fair way to punish those involved, and threw the banks (and with any luck, every corporation) under the same bus the average citizen is. I explained to them that Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac are responsible for maintaining the house the banks are gambling in. I detailed for them why force-placed insurance should be a service and not a product; how consumers deserve the same slap on the wrist for missing a payment that the banks get. I delved into every subject I wanted to say to the people I was saying it to if I ever had a chance to talk to them.
My at-bat may never be televised. I have no idea where the ball will land, and whether I'll round the bases. All I know is I got a pitch right over the plate, so I closed my eyes, swung for the fences, and ran with it...
Brian Penny is a former business analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower and freelance writer. He's a frequent contributor to Mainstreet, Lifehack, and HardcoreDroid and an affiliate of Manduka and Tazo. He documents his experiences working with Anonymous, practicing yoga, and fighting the banks on his blog.