INDEPENDENT FORECLOSURE REVIEW: INTERVIEW OF DAVID HOLLAND, CEO OF RUST CONSULTING, BY SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN
Editor’s note: This is a spoof interview of David Holland, CEO of Rust Consulting, by Senator Elizabeth Warren
Senator Elizabeth Warren (EW):
Mr. Holland, you have been asked to reappear in from of the Senate Banking subcommittee because your company’s handling of the Independent Foreclosure Review settlement has been a fiasco.
David Holland, CEO of Rust Consulting (DH):
Senator, anything Rust Consulting is involved in is always a “Fee-Ass-Co.” That’s what we’re about at Rust – collecting fees. Not unlike the banks.
EW: Mr. Holland, what exactly is your company doing to correct some of the problems consumers are having with your company? Mail sent to the wrong address, refusing to change the address of record when the consumer calls, and those bounced checks.
DH: We have a call center and we’re taking calls, you know. Umm, that’s why they call it a call center. And, umm, we’re taking calls from people who received a postcard notice from us as part of the settlement. And now the first wave of checks has gone out. And, umm, you know, we’re playing music to get our staff pumped up to take all these calls. We were playing “Wipe Out” after the first wave until someone reminded me that many people have been wiped out in the foreclosure crisis. So to be more sensitive, we’ve switched to the theme from “Hawaii Five-O.”
EW: How is this helping consumers?
DH: We have a phone bank ready to answer any and all questions that we get from affected borrowers. We have on-site Spanish-speaking operators that can handle Spanish-speaking people, and there is a process by where we can use a third party to help translate I believe up to 200 languages if somebody calls, you know. So, you know, if a bank stole your home and you speak Swahili, we can probably get you a call back within a matter of weeks. We also have those, umm, Rosetta Stone tapes in the breakroom.
EW: Mr. Holland, it stands to reason that Spanish-speaking operators would converse with Spanish-speaking consumers. As far as answering any and all questions, consumers are calling my office to advise you are unable to answer any questions – dates the checks are gong out in their specific case, the amount of the check, why they are not being paid the amount under the category they were in. And why in the world would you not update the consumer’s address when they are calling to give it to you?
DH: The important thing for us, you know, is to be able to speak with the consumer. In their language. If you came from Ethiopia looking to live the American Dream – which includes home ownership – and the bank stole your property, we can talk to you. There are over 90 languages spoken in Ethiopia and chances are our third party can speak one of them. And we’re pretty damn proud of that.
EW: Enough with all of the language business, Mr.Holland. Why aren’t you answering consumer questions? Why are you not updating addresses? What exactly is the man objective for Rust Consulting in order to ensure this settlement is handled properly?
DH: Look Senator, there’s only one objective. And that’s for Rust Consulting to make it into the Guinness Book of Records for most postcards mailed. And thanks to the banks, I think we’re going to shatter the record.
EW: Mr. Holland, again I ask – what are you doing to help consumers who have questions regarding the Independent Foreclosure Review settlement?
DH: I think, umm, we’re doing a lot to help consumers. The other day a gentleman called in about the foreclosure settlement and when we punched in his name, we saw he was part of a class action settlement regarding his defective lawnmower. He was unaware of that. And had he not received his postcard about the IFR, he would have never known. Unfortunately, he missed the 90 days deadline to cash his check so we got to keep it. And we’re pretty damn proud of that.
EW: Speaking of checks and only having 90 days to cash or deposit them, there have been numerous complaints from recipients who were told insufficient funds were available to cash the checks. And why does the consumer only have 90 days to do so?
DH: It wasn’t like, that there was, umm, you know, insufficient funds. There was insufficient ink at the Treasury. Because that’s where the money is coming from to pay the consumer. It’s, umm, not coming from the banks from what I understand. And as far as the 90 days, we’re trying to replicate what the consumer is used to. They were told not to pay for 90 days in order to qualify for a loan modification. So we, umm, figured it was good number. And just like they were denied a loan modification, they probably won’t get to cash the check because we won’t get it to them in 90 days. It’s all about doing what the consumer is used to.
EW: Mr. Holland, cashing the checks within 90 days would not be a problem for most affected by this settlement had Rust sent the checks to the current address. What database did Rust use to verify this information. IRS? Social Security? Credit reporting agencies?
EW: Blockbuster Video?
DH: Yes. We have a kid in the mailroom that works part-time there. Time permitting, when we get returned mail he cross checks it against their database.
EW: Wouldn’t it have been easier and more effective to work with the postal service?
DH: We are working with the postal service. We have instructed their carriers if this is the first piece of mail they have delivered to that address in more than 3 years – don’t deliver it. If there are more than 4 windows boarded up in the front of the house – don’t deliver it. If there is shrubbery or vegetation concealing the entire house or more than 2 years worth of newspapers in the driveway – don’t deliver it.
EW: Mr. Holland, I have to admit – I am amazed at some of your responses, the lack of inaction at your company. What was your prior relationship with the OCC? How in the world – why in the world – was Rust Consulting chosen to handle this huge and important task?
DH: I have to admit it, before getting the gig I thought the OCC was that television show about kids on the beach in California. That Kelly Rowan chick was hot. Anyways, umm, you know, I’ll let our record speak for itself. Due some money for your defective lawnmower? We’ll handle it. Are you due a check for a boat motorgone bad? Chances are you’ll deal with us. I’m not saying you’ll get a check that you can cash, but you’ll deal with us. And as far as inaction, as you put it, yes – there’s a culture of inaction here. Hence the name “Rust.”
EW: Mr. Holland, your testimony was a wake up call up call for me. And I hope it was a wake up call for you as well. What are your takeaways from this meeting today?
DH: Senator, I think you fail to realize that we run a very sophisticated operation at Rust Consulting. This isn’t just two tin cans tied together and, umm, you know, talking to each other. That being said, I do realize there is always room for improvement. We’ve just hired a girl – Peggy from Prime Credit – and she starts on Monday. And we just hired another guy for the mailroom – and that makes three now. I just sent a text to our CFO and asked him to order some posters for the breakroom. The ones, umm, you know, that say something about soaring with the eagles. And to order some Tony Robbins books and videos for the breakroom.
EW: Mr. Holland, thank you for your testimony. Is there anything further you would like to add?
DH: When the rubber meets the road, or the check, Rust Consulting will be here for the consumer. And, umm, you know, that’s all folks.
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