I received my training in the basics of sound credit at the Bankers Trust Company; at that time a staid old bank that moved slowly but surely before it added new loans to its portfolio.
Then I moved to Merrill Lynch where greater gambles were often taken. But risk was always weighed carefully against potential reward.
Not surprisingly, given my rigid financial training, I am aghast at the newest trend in accommodating illegal aliens—home mortgages.
No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot conceive of any bank granting home loans to applicants who cannot produce a social security card.
Nor can I for the life of me imagine proposing to my former superiors a new type of loan whose success is dependent on violating federal law on several levels.
All I can say is that if I had ever summoned up the nerve to try such a scheme, my career would have been instantly and forever in the toilet.
Merrill Lynch, with five floors of in-house lawyers and a squadron of outside counsel, would have relegated me to the boondocks from which I would never have emerged.
But that was then and this is now.
The issue in a nutshell is that many illegal aliens, now widely viewed by banks and businesses of all stripes as a hot "new emerging market," can qualify for a home mortgage with as little as two years of U.S. residency, a "credit history," and an Individual Tax Payer Identification Number.
The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, salivating, reports that according to its own study
"Undocumented Latino immigrants would add an estimated $44 billion in new mortgages to the housing economy…"
According to NAHREP, the only barriers standing in the way are of home ownership for "undocumented immigrants" are:
"…Identification, legalization, traditional credit requirements and language…lack of relationships with financial institutions, lack of credit and therefore credit scoring challenges; low-to-moderate income…"[NAHREP News Release]
In her August 3rd column titled Mortgages for Illegal Aliens Encouraged by FDIC, Diane Grassi states that the FDIC is "formally encouraging" banks to enter "this largely untapped market." [Mortgages for Illegal Aliens Encouraged by FDIC, Diane M. Grassi, Common Voice. August 3, 2005]
Grassi quotes FDIC spokesman Michael Frias:
"Banks aren't legally required to verify legal status. There is no federal law which requires banks to verify the immigration status of foreign account holders."
Frias' comment may be technically true. But the policy of lending to people you know are illegally residing in the US is against federal law.
Financial institutions get around the rules by accepting the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number in lieu of a social security number and the matricula consular card, now known as High Security Consular Registration. (Note: like D.A. King, I have one!)
They just don't seem to care that an ITIN has as much value in terms of identification as a dry cleaning receipt. Anyone can get them over the phone, no questions asked.
But more importantly from a bank compliance perspective, the Internal Revenue Service, on its website, states with crystal clarity that "ITINs are not valid identification outside the tax system," and "ITINs do not prove identity outside the tax system, and should not be offered or accepted as identification for non-tax purposes."
The legal argument against financial institutions making loans to illegal aliens is three fold:
provides that banks must know their customers and any illegal activity must be reported to the government.
With the hope that I could ferret it all out, I spoke at length with a real estate loan executive at a leading San Joaquin County bank.
He told me that within a matter of minutes any lending officer would realize that he was likely dealing with an illegal immigrant. And my source wonders how loans made on the strength of non-secure documents will pass the scrutiny of auditors.
Over and again, my source repeated that it would be irresponsible to lend money to an individual who could not properly identify himself.
"We are legally obligated under the Bank Secrecy Act to know our customer," my source said.
Here's where we stand today:
Illegal aliens are working, illegally, on construction crews that are building houses to be sold, illegally, to aliens who have obtained their mortgages illegally. (See VDARE.COM statistics compiled by Edwin S. Rubenstein on Hispanics in the construction trades: "National Data: Employment Report Shows Immigrants Displacing Americans…Again.")
At VDARE.COM, we often write about the "Treason Lobby"—the alliance of ethnic interests, immigration lawyers etc. who are working to destroy America as we know it through mass immigration.
Is banking the "Treason Industry"?
But all is not lost. My friend and fellow VDARE.COM contributor D.A. King is tenaciously pursuing the criminals who lend illegally to aliens.
King tells me he has developed a file of correspondence and research documents "9 inches high."
In June, King wrote a column titled "Can Banks Profiteer from Illegal Immigration with Impunity?" that urged the Controller of the Currency to enforce the law and act on behalf of all Americans to end the practice of mortgage lending to aliens.
The very good news is that King's push to eliminate non-secure identification in Georgia may be on the verge of paying off.
According to a story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, a panel of Georgia House and Senate lawmakers recently met with more than a dozen statewide law enforcement officials to promote new legislation that would crack down on crime committed by illegal aliens.
Central to the any proposed legislation would be stamping out fake identification cards. ["Illegal Immigrants Will Be Hot State Topic," Sonji Jacobs, Atlanta Journal Constitution, August 11, 2005]
Those like King who fight illegal immigration are properly outraged by the banking industry's latest affront in the name of greater profits.
We have many targets for our anger.
But let's make sure that we never forget that immigration law breaking is condoned at the highest level—George W. Bush and the White House.
In 2000, Bush constantly reminded voters that America "is a nation of laws."
But that sound clip turned out to be a sad joke. In more than four years, Bush has not shown the slightest indication to enforce immigration laws.
What does it say about the leadership in our country when it falls to grassroots activists like King to do the work that Bush and his administration should be doing?
But Bush's fixation on immigration, particularly from Mexico, goes beyond anything business could want.
In the process, he's selling out his party—and his country.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.