Wikinvest Wire

Imploding mortgage lenders: "It's so depressing"

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

There's a nice article in the NY Times today about the Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter featuring an interview with founder Aaron Krowne.

Interestingly, he used the same word in the final quote that I used over the weekend with one of his assistants when discussing an email sent to me by an employee at the now mostly defunct Indymac.

Aaron noted, "I really wish that our esteemed policy makers would pay attention and not repeat the same mistake. It’s so depressing.”

I still remember that day about a year and a half ago when Aaron sent me an email asking if I would kindly add a link for his new website, now referred to as "The Meter" by insiders. At the time, the count was about 25.

The misery in the housing market is registering on the Implode-O-Meter.

As millions of homeowners fall behind on their mortgages, a fledging Web site called the Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter is gleefully tallying the number of lenders that run into trouble too. On Monday, the count was 265 — and rising.

With its tongue-in-cheek tone and running lists of the “imploded” and the merely “ailing,” the Implode-O-Meter has become a sort of Gawker of the subprime world. At a recent Mortgage Bankers Association conference, a speaker addressed what has become a hot topic among lenders: how to keep your company’s name off the site.

“No one wants to be number 266,” said Jim Reichbach, a vice chairman and leader of Deloitte’s banking and securities team. “This is a death toll that is equivalent to the casualty ticker of the Vietnam War.”

The Implode-O-Meter is the brainchild of Aaron Krowne, a former researcher at Emory University in Atlanta. A computer scientist and mathematician, Mr. Krowne, 28, started the site in 2007, believing that the troubles in the housing market, and by extension the mortgage industry, would worsen.

He was right — and the Implode-O-Meter took off. Traffic on the site soared, reaching as many as 100,000 regular visitors, and advertising dollars rolled in. Mr. Krowne quit his day job and hired 10 people for his company, Implode-Explode Heavy Industries.
No one wants to be number 266, but somebody has to.

Yesterday that honor went to Lehman Brothers SBF.

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