Another Year, Another Early Exit


Basketplayer Greg Oden
Image via Wikipedia

I have come up with a rather unorthodox opinion:  the same people who referee basketball games must also be the same ones responsible for enforcing the rules and regulations within the mortgage industry. 

I’m not ashamed to admit it – I’m a Portland basketball fan and have been since I was a kid when I first moved here from Vancouver BC.  Sometimes it’s painful to be in a market that has just one professional franchise and to get so caught up in the success or failure of that one team.  But as is the case for any fan, the misery of defeat is made up for by a few – albeit scattered – brilliant successes.  Welcome to Portland.

Having just suffered through another first round exit, I’ve pondered a few things about the series and about the NBA in general.  I’m not necessarily one of those fans that thinks that Portland never gets the benefit of a whistle by the referees.  To be honest, I’m just more or less puzzled by how officials call NBA games in general. 

From this fan’s perspective, it would appear there is a great deal of discrepancy in how games are refereed throughout a series.  In general, the home team seems to have a slight edge as does the team that is being more aggressive.  Within a game it seems that momentum switches and that the way a game is called changes as well.  One of the things that puzzles me is how physical the game is played inside and how difficult it seems to be to get a call from a referee when your player is seemingly getting mugged on the way to the basket.  On the other hand, players that are dribbling the ball at mid-court appear to get the benefit of a whistle for what hardly could even be called contact.  I don’t get it.  And I’m not saying that Dallas or Portland was given preferential treatment – I just don’t understand in general.  Sometimes the NBA seems as much like theatre as sport.

And here’s where I draw a comparison to the mortgage industry.  For the most part, our industry is regulated by two entities – Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Reserve.  Both have written laws (RESPA for HUD and TILA for the Federal Reserve) and neither are consistent with the enforcement of their own laws.  And, it seems like some entities are given preferential treatment or more lax enforcement.  Sometimes one law is pushed harder than another.  As is the case in basketball, too much enforcement slows down the game but lack of any enforcement leads to even bigger problems. 

So as I sit here pondering “what could have been” with my beloved Blazers, I am left having similar feelings about my industry.  The lack of enforcement has truly hurt all of us and we now find ourselves with a series of confusing and conflicting laws and regulations that leave consumers and professionals alike in a state of puzzlement.  Depending on the quarter, depending on the circumstances, some rules are pushed and others are ignored.

When Oden comes back he may just be the missing piece that Portland needs.  I just wish our industry had a seven footer in the middle to depend on.

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