Daily Archives: 2003-08-11

fighting predatory lending

I’ve signed a contract to sell the duplex. It’s a good offer except that the buyer asked for 30 days for a financing contingency, which seems like a very long time to have my house in limbo for this market. The contract did include a pre-approval letter from an organization called NACA, but NACA isn’t a financial institution, so the contingency is still there.

I’m not sure exactly what NACA really is. It seems to be an advocate organization for people who are targets of predatory lending. Or perhaps it’s an collective to extort money from banks. Or both.

From what I can tell, NACA extorts banks into giving loans to working people with bad credit, usually poor to middle income people. The founder described himself as a “Bank Terrorist”… in 2000, of course. Since 2001, people would be more cautious with that label. I found that quote on the google cache of NACA’s web site. That article doesn’t appear in their press clippings section any more. Apparently it’s been redacted. But the original article apparently ran on 2000-11-12 in The Boston Globe, titled, “Activist bringing Fleet fight to N.J.”, by SAM ALI, Star-Ledger Staff.

So basically this guy (Bruce Marks, founder of NACA) provides training to people who have bad credit and want to get a home loan. In exchange for participating in at least five civil actions against predatory lenders, he’ll get them the loan they want at great rates.

He then uses these people to stage protests against banks that want to merge, say, and need consent of local governments. He makes the banks look sufficiently bad that they beg him to go away. Which he does, if the bank guarantees a few billion dollars of loans through his program. Circle closed.

NACA may well do some other things that are also positive and neighborhood strengthening. Here’s another nice article about them.

I think this is fascinating. It’s inspired. It’s devious. It’s possibly criminal. It may be helping me to sell my house.


I was watching TV last weekend, and I ran across a show on the new TNN called Most Extreme Elimination Challenge. Basically, it’s an old Japanese game show where contestants compete for prizes by doing silly, and sometimes dangerous stunts. Added to this is voice-over of American comics doing fake translation. You end up with something pretty humorous, if you’ve got a taste for slapstic comedy. Normally I don’t, but maybe I was just in the right mood; the show had me laughing out loud.

Following this show was a made-up sport called “Slamball“. Slamball is like basketball, except that there are trampolines embedded in the court, four on each side, near the net. And there’s plexiglass surrounding the court, kinda like hockey. They portray it like it’s a real sport that’s gonna catch on. And who knows, it might. I found it significantly more entertaining to watch than real basketball, but maybe that’s just because of the novelty. I’ve never been a big sports fan of any kind, really.

Suzette got me to watch the Tour de France this year, and occasionally I follow the New England Patriots, and I’ve gotten interested in some sailing races. Le Race and the America’s Cup. I’m not a sports fan, but I might have to start watching Slamball. Trampolines are fun.