Not that this isn't yet another thing that several people should have gone to jail for, but wasn't this already known? I thought it was one of the major highlights of the debacle that all of the major ratings agencies were owned by the big players in the financial crisis.
the new Rolling Stone feature article uncovers the depth and mechanism of the scam, thanks to the findings of a law firm that is suing some figures from the industry
its a compelling, if sickening, read
and there will at least be a few lawsuits, but besides that no one will ever be held accountable for one of the biggest crimes ever committed
I know this should make my blood boil, but I still have can't-think-clearly rage towards investment bankers and bond traders. It's pretty clear to me that they were the ones orchestrating this and the ratings agencies were the shitheels that went along with it. Sure, have them shot, but have the other guys shot first. I don't want their getting shot bogged down by a waiting line.
I used to work for one of these agencies, (not in the ratings department) but did research on retirement plans for them. I'd have to contact companies to get as much contact info as possible--names, phone extensions, email addresses, position titles, responsibilities--you name it. It didn't help that our script went along the lines of those scams where people call you up and "just want to verify some contact information."
The strategy involved calling up the receptionist, getting as much info as possible out of her, then trying to get transferred to HR and milking them for more info, then another, and another. You learned to notice when someone was just exasperated enough with you before hanging up, then thanking them and asking to speak with someone else. Ultimately, I was charged with working my way up to the person in charge of the 401(k) or whatever and then ask them point blank how much the plan was worth, how much of it was in stocks, bonds, etc, which company managed the plan, who was the actuary. Some of them were very forthcoming, but a lot of these CFOs would lose their shit and cuss me out. After we downgraded the US's credit rating, they were even more cagey, and explaining that I was from a completely different department didn't seem to do much good.
Even if someone didn't want to talk with me, I'd still try to look up their extension by dialing their name on the directory, if the place had one, and seeing if a computerized voice would spit out an extension. I'd send blank emails to what I thought might be the person's email address to see if it would be returned as undeliverable. I faked a foreign accent, badly. All the information we got went into our databases. All of it, including comments about individuals (Name is pronounced Taco-knee; Friendly. Maybe too friendly; Scary dude)
The more time I spent away from there, the more I realized how sleazy I sounded when telling my friends what I did for a living.
I have a friend who sold NINA mortgages right up til the bubble burst, his stories are pretty amazing
This was more of a constantly-ongoing data mining operation to create a database for financial advisers, so I'm not sure about the mechanics of the credit boondogglery. The publication in question is here:
The initial phase of these interviews was sometimes held up by befuddled receptionists who wondered why "Standard Floors" was calling. They already had a janitorial service, thank you very much. No matter how often you say the name of the company, it doesn't make much sense to the person hearing it.
Of course you don't. All the big wall companies went bust after they were downgraded.
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