Friday, April 11, 2008

The Mortgage Broker Boom

A couple of months ago I chatted with someone who was fairly high up in a subprime lending business. Unsurprisingly he had been laying a lot of people off. He told me something that I hadn't quite realized, that mortgage brokers had been making a hell of a lot of money. $500K annual salary kind of money. And he told me a story woman who worked for him, and not even one he'd laid off, who had been making that kind of money, bought a house for 7 figures or so, and after business went a bit sour had lost it and had moved back in with her parents. I joked that at least she hadn't bought a bunch of properties to flip. He laughed and said that, well, she had and had lost those too. The story was pretty much like this one on NPR.

Amber Barbosa didn't graduate college. But she did get an education — by working for the now infamous subprime lender New Century Mortgage Corp.

Barbosa was a quick study: A few years later, she struck out on her own as a mortgage broker.

"In 2006, I made close to $500,000," she says. Not bad for a 28-year-old with no college degree.

By then Barbosa, who was living outside of San Francisco, had a nice boat, a 27-foot Bayliner. She had several houses, a Mercedes and a Cadillac.