Loan Fraud Expert, Syndicated Reporter, Baseball Hall of Famer to Address Attendees on Day 2

May 10, 2011

During the second day of general sessions at the Business Strategies Conference, attendees will hear from a long-time mortgage industry veteran and an award-winning real estate reporter. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins Jr. will serve as the closing luncheon speaker, offering his personal struggle to overcome life challenges.

David Kittle, who will speak during the first general session on day 2, began his mortgage banking career in 1978 with American Fletcher Mortgage Company. As a top producing loan officer, he moved to the management side in 1986. He opened his own company, Associates Mortgage Group, in 1994 and sold it in 2006. Kittle was also an owner of Calvary Title Company and an agent of Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company.

Kittle currently is the senior director of industry relations for IMARC, a fraud investigation company located in Santa Ana, Calif.

Kittle is past chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association and testified 14 times before Congress and led the industry during its most tumultuous period.

Following Kittle will be Ken Harney, writer of the award-winning real estate column, "The Nation's Housing." Harney’s columns focus on real issues faced by today's homeowners -- complicated tax problems, the settlement fee thicket, credit scores and credit files -- and guides readers to solutions. Millions of readers have saved – and will save – money because of Harney's undeviating attention to the American housing consumer's best interests. Sometimes the savings for individual readers are huge. For example, Harney was contacted by a reader in Los Angeles who was confused about certain charges on her home sale settlement sheet. Harney examined her loan documents and unearthed a scandal of nationwide proportions: A large lender was preying on unsuspecting borrowers by including “equity-sharing" provisions tied to home value appreciation as part of their mortgage interest charges.

After two columns, plus additional publicity stimulated by Harney's work, the lender sent a refund check to the Los Angeles reader for more than $63,000. Even better, the country's largest mortgage investor in this form of home mortgage withdrew from the field – a policy shift that one mortgage expert estimated saved homeowners tens of millions of dollars in overblown interest charges.

Another example of Harney's pursuit of hard news that directly helps consumers: He documented the secret decision by the country's largest student lender to withhold on-time loan payment information to the national credit bureaus. The net effect for many of the lender's 7 million-plus customers was to lower their credit scores. Young, first-time home buyers were especially harmed, and were charged needlessly high mortgage interest rates.

Harney's columns on the subject prompted corrective legislation in the U.S. Senate mandating full credit reporting. The lender, Sallie Mae, reversed its harmful policy one day before action on the bill.

Over the years, Harney's columns have contributed to several key pieces of housing reform on Capitol Hill, including cancellation of private mortgage insurance premiums, better disclosures on refinancings and prohibitions against loan transfer abuses and predatory mortgage servicing practices.

"The Nation's Housing" has won numerous professional awards, including Best Column-All Media, most recently in 2010, from the National Association of Real Estate Editors. For three years, he served as a member of the Federal Reserve Board's Consumer Advisory Council, a statutory body that reviews all Fed actions on home mortgages, consumer credit and banking industry regulation. He was also a member of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Working Group on Computerized Loan Origination.

A cum laude graduate of Princeton University, the syndicated columnist has also printed several articles about the title insurance industry. Not all of his articles have carried positive headlines as he’s written about alleged kickbacks and “unnecessary” closing costs.

Harney is expected to share with attendees the media perspective of the real estate and title insurance industries.

Jenkins will conclude the conference with his luncheon presentation on persevering during adversity. Jenkins believes life is much like baseball. Either you win, or you lose. How people get through difficult times depends on the strength of their faith, Jenkins believes. This will be an inspirational presentation as Jenkins offers his thoughts on life’s lessons and how to learn from adversity.

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