Bad Paper

Bad Paper

Chasing Debt From Wall Street to the Underworld

Book - 2014
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"A trip to the underworld of debt collection, where bankers team up with ex-burglars and few rules apply Bad Paper is a riveting expose;, a moving story of an unlikely friendship, and a gritty narrative of how scrappy entrepreneurs profit from our debts. Jake Halpern introduces us to a former banking executive and a former armed robber who become partners and go in quest of "paper"--the uncollected debts that are sold off by banks for pennies on the dollar. As Halpern shows, the world of consumer debt collection is a wild and unregulated shadowland, where operators may misrepresent a debtor's situation, make illegal threats, and even lay claim to debts that are not theirs to collect in the first place. It is a realm of indelible individuals who possess a swagger and vocabulary that even David Mamet could not invent. Halpern follows his collectors as they intimidate competitors with weapons, manage high-pressure call centers, and scheme new ways to benefit from American's debt-industrial complex. He alsoexplores the history of collection agencies and reveals the human cost of a system that leaves hardworking Americans with little opportunity to retire their debts in a reasonable way. The result is a bravura work of storytelling that is also an important consciousness-raiser"--
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.
ISBN: 9780374108236
Characteristics: 240 pages ;,22 cm.


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May 17, 2015

Halpern opens the reader's eyes to the shady business of credit card (and other) debt and how the biggest banks in the country sell uncollected accounts in bulk to, basically, ex-cons and desperate fraudsters. The practice s something that companies like Chase, BofA and Washington Mutual give up on but the sharks don't. It's their bread and butter.
Elizabeth Warren's CFPB has done a lot to crack down on the way poor desperate down-on-their-luck Americans are taken advantage of but, of course, the big boys will do what they have to to roll the program back. The capital of debt collection may have been Buffalo in the past but it will just move to where the hustings are easier - places like Georgia.
A very informative read.

Jan 21, 2015

This is a great book. One important point which needs repeating: it is amazing, on closer scrutiny, just how much debt is really financial fraud, and not really debt at all - - simply another form of bankster thievery. In North America today, virtually any lowlife can claim a citizen owes them money and it financially always seems to fall on the innocent party when it comes to righting the situation. Note how in 01/14, Attorney General of the USA, Eric Holder, is FINALLY addressing the rampant armed robbery by crooked cops around the country illegally under the asset forfeiture laws!

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