I came across these really funny commercials by Ameriquest Mortgage Company. They are worth checking out because they’ll give you a laugh.

But the real joke is the tag line: “Don’t judge too quickly. We won’t.”

It turns out their lack of judgment swindled all sorts of people into getting mortgages they couldn’t afford. I dealt with mortgage brokers over the past seven years and they pretty much were all the same, though. They had to be in order to compete.

They would all hold your hand through the process and help fudge the numbers to get the mortgage you wanted. If you asked for it, they made it happen. The only difference was that some lied to the customer about the terms of the mortgage and some didn’t.

But in terms of lying to the bank I think they all did it. But who cared! House prices were going up and up, and the economy was doing fine. Everyone was getting what they wanted.

We were in on it.
The customer lied to the mortgage broker who turned a blind eye.
And the mortgage broker lied to the bank who turned a blind eye.
I think everyone is to blame for the current mess.

BUT, and there is a big BUT, the bank and mortgage broker have a professional responsibility whereas the customer does not. The customer may have no idea what they are doing.

I think in this case ignorance IS an excuse, something the banks and mortgage brokers can not claim to have. It is the responsibility of the professionals to educate and look after the customer, something they did not do.

So even though everyone is to blame I think the banks and mortgage brokers should carry the brunt of the mess, not the customers.

Below is a overview of how the outcome should NOT be. It shows how Roland Arnall, owner of AmeriQuest, is largely unscathed by the mortgage crisis.

To tie this in with ecological building, in my eyes professional ethics are a HUGE part of being green. It is no longer about the buck but a holistic view of the world. Just like green building, ethical business is also healthier for the environment.

If you get a scam of a loan to build a wonderful green house, your life will still be toxic. Green extends to all interactions. Likewise, as a green builder it is my job to look after the welfare of my less knowledgeable customers.

There is a big rush now to build green. Customers may come to me all excited to make their home green. Like in the mortgage frenzy, it could be tempting for me to take advantage of the customer’s enthusiasm and sell them all sorts of wonderful green products.

Is this good for the world? Not if they don’t need the products! Green business needs to be holistic, which means the benefit is for the whole and not just a few parts. Me, the customers, the world, all the elements need to benefit from the transaction. That is green.

Otherwise I may be selling lots of green products but I’m not a green builder.