Like many other fans and participants here at insideARM, I was taken aback when the new site was launched.  Even for a professed “change agent,” I wasn’t all that sure that I liked the new format.  But, I acknowledged this to be part of my (and everyone else’s) it-was-so-much-better-back-when mindset.  Happily, I now seem to be getting along with the new site.

What I am not happy with, however, is a decision on the part of the editorial staff  to eliminate comments and posts by people who chose to not identify themselves other than by initials or their “handle.”  On the face of it, it seems to be the right thing for insideARM to do – why allow people busy unloading their buckshot to hide behind the duck blind?  Get ‘em out where we can see them.

In retrospect, not a great idea.

As can be learned by watching the WikiLeaks spectacle, society is not all that welcoming to those who tattle, complain, or provide refuge for those who do.  And yet, without that opportunity to safely speak one’s mind, this would be a sorry, regimented world indeed.

Feedback, whether it is true, fair, totally off-base or even inflammatory is necessary and vital to an atmosphere of free speech.  Free…as in unfettered.

With this in mind, I revisited several of my original posts on here which generated “anonymous” responses.  I confess that those behind the duckblinds were more likely to take uncomplimentary potshots at me than those who identified themselves, but I absolutely appreciated their contribution.

As example, consider my blog about a fellow soldier in our industry (Linda Almonte – JPMorgan Chase whistleblower) who had been unfairly – if not illegally – dismissed from employment because she would not sign off on a bad debt portfolio.

Ms. Almonte didn’t just attract my attention.  The New York Times wrote an extensive article taking the debt selling and purchasing industry to task for robo-signing affidavits as part of a lawsuit-mill to get debtors into court.

The article referenced Ms. Almonte in her role as a team leader over advisers, analysts and managers at JPMorgan Chase in which she was responsible for preparing a debt portfolio for sale. Some 23,000 delinquent accounts with a face value of $200 million, were to be sold off at roughly 13 cents on the dollar, which would realize a net of $26 million for the bank. But, as Almonte discovered and reported to her superiors, “We found that with about 5,000 accounts there were incorrect balances, incorrect addresses…even cases where a consumer had won a judgment against Chase, but it was still part of the package being sold,” she told The Times.

So, how did my blog go over here at insideARM?  And, what role did anonymity play?

Within the spectrum of responses was one gem, from “Manager, Credit & Collections.”

“Linda’s responsibility was to the bank…(she) should have quite and kept her mouth shut.  She is just fueling the fire against the ARM/DEBT buying industry.”  He went on… “…I have little or no respect for the whistleblower mentality.  If you advise your superior of your concerns and they are ignored you have two choices, shut your mouth or find another job.  Simple.”  – JS

Sounds almost like, “America – love it or leave it,” no?

But, let’s take a look at the shots taken.  Ms. Almonte’s was targeted for harming the ARM industry, being a whistleblower, and not being a team player (as evidenced by not having a closed mouth).

We all needed to hear this way of thinking, both those who believe in that path as well as those who find this attitude repugnant.  We need to hear this because we need to know where people stand.

We need to know where people are coming from in this industry.  It is at a crossroads, in which “business as usual” will be defended and its critics derided.  Whoever we have as a ‘silent majority’ in our midst need to speak out.  They (you) either need to stop being silent, or admit that they (you) are not in the majority.

Oh yes, and one other critical (and anonymous) person disputed my article and remarked:  “How do you know what happened at Chase?  Those who can – do.  Those who can’t – criticize.  Get a job!”

I guess I needed to hear that, and I really appreciate that this person went out of their way to correct me in my misperceptions.  But, what it really did for me was to confirm – after some soul-searching – my intentions to make a positive change in this industry.

No, Mr/Ms. Anonymous, I don’t know for a certainty what happened at Chase to cause them to fire a Six-Sigma blackbelt who was doing her job of protecting her company by following its own internal rules.  What I do know is that no one can dispute her “can do” credentials.  Nor is it correct to describe her attempts to get upper management to listen as mere “criticism.”

So, even though I don’t want to bite the hands that allow me to post a guest blog here on insideARM, I am making this declaration.

When it comes to responding to my writings, post any anything positive or negative that you readers want, and under any pseudonym you readers desire.  And, I formally request insideARM to make this possible.

After all, it’s not your name we need to know – it’s your thoughts.

Thank you for sharing.

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