Once upon a time back in 2005, there was an entrepreneur and a research economist.
The entrepreneur said that the mortgage market was screwed up all across the land, because too many people were betting their homes on short-term interest rates remaining low and many did not even fully understand the bet that was made. In a few years, rates would rise, mortgages that adjust with the short-term rates would rise, and many people would be unable to afford their own homes. In other words, the sky would be falling. Any other time you would say 'this sounds crazy, nuts.' Yet, the adjustable loan terms were screwy, like 1% or 3% to start and LIBOR+5% later. And, it was all over the business press. So while the warnings of doom and gloom sounded crazy, they also rang true. The solution, the entrepreneur said, was that homeowners needed a way to buy interest rate protection. "Could you help us with the research for an interest rate protection product?", he asked the economist. The economist agreed. He brought in the research economist, and other people too in time: marketers and lawyers and managers and real estate and finance specialists. He called his startup [ND].
* [ND] = "not disclosed"...
Within a reasonable time, a computer prototype was available. Then another. Then, the lawyers organized the novel parts of the product into patent applications. Other parts of the business had ups and downs, but the startup company was well on its way to making the founders' dreams a reality!
But the product needed a snappy name that could be trademarked. How about [ND]? One person, said. Another suggested . The research economist said how about [ND] or [ND] or maybe ARM DISARM, since the Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) with high reset rates needed to be disarmed before they blew up on the homeowner.
But nobody liked ARMDISARM, so the economist kept it in mind for himself.
And thats how, on September 2, 2007, while the markets were near their peak and there was still happiness across the land, ARMDISARM.COM was born. And there it sat, parked at the internet registrar with no place to go but perhaps good for something someday.
But what about the startup company? Did it succeed and go IPO and help save the world from financial shortsightedness?
Despite the tease, the startup's story is not entirely my story to tell. I'd romanticize fighting the good fight. But the fight may not be over, just different.
No, I mean What Happened to ARMDISARM.COM ?
Oh, that. Instead The Unofficial HAMP Calculator is here, in the hope of giving everyday people a chance to explore, understand, and admire the complexities and consequences of the math and procedures of partially-disclosed government programs carried out in partnership with the private sector. These "wise" and "fair" public/private government procedures enacted by Our Great Leaders Both R and D and carried out in the best call centers our foreign allies can provide will finally decide how much money each borrower should pay per month for their homes, or if they should instead be encouraged to leave the home peacefully or perhaps just wait to be kicked out on the street by the Sheriff's department so the home can be foreclosed upon because the banks and their investors are also hurting and need to recoup the borrowed funds that can only be recovered by foreclosing and then bulldozing the house , or maybe selling it one day, someday, any year now, to new buyers at a local auction.
This is just a story, right?
I suppose, if you want it to be. Why should this be reality?