The mortgage crisis has produced more than its fair share of villains, but along the way a few brave people have stood up to the wrongdoing and become heroes to those most affected by Big Bank indiscretions. One of those heroes is Sherry Hunt, an all-American girl who rose up the ladder of the mortgage industry through hard work and dedication. Now, the woman who was brave enough to take on CitiGroup has won a $31 million settlement.
Hunt supervised 65 mortgage underwriters at CitiMortgage Inc.’s sprawling headquarters in O’Fallon, Missouri before being told by bosses in 2006 to limit the number of fraudulent mortgages being reported by CitiGroup or “her ass would be on the line.” Hunt, unwilling to contribute to the national crisis, refused to play along:
“All a dishonest person had to do was change the reports to make things look better than they were,” Hunt says.
She sued CitiGroup in 2011 and the U.S. Justice department joined her suit. Two years after the bank took $45 million in bailout money from the government it decided to provide no defense in the case and instead opted to pay $158.3 million as a settlement.
“This case demonstrates that the notion that the bailed-out banks have somehow found God and have reformed their ways in the aftermath of the financial crisis is pure myth,” [Neil Barofsky, former special inspector general of the Troubled Asset Relief Program] says.
As a reward for blowing the whistle on her employer, Hunt, the country girl turned banker, got $31 million out of the settlement paid by CitiGroup.
Read the entire Business Week piece about Hunt’s victory for conscientiousness HERE.