Bruce Marks, Chief Executive Officer of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America
As a union activist for the Hotel Workers Union in Boston, Bruce Marks worked with the President of the Hotel Workers union, Domenic Bozzotto, to negotiate the first ever housing trust fund. This resulted in the first amendment to the Taft-Hartley Act in over twenty-five years and the first time a local union changed America's major labor law.
Marks moved from union activist to Executive Director of the Union Neighborhood Assistance Corporation (UNAC), where he used his finance and organizing experience to be the first to expose predatory lending and its devastating impact. Marks led the fight against the predatory lending practices of major New England banks. For two and a half years Marks and UNAC researched their predatory lending practices before releasing the research, which focused on Fleet Bank, to the public. The extensive research in Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan and other states documented Fleet's predatory lending practices in which they targeted home owners who were property rich but cash poor. As Marks expanded the advocacy and housing services nationally, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) was established.
After a four and a half year war with Fleet, Marks was instrumental in negotiating an unprecedented settlement. Fleet committed to an $8 billion reinvestment program for low and moderate income people, settled lawsuits in Georgia for hundreds of millions of dollars, and provided $140 million in an unprecedented mortgage program to be administered by NACA.
Marks' role as an aggressive crusader for reform of the powerful banking and lending industry has its representatives up in arms. On May 5, 1999 from the Senate floor, Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), head of the Senate Banking Committee, attempted to portray banks as victims of Bruce Marks. Gramm described Marks as, "... someone who graduates from college, goes to graduate school, and goes to work for the Federal Reserve in acquisitions and mergers, quits and goes into business, spends four years harassing banks and bank presidents, and finally the bank (Fleet Bank) caves and gives them $1.4 million, gives them $200,000 to set up their organization; they now have twenty offices, lending $3.5 billion..." Senator Gramm continued, "There is a CRA protester who calls himself an "urban terrorist" who used those charges against a bank, harassed them for four years, went to a speech of the president of the bank (Fleet Bank CEO Terrence Murray) at Harvard University, disrupted the speech, made this man's life miserable for four long years." Bruce Marks wears this personal attack as a badge of honor.
Under Marks' leadership, NACA has garnered commitments of over $6.7 Billion for the best mortgage product in America. NACA now has 31 offices throughout the country and will double in size within the next 12 to 18 months. NACA has become the largest housing services organization in the United States.
Today, Bruce Marks continues to expand NACA's role as lead reformer of the banking and lending industry. This includes enacting local and state legislation and regulations to address sub-prime and predatory lending. He continues to hold lenders and others who exploit working people accountable. And the fight goes on!!!
How is Bruce Marks organization doing today?