Herb Sandler, one of the most influential left-wing donors in America, whose financial practices helped cause the recession, died at the age of 87.
Time Magazine listed Marion and Herb Sandler as one of the 25 people to blame for the financial crisis. Saturday Night Live depicted the gruesome couple under the tagline, "People who should be shot" in one skit. (The skit was later censored for criticizing the Sandlers and George Soros, and can no longer be legally viewed. A screenshot from it can be seen above depicting the Sandlers as greedy profiteers from the disaster.)
As Time noted, "In the early 1980s, the Sandlers' World Savings Bank became the first to sell a tricky home loan called the option ARM. And they pushed the mortgage, which offered several ways to back-load your loan and thereby reduce your early payments, with increasing zeal and misleading advertisements over the next two decades. The couple pocketed $2.3 billion when they sold their bank to Wachovia in 2006. But losses on World Savings' loan portfolio led to the implosion of Wachovia, which was sold under duress late last year to Wells Fargo."
Another critical description of Herb Sandler by Phil Kerpen noted in more detail the destructive consequences of his financial schemes.
Sandler made his fortune destroying the housing market in the United States and plunging the country into the Great Recession.
He invented a mortgage product called Pick-a-Pay, which allowed lenders to pay less than an interest-only payment each month, increasing their outstanding principal. In 2008 the New York Times reported it was seen by an array of housing analysts and regulators as the Typhoid Mary of the mortgage industry.
The Times quoted California housing lawyer William J. Purdy III: This product is the most destructive financial weapon ever deployed against the American middle class.
Sandler didnt just invent the product. He aggressively and deceptively marketed it. According to Time, Sandler pushed the mortgage, which offered several ways to back-load your loan and thereby reduce your early payments, with increasing zeal and misleading advertisements. He pocketed $2.3 billion in 2006 when he sold his toxic loan portfolio to Wachovia Bank, which caused the bank to implode.
Yet Sandler has the astonishing nerve to use his ill-gotten subprime billions to become a major political player, funding a wide array of liberal organizations that purport to stand up for regular Americans. Sandler is the principal donor of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, the liberal faux journalism outfit ProPublica, and the obscenely misnamed Center for Responsible Lending.
Yet that arouses no concern from the reporters working for Herb Sandler at ProPublica, who are supposedly nonpartisan but spend a lot of time and effort attacking conservative donors and operatives. Newspapers frequently run their stories without any explanation of who ProPublica is or that its founder is a subprime kingpin.
ProPublica responded to Sandler's death by praising him as, "The Man Who Made ProPublica Possible".
That description would be better suited to the millions of Americans whose financial lives were ruined so that Sandler could finance ProPublica.
ProPublica's eulogy claims, "Herb Sandler was especially fond of that phrase “moral force,” and it was his dream that rigorous, sustained journalism could make the world a better place."
This example of ProPublica's sustained journalism fails to mention what Sandler is most famous for. And it isn't funding ProPublica.
That's the sustained journalism that Sandler funded. That's ProPublica.
American Banker more accurately headlines the story, "Golden West co-founder Herb Sandler dies at 87, leaving complicated legacy."
It's a complicated legacy indeed. And the financial and political damage that Sandler wrought continues to echo through our nation.
To quote Shakespeare's famous lines, " The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."
That is tragically true of Herb Sandler.