Whistleblowers and the importance of integrity

by MPA23 May 2016

On the May 22nd episode of my Lykken on Lending podcast, we briefly discussed some of the legal issues that mortgage organizations are dealing with right now. One company is being sued for improperly originating FHA loans, and it was brought under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act by an employee that had previously worked for the company. And that got me thinking about whistleblowers.

Of course, the need for whistleblower provisions is obvious -- we don't want employees to be afraid to raise their voices if they see something unethical going on. But on the other hand, there is always the possibility that the provision will incentivize disgruntled employees to try to "get back at" a company for personal reasons that have nothing to do with ethics. For leaders in the mortgage industry, though, the key question is this: how can you be sure that you won't fall victim to the false allegations of a disgruntled whistleblower?

The most important thing you can do, I would suggest, is make sure the allegations are false! If you want to represent yourself, your team, and the industry well, you will be a person of the highest integrity possible. If you have the kind of character you should have as a leader, allegations against you will be suspect to begin with. When you have a track record of ethical behavior, false claims against you just won't hold up. Always ask yourself this: when an accusation of unethical conduct is leveled against you, who are people going to believe -- them or you?

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