Bruce Marks has spent more than 30 years as an activist and advocate. His objective is simple, but the path has been long and difficult. Making the cornerstone of the American Dream, home ownership, a reality for everyone possible has become a lifetime’s mission for Bruce Marks that has greatly influenced an important chapter in American history.
Starting with the Hotel Workers Union in Boston in 1988, Bruce Marks was responsible for historic changes in the Taft-Hartley Act that helped people live in the same area where they worked.
He took on predatory lenders and won in a classic David vs. Goliath story that repeated itself numerous times, engaging in activism modeled after the Civil Rights movement and earning him the label of “non-violent bank terrorist”. It’s a label he wears proudly.
He predicted and warned Congress in 2000 of the coming mortgage crisis long before anyone else.
He established a revolutionary mortgage program to create affordable, responsible home ownership opportunities for low and moderate income families. In doing so he created a ground breaking web-based paperless mortgage application and processing system.
In 2007 he was named Bostonian of the Year.
After the housing bubble burst he designed and implemented the NACA Home Save Program, giving hundreds of thousands of homeowners across the country the opportunity to prevent foreclosure and restructure their unaffordable mortgages.
He launched the unprecedented Save the Dream Events, which saw tens of thousands of besieged homeowners in attendance seeking help, gaining national attention not just for NACA but to just how vast the mortgage crisis really was. To date, there have been more than 150 events, including the largest foreclosure prevention event in American history.
With the exception of a pledge to non-violence, as an activist Bruce Marks has had few boundaries, whether they be political, geographic or social. He has led protests at major banks and government agencies. He has vigorously condemned politicians on both sides of the aisle. He has dumped furniture on the front lawns of predatory lenders’ CEO’s, and shut down operations at Chase, Countrywide, Fannie Mae and the CFPB to make his point clear.
Moreover, he pursued scam artists operating phony mortgage modification services, stopping foreclosure prevention rip-offs and even recovering victims’ money.
Then, even before the dust had settled on the mortgage crisis, he created a game-changing 15-year Freedom Loan, giving homebuyers an unprecedented opportunity to build personal wealth far more efficiently than with a 30-year mortgage loan, while maintaining affordability for the home buyer.
Additionally, Section 8 recipients now have the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty through another revolutionary program referred to as “HOT-PHA” that moves people from receiving benefits to owning their home free and clear in less than 15 years.
By 2018, demand for the NACA Purchase Program had become so huge that necessity gave birth to another revolutionary mortgage concept, the Achieve the Dream event. Bruce Marks created a series of 30 events over 26 months, using the expertise and methods developed during the Save the Dream tours, to help tens of thousands of homebuyers become qualified to buy a home they could genuinely afford through a one-stop mortgage pre-approval process that could allow thousands to become qualified in a single day.
Then, COVID-19 took hold and shut down the country.
As both a community-based nonprofit and a financial service, NACA’s staff were without a doubt qualified as essential workers. Without missing a beat, counselors continued to work from home, and NACA’s National Counseling Center was already set up in such a was that it already accommodated social distancing.
Using technology Bruce Marks had already put in place, virtual Achieve the Dream events were created with webinars replacing workshops, online document uploads and counseling via videoconference. The result was 2020 becoming the biggest year ever in NACA’s history as a mortgage broker.
With a potential new foreclosure crisis on the horizon and a critical shortage of affordable housing, new issues and new battles are in Bruce Marks’ sights as he continues to advocate, educate and innovate as the most successful housing activist in American history.