I had pretty high standards of myself going in, but when you are around 18 (and have been out of your parents house since around 16) working on straight commission your morals become pretty flexible. Going 1-2 months without a pay check get's you desperate pretty fast.
The only thing I would not outright do is lie about the position I was putting someone in. That said as long as I was technically saving someone money, or they understood the terms I didn't care what I had to do.
There was outright fraud occurring in order to sign loans, as well as selling people into loans at artificially higher rates so you could justify refinancing them again in a year.
Another common thing was that once a bank found out a client wanted to refinance they would call the client to offer to lower their rate without refinancing. To avoid this we would start the process by having the client sign paperwork to let us act on their behalf with their bank and such. After that call we would immediately call their bank and switch their phone and fax to our office so we could intercept those calls.
Another unscrupulous thing we would do is get what are called "Trigger Leads" by paying the credit agencies to provide information on consumers who were multiple months late on their mortgage. Since these were cold calls we had a process worked out:
- switch desk phones and call another persons leads stating you are calling regarding mortgage foreclosure.
- when the person calls back they would get the actual person who the lead was for and you would tell them that they didn't reach any department regarding foreclosures, but that you could look into refinancing options if they needed it.
I think that a tremendous amount of the problems from the sales side are fundamentally how a lot of brokers pay employees. If they adopted commission practices common in the insurance industry (which I've also sold for) I think the industry would be healthier.