Friday, December 14, 2007

Freddie Mac: Using online video to fight fraud

Freddie Mac, a government sponsored enterprise that invests in mortgage loans, is using an online video to fight fraud that the company fears may be perpetrated against delinquent homeowners in the wake of rising foreclosure activity. The threat is real, though in today's market it is not as easy for these fraudsters to find other investors to work with. Even so, if Freddie's 2 minute video saves one home it would be worth it.

Here's what I like about this use of New Media:
  • It's very short. Just over 2 minutes long.
  • It's well written, describing the problem and solution in sufficient detail.
  • It's professionally produced, the video looks good and the audio is clear.
  • It's promoted on the company's home page, above the fold.
What could be better:

It's probably just me, but the chalkboard graphics give me the feeling that Freddie thinks I need some schoolin'. I know a lot of people don't know all that much about the mortgage process, but they still don't think they are uneducated. The refi-boom of 2001-2003 taught older homeowners a lot about the business. The younger, Web-savvy first-time borrowers are better able to learn from information around the Web. This means that lenders have to be more careful about talking down to consumers.

Secondly, creating this video in association with someone who is trusted for helping borrowers avoid fraud might have made it more powerful. Sure, Freddie is a well known and trusted brand, but when the headlines report that the company is reporting a $12 billion loss and raising the upfront fees it charges lenders for their business, asking borrowers to "call your lender" instead of trusting a local "hero" starts to sound more desperate than helpful.
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