Have you ever had one of those projects that dragged out over months and months? With multiple little fire drills?
And lots of politics?
And many complicated issues?
And highly emotional and passionate voices sharing viewpoints without all the facts? And so many moving pieces you’re not sure if it’s ever going to work?
Remember how you felt when ultimately, it all DID come together?
That’s how I felt on the afternoon of February 9, 2012. As I drove home from Seattle after Attorney General Rob McKenna finished the Seattle announcement of the groundbreaking $25 billion settlement between 49 state Attorneys General, the federal government and the nation’s five largest loan servicers, I wanted to share what we learned with the world!
From October 2010 when Attorney General McKenna joined Attorney General Tom Miller from Iowa and five others in announcing an investigation into questionable loan servicing and foreclosure practices until roughly 11 p.m. on February 8, state attorneys general and others worked to stave off public criticism, shore up internal support and craft a settlement that would provide swift and sure benefits to eligible borrowers as soon as possible while holding banks accountable.
Throughout the process, communicators for Attorneys General across the nation worked to inform borrowers of assistance already available to them while assuring them a better deal was on the horizon. As the states, federal government and the banks grew closer to a settlement, critics started leaking misinformation and a group of core communicators came together to develop a plan to deflect criticism and prepare to announce the largest consumer protection settlement in history.
Next Tuesday from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. at the Public Relations Society of America’s International Conference in San Francisco, I’ll join the settlement’s lead public information officer (PIO), Geoff Greenwood from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, to share how we brought together PIOs representing the state and federal negotiators and leveraged every tool we had to make sure borrowers knew how to take advantage of the relief our leaders fought to provide.