This summer has been filled with news about the subprime meltdown, the resulting market movements, and the inevitable recession that will result from the disintegration of the housing boom. We're seeing the country's housing stock drop in total value for the first time, well, ever. And as more of these subprime mortgages magically transform into higher monthly payments for the mortgage owners, it's going to get worse. A lot worse. That's not me singing a song of doom, that's just reality.
Well, not to fear. The large mortgage lenders are doing their part to help the average American consumer cope with the changes to their mortgages - the changes they didn't expect when they signed on the dotted line, or at least, changes that their mortgage broker assured them would never come to pass, because they could simply refinance before their monthly payments doubled.
Oh, wait a minute... that's only happening in the fantasy world in my head. In actuality, the mortgage companies are acting like the unprincipled vultures they are. And according to this New York Times article from this past Sunday's Business section, Countrywide is the worst.
In my opinion, people who work in the real estate game are generally greedy, shifty scum suckers. They'll tell you whatever they think will get you to sign on the dotted line so they can get their commission. This includes real estate agents - even those that are supposed to be the "buyer's agent" - and mortgage lenders. Once they've got the commission in their pocket, they're out of the picture, and you're on your own. Sucker! And while it's easy to say it's the buyer's fault for buying a house they can't afford, anyone who's been through the home buying process should recognize how easy it is to get swindled.
Read the New York Times article. Read the handful of stories of regular Americans who are desperately trying to keep their homes, and get angry about how Countrywide, in particular, is treating them. They're not helping, and you'd think they would, since they loose, too, when a foreclosure happens. But they don't loose out like the couple living next to you who looses their house and their financial credibility.
I'll leave you with this quote from the article. There's a lot more like them in the NYT piece. You won't feel good about Countrywide when you're done:
BRUCE MARKS is founder of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, a nonprofit advocacy and mortgage company that helps troubled borrowers get new, low-cost loans. He sees problem mortgages from across the country and works with a variety of lenders. He said that his organization has resolved 3,500 cases for imperiled borrowers this year, and that none have had to leave their homes.
Mr. Marks, too, characterizes Countrywide as the lender most unwilling to help borrowers.
"Homeowners who are desperate to keep their homes are trying to restructure the mortgages to the payment before the rates reset," he said. "Countrywide demands their last dollar and their retirement funds to stop a foreclosure on unaffordable loans."
Whatever you may think of the people who may have bought houses they can't afford, and are now facing losing them, we'll all feel the economic ripples that result from so many Americans around the country losing their homes. And Countrywide will be the corporate face of that disaster.