Friday, May 1, 2009

Things Are Better - So It's Getting Tougher To Get Help

This is anecdotal evidence, but I have no reason to doubt it as I heard it from two independent sources.

The economy, in the opinion of the banking industry, is starting to improve. And that means the big lenders are resisting cutting any deals in an effort to head off foreclosures.

Here's what I heard:

An attorney who has dealt with several of the large lenders, including the former IndyMac, says he's not taking on any more loan modification or refinancing cases. He has two reasons. First, it was a nightmare. He spent hours on the phone with little result. Second, lenders aren't working with the borrowers anymore.

"They're seeing things improve, and they're not willing to make any deals now. They're not even agreeing to short sales. If a customer manages to sell his house but it's worth less than the mortgage, they're letting the sale go through but demanding the customer make up the difference. Loan modifications? They won't even talk about it.

Wasn't that mandated for banks that took federal bailout money? Aren't the rest of them being strongly encouraged to do it?

Another person I spoke with used to be a mortgage broker. She knows the housing mess first hand - her own house was on the market for more than two years and she nearly filed for bankruptcy. She's finally managed to sell for less than she paid for it. In her opinion, the biggest mistake she made was trying for so long to keep up with her payments. Now that she's at the end of the process, she says she could have saved herself a lot of worry and saved a lot of money if she'd just defaulted. The end result would have been the same. She saved her credit, but she's not sure it was worth it.

So this is how the big banks are going to play it? Cry for help, beg for money, agree to do whatever they can to help their customers, then play hardball the second they see an inkling of an economic upturn?

They should all be shut down. There's no sense of fairness, no acknowledgement that they were stupider on a much larger scale than any of their customers were, and no acceptance of the responsibility they agreed to when they took taxpayer money to stay afloat.

It's time for the peasants to fight back.

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