For Those of You Who Aren’t Facing Foreclosure

J Philip Faranda September 24, 2011

Karma CupSomething I read on Facebook earlier made me just a little sad. Chris Somers asked for opinions on the banks’ role in the downturn versus the borrowers, and one of the comments was just callous. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard it. I just wish it were the last. Rather than get into a flame war on Chris’s Facebook, I thought I’d take the classier safer route and preach from my own soap box. 

If you are fortunate enough to not be in financial difficulty, are current on your mortgage, and view the recession from the sidelines, it is incredibly unflattering to say things like “man up and admit you bit off more than you could chew” or “nobody held a gun to your head and made you sign for that mortgage.” I suppose that when the initial sub prime crisis hit in 2007, the majority of borrowers in default may have been irresponsible or naive. The loans were, after all, terrible products. 

But today? People I deal with today literally did nothing wrong except lose their job. They bought within their means, got fully documented legitimate conforming mortgages, and, in short, did everything people in this country have done for generations. 

Except lose their job. That wasn’t in the plans. And they didn’t lose their jobs because they were bad workers, they got downsized because of the recession. Oh, and the banks played more than a passive role in the recession, as we all know. If you’ve ever been called by a banking rep from overseas you’ll understand. 

Almost half of my company’s listings are short sales. Here is a partial list of the reasons for the short sale status:

  • Unemployment. 
  • Cancer and illness. 
  • Sick relative forced relocation when they were  current on their payments but under water. 
  • A few were victims of predatory lending. 
In years past, if you lost your job or faced trouble you could sell and cash out a year’s worth of expenses, saving your credit and sanity. Not anymore. These people didn’t do anything wrong except hit a string of bad luck. None of these people bit off more than they could chew. None of them got a “liar loan” where they stated their income or employment falsely. 
 
So, for those of you who cast judgment on people in distress, you obviously never dealt with the uncaring staff at a lender. And, you are fortunate enough to still have your job. That is the only difference between you and the clients I have, and student of irony that I am, you better pray tonight that you are spared their fate. There is no stress like facing the loss of health or home. Count your blessings. 

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