Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Game change

Anything in the news regarding foreclosures, and irresponsible, illegal, loan practices always catches my eye. The news coverage of the proposed settlement with the five big banks has me riveted, as one of those banks is my lender. Being, presently, underwater on my home, and in the middle of a class action suit against my bank, who are trying to foreclose on my home illegally, has been interesting.

 We have had to learn everything we never wanted to know about mortgage companies, and the steps they take, to eventually lead you down a path that will end with your home being taken from you. Some may say that I sound bitter. (Guilty!) And others will say, "If you can't afford it, you shouldn't have it"...really, I'll save you the trouble. I've heard it all.

But here is the thing. This whole mess that our country is in, and the gigantic amount of folks losing their homes, isn't just coincidence. It is a domino effect that has people struggling...even people who don't own homes...because these big banks have done some terribly, irresponsible, greedy things. That's not to say that there haven't been irresponsible borrowers. There certainly has been.

Now, I could go on and on about the ins and outs of it. I could bore you to tears, using words that you never heard. Hell, I have to sit back and scratch my head half the time trying to understand it all. The bottom line is that there are an awful lot of responsible homeowners out there. People who, like my husband and I, borrowed what we could afford. Read every line of our mortgage agreement, until our eyes bled. Played by the lenders rule. Made our payments on time. Listened to them, because we thought, at the end of the day, they had our best interests at heart. (yes...please don't say it...naive...)

And when the awful downturn in our country began to effect Main Street, we listened to our bank when they offered us a life raft. We grabbed it. Through 7 months of unemployment, we still met our mortgage obligations.

Our home you see, could be anywhere. I could live in a motel room. I really could. But when you have small children who need the basic necessities, one being shelter, you have no choice but to fight to save that roof over their heads. I have no emotional attachment to this house. It is simply wood, (ok...T1-11) and nails. But I can't afford to move. I have to preserve my today, because I can't pay for tomorrow right this moment.

And they offered relief. With the stroke of a pen, we believed that we were safe. That the murky current we were swimming in would calm around us soon, and we would stay afloat. And wouldn't you know it, instead of following through with that help, they snatched that life raft out from underneath us, and high tailed it out of there. And they did it because they can. They are bigger than me. They have no face. Just letters. And lawyers. And more power than I could ever fight.

Or do they? Because apparently, these banks have been bullying lots of us. And maybe, just maybe, some of them are finally going to have to follow through with what they promised.  Clearly, they will never have to fully repair the massive extent of the havoc they have wreaked on this country. The fallout is just too great. But maybe the rules might have to apply to them. They may have to follow them.

 Because a lot of us have been.

 I think they should too.

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