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Countrywide to Bail Out Overextended Borrowers

This article was written by in Debt Reduction. 14 comments.

Countrywide, the country’s largest mortgage lender, is stepping in to “rework” 82,000 loans totaling about $16 billion. I believe that the lenders and the borrowers are both partly to blame for the mess. Lenders offer risky loans, and customers, happy to hear they can afford more than they anticipated, sign up without realizing they can’t really afford it.

When a company like Countrywide gives into consumer pressure, you can be sure other lenders will follow. While this is good for the economy in the short-term and good for the borrowers overall, it may send a bad message. It perpetuates the idea that there are no real consequences to being in debt. Bailouts extend the ability for people to survive while simply signing their paycheck over to other people and companies like mortgage lenders, electric and cable companies, and credit card issuers.

This is a dangerous thought: As long as you are following the spending trends of millions of other people, you are safe. There will always be changes in regulations or laws to keep the economy somewhat afloat, and if you’re representative of the greater economy, chances are you’ll be kept afloat as well.

While history shows that in general that has been the case it is a highly dangerous way of thinking, because it doesn’t play out that way for everyone, and you have no idea of knowing if it will for you. It’s a much better idea to live below your means and never have to worry.

Published or updated October 25, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Joel

I’m holding judgment until details leak out of how this “rework” happens. Just as lenders got borrowers excited about mortgages they couldn’t afford, they could just as likely be getting troubled borrowers excited about a “rework” that may involve all kinds of penalties and charges that make it a bad deal. We’ll have to see how it shakes out, and what other lenders do.

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avatar Mrs. Micah

I’m glad they’re reworking it because of their end of the responsibility. But we’ll see what happens. I hope the borrowers will be accountable and use this bailout for good.

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avatar Chris

I am on the same page as Joel. They are certainly giving a good PR show with talks of these “bailouts”, and working with their customers, but I think we can all agree that these companies aren’t going to roll over and lose money willingly.

There may be some borrowers that can requalify for better loans. They may offer refinance discounts over their already inflated costs. No real charity there. The rest of them are probably in subprime loans for a good reason – they are a credit risk. CW isn’t going to give them a free right, and I’d be willing to bet many of these resetting ARMs are going to be converted to fixed high rate 50 year loans, to keep the payments low but keep their risk minimal and their interest profit high.

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avatar David Mackey

Very good thoughts on this, not that I don’t want people to be rescued in this instance, but it might not be a bad idea to make it mandatory to also attend a financial training seminar.

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avatar razmaspaz

Well Wall St. Likes it to the tune of 16%. I don’t know how countrywide can’t do this. They can either write off the entire loan (and flood the market with foreclosures) or they can take a little less profit and move on. If CW can return these to manageable payments, and still make a deal their investors like, more power to them.

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avatar Me

We had some extenuating circumstances beyond our control this past year costing us our life savings +. Our business is one in construction that is badly being affected by the economy. Our mortgage is with Countrywide and we are going through this “rework” remortgage. Countrywide is offering very little in the way of making any significant changes for us, and the remortgage involves a “step-rate” interest rate which is completely open-ended. They want us to sign a contract without knowing what our interest rate will be after 2011.

On the other hand, my mother, who owns her house outright, who has very carefully dealt with her finances all her life to keep her safe in her retirement, is being offered over $200,000.00 to remortgage. That’s where the bailout money is going-to people who don’t need it and therefore are sure bets for companies like Countrywide.

What’s happened has happened, we’ll take our lumps and misfortunes and move on with our lives, but it will probably mean giving our house to Countrywide, a company who has no real interest in assisting people in holding onto their homes.

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avatar Me

*My mother is not interested in re-mortgaging. She is just being approached by these banks trying to throw money at her. She declines and shakes her head in disgust.

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