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Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Borrowers and Lenders Both at Fault For Bad Loans

It's easy to blame borrowers for causing the subprime mortgage crisis and shake our fists at the buyers who bit off more than they could chew. But the lenders who issued these loans are just as much at fault for approving loans they knew weren't appropriate for their customers. If borrowers lied about their income for one reason or another it's really no excuse — all the lenders had to do to verify the incomes in question was contact the I.R.S. Because many lenders had their blinders on and were just focused on closing deals, borrowers were approved for loans they couldn't afford and now the Senate is trying to come up with a plan to help people whose homes have been foreclosed.

A report on mortgage fraud released last week by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network showed that 43 percent of the cases sampled involved misrepresentation of income, and in 64 percent of these cases mortgage brokers initiated the loans. That doesn't mean the borrowers who were enabled by some lousy lenders aren't accountable for signing the dotted line, it just means that the blame game is one big circle and everyone in it is in trouble.


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