News Show Puts Human Face to Predatory Mortgage Lending
Perhaps this is Spokesperson Day or something. If the Chamber has found a Granny for arbitration, maybe the Civil Gideon and economic justice folks have a candidate for a poster-Granny, too. Predatory lending has disparately affected the elderly. A news show put a human face to this situation by interviewing Margaret Meyers, an elderly woman facing loss of her home who told reporters, "All I want to do is be able to stay here for the remainder of my lifetime."
From the news show:
Here's a case where a woman's lawyer called KUSI's Michael Turko when her client was too embarrassed to ask for help herself. Turko says it's an ugly case of predatory lending by a mortgage broker, and the victim is about to lose her home. Turko?
Several cases winding their way through the courts on this very issue, whether the mortgage lender is resposnible for the actions of the mortgage broker who may have stepped out of line. Well my investigation shows this woman was taken advantage of by a fast talking mortgage broker who played fast and loose with the facts. In fact, she says some of those facts were simply made up out of whole cloth. Well, now she's trying to get some relief from her lender who accepted the whole deal without question. But they're trying to foreclose, and she says her pleas are falling on deaf ears.
Margaret Meyers has lived in Logan Heights most of her life. She raised 11 kids and 6 grandkids in this modest home. She says she was getting by until she got a telemarketing call from an Orange County mortgage broker.
Margaret Meyers: "He told me that he could refinance my loan, and that he could get me a good rating and he asked me my score for my credit, and I told him it was five-something, that I'm sure it wasn't that great. And he said, 'Well, that's no probelm because after 3 months we can redo your score and get it up.'"
Turko: "Now she hasn't worked for years, but the broker told her 'no problem,' and listed her income as over four grand a month."
MM: "I faxed these people how much I get a month, I'm only on social security and disability--that's all I get."
T: "How much do you get a month?"
MM: "Eighteen a month..."
T: "1800 dollars?"
T: "But this says you make over four thousand bucks a month from a fabric business..."
MM: "I know! But they didn't show me that..."
T: "The home is all she has, but she said she never understood all the paperwork. Now her new payment is $2700 a month...That was two years ago, she says she never heard from the broker again..."
Meyers got a lawyer from the Elder Law Center, but her lawyer told the reporter that the lenders are over-loaded with requests to restructure loans. The lawyer says she's been trying since last August to speak with someone in customer service to help her client restructure.
Who should be responsible for the actions of the-- as the reporter calls it-- "fast talking mortgage broker" that dupes clients into burdensome predatory loans? Should it be the lenders that accept these loan applications without asking any questions and have the most sophisticated understanding of what these loans mean? Or should it be the individual borrower himself/herself? Well, in instances in which the client has been defrauded, someone should certainly bear the cost.