ON-Air: Holding on to your home: a letter from Cornwall

A month or so ago I was reading a newspaper which had two articles that caught my eye. One highlighted how the English county of Cornwall was being particularly badly affected by repossessions.

The other detailed the severe problems with foreclosures in Ohio. I approached BBC Radio Cornwall and long-time WHYS supporter WCPN in Cleveland about connecting their audiences, and on Thursday we’ll do that from the home of Peter, Sarah and Emily in St. Austell and the studios of WCPN.

This is a post that Sarah has written for you, and if you’ve experiences of the economic downturn and its effect on your home, you’re welcome to post. This is from Sarah…
‘Hi World Have Your Say

My husband and I live in Cornwall with our 11 year old daughter, Emily and in many respects are no different to any other family.

We are currently unable to meet our mortgage payments and other debts and have lived an ‘existence’ since January 2008.

Our story is probably not typical of other families in the current economic climate but just the hand that life can deal to an ordinary family.

My husband and I met some 20 years ago, purchasing our first property in 1994 and I gave birth to our daughter in 1997.

In November last year Peter felt seriously ill very suddenly.

We didn’t see this coming as Peter had always been so fit and healthy to the point that he rarely had time off work. He was in and out of hospital for three months and underwent many investigations at which point MS was mentioned but couldn’t be confirmed.

In January, whilst Peter was unfit for work, he was made redundant from his job as a printer and at this point I contact our local Citizens Advice Bureau. We followed their advice but it was apparent very early on that unless Peter’s health drastically improved our situation was bleak.

When we had purchased our property in Cornwall we had taken out a self certified mortgage and therefore this came with restrictions one of which made selling the house neigh on impossible before February 2009 as we would be liable for an early redemption fee.

Moreover, the mortgage lender refused to allow a payment holiday or reduced payments. Our situation spiralled as it became evident that Peter was not well enough to persue employment and in June we were given a formal diagnosis of MS.

By this time our family was suffering emotionally and financially as we struggled to make ends meet. I increased my hours at work and we made as many adjustments to daily living as we could. We are now facing repossession within the next four months and still we receive calls and threats of ballifs and court orders from other debtors.

We resigned ourselves to the fact that we would lose our house months ago and feel frustrated that we are unable to improve our situation.

Since July Peter has been injecting every other day with disease modifying drugs but side effects have been slow to subside and he has yet to fully recover.

However, he is hopeful that in the new year he maybe able to consider returning to work in some capacity but we do not evisage this to be full time.

We are currently registered with the local social housing department and are currently seeking alternative housing but until the chance arises we feel trapped in a home we cannot afford or enjoy.
Our life, it feels, is on hold until we find alternative accommodation and remains uncertain.

Our daughter has undoubtedly had to deal with the realities of life far earlier than we would have hoped and we, as parents, feel helpless that we cannot offer her the security she deserves.’

70 Responses to “ON-Air: Holding on to your home: a letter from Cornwall”

  1. 1 DENNIS
    December 4, 2008 at 06:17

    I hope that the family, will get thru this crisis….But, I have this feeling that
    they will be ending up on the street homeless…Since the “sheriff” will make a visit with the eviction notice….

    My thoughts and prayers are with this dear family [and also, with the others that are going thru this type of crisis…]

  2. 2 DENNIS
    December 4, 2008 at 06:17

    What can, the audience do to help out this family?

  3. 3 bluecranemedia
    December 4, 2008 at 13:43

    for Dale read Sale!

  4. 4 bluecranemedia
    December 4, 2008 at 13:51

    DENNIS December 4, 2008 at 6:17 am

    What can, the audience do to help out this family?

    We could all give $10 and claim it back on our tax returns.

    I’m in…


  5. 5 bluecranemedia
    December 4, 2008 at 14:15

    Look, WHYS is in a situation to help out here.
    I have in the interim been talking with a lawyer who told me that if there was an alt-gov charity in place, one could indeed claim back all contributions against your tax return.

    Yes folks, you could be filing a zero tax return.
    Now this would drop the shiny suits right in it.

    Ross, how long would it take you set up a Transparent holding fun, with charitable (pending) status, and put the money where the heart is?

    24 hours in my estimation.

    Take 72.

    I have always been an exponent of the power of this medium.


  6. 6 Roberto
    December 4, 2008 at 14:22

    RE “” This is a post that Sarah has written for you “”

    ——— Sarah, the global shake up is leaving huge populations in similar straits or worse.

    Small consolation, but we the little folk are all pulling for things to turn around for your family and others. No shame in enduring the slings and arrows of life, so keep your chin up, and don’t worry when you despair. We are human after all and it will pass.

    Plenty of joy of life still and your daughter will be your light. Hold your faith close to your heart and ride out the storm the best you can.

    Wish I could offer more wisdom, but, alas, my pen is made of common clay, so I proffer this whacky day to day nugget. Scour the flea market for a decent stationary exercise bike. Make time for daily sessions, especially your husband. You can combine with watching the TV, listening to music, or meditate or pray in some dedicated private time. Being fit reduces medical problems and makes everyone stronger for life’s challenges.

  7. 7 Brett
    December 4, 2008 at 14:38


    I feel deeply for you and hope you pull through this and your husband has a speedy recovery.

    Is declaring bankruptcy, giving up the home ownership idea, and renting entirely out of the question?

  8. December 4, 2008 at 15:32

    I do feel bad for Sarah. Things like this happen everywhere, but more often than not if happens to the elderly people who refinanced during the boom. My father and mother bought their first home about 8 years ago now. They refi’d in the boom, then my mother died suddenly. My father still struggles with trying to pay his bills, and usually leans on my brother and me to help him. We are happy to help, but what of those who have no one?

    If you remain positive, hopefully things will improve.

  9. 9 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    December 4, 2008 at 15:35

    My heart goes out to Sarah and her family. She should count her blessings in the face of disaster, because it could be worse.

    My husband psychologically and physically abused me. I commented on this on last week’s programme about violence towards women. My schizophrenic 19 year-old son left a note saying he was afraid he would lose control of himself and hurt someone; he then took his own life. I left my home and husband. He is trying to deny that I have any interest in the nearly-paid-for family home.

    This is contrary to Swiss law and I hope I will eventually get what I am entitled to. I have lost my son, lost my husband, and am fighting to retain the right to all that I put into my home and marriage over 25 years. In the meantime, I am living in a tiny rented apartment, am exhausting what small financial reserves I have, pinching every penny twice, and giving thanks at the end of each day for having made it through that day, and praying every morning that I am able do it again.

    The one bright point is my daughter, who has made it through the traumas with grace and dignity, is continuing her studies brilliantly, and who gives me hope for the future in the face of multiple challenges.

    Sarah still has her daughter, still has the love of her husband, and appears to have the courage and steadfastness needed to meet her own challenges. Americans love to say “Been there, done that.” Sarah, I am there, I am doing that. You CAN make it through this. One day at a time, one step at a time. You are not alone.

    All the best,

    Donnamarie in Switzerland

  10. 10 John in Salem
    December 4, 2008 at 16:20

    Small consolation, I know, but you’re not alone. My wife and I are going to see a bankruptcy attorney this afternoon, the end result of a string of equal bad luck and a classic bait-and-switch loan scam by Wells Fargo Bank. Most galling is that we are losing our home to a company that was just given $25 billion no-strings-attached in hopes that they would “do the right thing” with it, and that we will be working and paying taxes through our retirement years to cover that gift to those who are pushing us off the deck without a second thought.
    We’re not in your position, thankfully – we still have our health, and you have our best wishes for you and your husband. But we understand the feeling – it isn’t simply the loss of the dream, it’s the sense of betrayal…

  11. 11 vijay
    December 4, 2008 at 17:55

    Sarah talk to the CAB and Sign up for a council house(project housing).

    With all these houses coming on to market may be local people can afford to stay in Cornwall.

  12. 12 nora in Santa Cruz, CA
    December 4, 2008 at 18:02

    I like the idea that a community of common interest could help Sarah. Not just with cash but with knowledge and moral support to change the predatory insurance and lending system we have. There is comfort in protecting others from bad things that befall us.


    Law allows the catastrophic event to throw people into the street when they most need stability to recover. We need a layer of COMMONSENSE COMPASSION. While adults sort the crisis, children find solace in neighbors or a favorite tree,

    Without the global financial crisis this would have happened to Sarah. Now she has more company. So many of our ancestors got ground up fighting the Nazis and Hitlerian attitudes towards the sick. Now some of these notions exist in roundabout law. Since a corporation has been ruled to have person status by the supreme court in the US, the health of the corporation is weighed against the health of the individual.

    Perhaps out of this crisis we can make some sense in law and practice.

    Cheers to Sarah for taking the time to start this discussion off.

  13. 13 roebert
    December 4, 2008 at 18:26

    Roberto; truer words are seldom seen on WHYS.

    Losing one’s home is a very intimate trauma. Studies have shown that the trauma associated with having to find new accommodation is of the same level as that suffered in a bad divorce scenario. We went through it way back in 1989, and nothing anyone said to us could comfort or reassure my wife and myself. We felt that no one understood what we were going through, and their advice seemed glib and empty.

    What I have learnt since that time is that life itself is made up of ongoing changes, some for the better and some for the worse. Accepting that principle, that there will always be the unexpected change, including loss, and holding it as part of life itself, has equipped me to weather many storms.

    As for the current state of affairs with regard to the housing of people; it’s a scandal. People have a basic right to good, comfortable housing, but two things have gone wrong here. In the first place, people have seen fit to use their homes as collateral or as an investment unit for financial speculation, and the result is that our houses, which should be our homes, have become just another commodity. Naturally, then, the banks have jumped in to make their immoral profit, and the whole affair has become a vicious circle.

    Society and governments need to act to radically alter the way housing is treated in the socio-economic sphere. Houses should be subject to a ‘just price’, and no sort of profit-taking should be allowed. Buying and selling of houses should be subject to strict conditions of sale, and homes should not ever be considered as collateral.

    Housing, like the right to food and water, should become human rights issue, and houses should be taken out of the hands of the banks and put into the care of special trusts which will ensure that profit-making through home sales is a thing of the past.

  14. 14 Roy, Washington DC
    December 4, 2008 at 18:38

    @ John

    Isn’t it ironic that the bank gets a do-over, but you don’t?

  15. 15 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    December 4, 2008 at 18:45

    Hi Sarah,
    Sorry about this situation. My friend (lets call her Jen) had the same thing happen to her. Her husband became very ill with cancer and could not work. They had to file for bankruptcy a few months back. You are not alone. Even with that they are still behind because the business they have a very slow. Because of the job market here in Indianapolis job are lower paying then before if you can find one. There are a lot more people just one pay check away from the street these days. It is a sad state.

    best regards,

  16. 16 J in Portland
    December 4, 2008 at 18:55

    I feel for Sarah and her family, I hope that they can find something that will help them get through.

    A big part of the financial disaster everyone is feeling is due to predatory practices of certain business realms in our societies.

    These predatory industries deserve criminal prosecution. Unfortunately we have leaders who gave them free reign and protection from prosecution.

    The industries I am referring to include insurance companies, mortgage companies, lending institutions and credit card companies. They are all run as schemes to make more money at what appears to be the direct destruction of their clients best interests.

    When you are in the position to influence someone’s decisions on these critical things, you should be held to a level of integrity that provides protection to the consumer. Our laws need to change.

    We end up with organizations that take and take and take from the people who can least afford it. When there is no more to take from the person….they bail out and leave the consumer holding the bag, which is empty. Thereby destroying lives.

    Call your congressmen and parliamentarians.

  17. 17 Monica in DC
    December 4, 2008 at 19:02

    @ John in Salem
    that is just sickening and I am so sorry. I just found out that my bank is being purchased by one of the biggies who got part of the bailout. As soon as that is finalized, I’ll be moving all my money to USAA. These banks are horrible.

  18. 18 Ogola Benard
    December 4, 2008 at 19:07

    So touched to read this! ways about life is really hard to tell but i pray you go through these difficulties as soon as possible!!!

  19. 19 David in Florida
    December 4, 2008 at 19:10

    Rather than cutting the pre payment penalty and have owners sell an occupied, secured and maintained home. The lender would rather take the property back and try to sell it into a declining market all the time having to maintain it and fix any vandalism is something I will never understand.

  20. 20 Marilynne
    December 4, 2008 at 19:20

    I lived in Shaker Heights Ohio. I raised my son and cared for my ailing mother from that home. Due to the costs of caring for my family, and the compensation (commissions only) I was not able to keep my home. The home was foreclosed. My son is a college student, my mother is now deceased. This was horrible time to live through. I attemtpted to work with my lender, but they were not open to assisting.

  21. 21 Michael
    December 4, 2008 at 19:26

    I am a Clevelander and unfortunately, Clevelanders and Americans alike continue to live well above there means. Americans need to inform themselves regarding there loan rules (E.I. ARM Loan changes, etc.) and become well prepared for it. With that also the government also needs to help out the individual.


    Michael Lutjen

  22. 22 Steve
    December 4, 2008 at 19:27

    You’re supposed to read the contracts you sign. They spell everything out.

  23. December 4, 2008 at 19:27

    Hi WHYSer!

    @ Ros,

    Perhaps is very silly of me, but I was so touched by Sarah’s comments about her fears of loosing her home, I offered up small prayer for her and all the others, including those in Cleavland. Thanks, for this wonderful broadcast Ros! Thanks also to Jeanell, for clearing up any misconceptions about how these people came to be in the situations they are in, now. Thanks, WHYS!

  24. 24 Peter liu
    December 4, 2008 at 19:31

    After what is happening , I think we will all be better in Cuba.

  25. 25 Peter liu
    December 4, 2008 at 19:32

    After what is happening , I think we will all be better off in Cuba.

  26. 26 julius
    December 4, 2008 at 19:32

    well, people trying to get into something more than what they can afford has caused lots of problems to loosing homes. government lending policies also led to the problem because credit was not at a strict level were by banks were linient on customers. in the end, lots of foreclosures and people loosing thier homes.

  27. December 4, 2008 at 19:32

    I just wanted to also commend the panelists for their bravery in speaking out about their situations. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Hopefully, much more will/ can be done to get people to stay in their homes. Not being a home owner, myself, I made a conscious decisions a few years ago that I could not afford to own property, now, because housing prices in Jamaica have skyrocketed. Hopefully, in all the efforts to address the mortgage crisis will have some trickle down effects for people like me in ‘middle-income’ countries like Jamaica.

  28. 28 Martin in Graz, Austria
    December 4, 2008 at 19:32

    As to your question: I do see the people taking part in your program as victims of the current crisis, because despite the best planning, anyone can be hit by illness, setbacks or joblessness. I think bailouts of banks etc. should be conditioned on the restructuring of debt payments so that homeowners do not lose their property. How can banks and other financial institutions expect to be rescued with our (=the taxpayer’s) money and at the same time destroy the existence of hundreds of thousands of people? If they do that, let them go bankrupt, too!

  29. 29 Mike in Portland
    December 4, 2008 at 19:33

    John said something that sparked a question begging to be asked: Does society have an obligation to keep its citizenry in their homes?

  30. 30 Donald- Oregon, USA
    December 4, 2008 at 19:33

    I’m only 24 year old and I have owned my home for 4 years now. I knew what I was getting when I bought my home and plan on keeping it. I didn’t buy it for a short term investment but instead for a place to live. I have a 30 year mortgage at a fixed 7.25% I did this on my own and now my wife, new son, and I will have a stable place to live for the long term. My home lost over $100,000 when the housing market crashed but I didn’t purchase beyond my means. I live in a modest house and I do not plan on walking away or defaulting on my loan. Some in my neighborhood are defaulting on their loan simply to renegotiate their loans and get better interest rates or the principal balance reduced. I think people trying to make a quick buck and giving up when things don’t go their way is a main part of this problem

  31. 31 Steve
    December 4, 2008 at 19:36

    What? Houses should be at a “fair prince” and there should be no “profit” taking from them? That’ll go down well, given that 99.9% of homebuyers view buying a home as an investmen, and couldn’t contemplate that prices could actually go down when credit dries up. People bought these houses out of greed. They wanted to buy something they assumed would increase in value. And the tax laws encourage people to do this. If it’s your primary residence for 2 years or more, any gain is not recognized as taxable income. Also the tax laws encourage people to buy homes because the interest you pay is tax deductible. So our tax laws are also to blame given they encourage people to buy homes, and then people went out and bought too much homes?

  32. 32 Matthew Kucmanic
    December 4, 2008 at 19:39

    I am a college student at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa, and I currently live with my family of 7 in an upper-middle class suburb of Cleveland, Oh . Both my grandparents immigrated to this country from Croatia, with little amounts of money, yet through their frugality have been able to thrive in America. Yet due to the economic situation, my sisters medical bills, and my brother and I being in college, our family is pressured by the costs of living.

  33. 33 Peter in Northern Ohio
    December 4, 2008 at 19:40

    Welcome back to cleveland. If you get a chance, try a chinese restraunt call Li Wah. it’s down the street from WCPN. If you’re into grill cheese sandwiches, there is MELT in Lakewood Ohio, about 10-15min drive from WCPN.

    The “common person” should understand what they are signing, yes.

    However, the “common person” should not be held to the same standards as Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Police, and LOAN OFFICERS.

    Realtors, liecensed by the State of Ohio, are held to a high standard. Why shouldn’t people who originate loans? Realtors are punished if they are caught in a lie. Financial planners are liecensed and regulated.

    The first people that should be punished should be the people making these loans to people who are underqualified.

    My life experience, I used to work in sales. I understand that the ‘common person’ knows little or nothing about anything technical such as technology products or real estate. It was my duty to help people understand what they are buying.

    Burn those criminals like they did to heritics!

  34. 34 Corina
    December 4, 2008 at 19:42

    I feel for all of you, but it some of these foreclosures might be avoided if people didn’t live so close to the edge. The savings rate in the U.S. is horrible. Before buying a home, you should have a substantial cushion in case of job loss. None of our jobs are stable anymore. Illness is another story. That’s a catastrophe.

  35. 35 Kelly in Portland, OR.
    December 4, 2008 at 19:42

    I am so over the victim attitude so many people have. “Predatory lending practices”? People dont know that they cant afford a motgage? People dont know that they dont have a job when they apply for the loan? No one forces people to sign paperwork. I have no sympathy for people who borrow beyond their means and I really dont like my tax dollars going toward helping people like that out.

    One of your guests mentioned taking responsibility right after she took accountablity from the borrower and put it on the lender. Get over the blame game!

    There are people, who you are having on the show, who genuinely get blindsided by life and find themselves floundering to hold on to their home. THESE are the people I want my money going to. I have no problem helping someone who loses their ability to earn a living or whose spouse abandons the family. Personally, I find it insulting to people who work hard and still find themselves in this situation when people who borrow from behind a veil of denial about their situation act like victims when reality catches up to them.

  36. 36 Mary in Cleveland
    December 4, 2008 at 19:43

    I sympathize with your guests, and I agree that predatory lenders should be brought to justice, but I think some of the fault of today’s foreclosure crisis lies with people not saving enough. A person shouldn’t be buying a house unless they have several months of living expenses in savings. My husband has been “downsized” 3 times. You can’t count on your job anymore. People live too close to the edge these days. When there’s a crisis of some kind, they’re in trouble. We live in a much smaller house than we are told we can afford (we have 3 bdrms, 1 bath) but we’d rather have the peace of mind of having more money in savings than a bigger house.

  37. 37 Kenny In Florida
    December 4, 2008 at 19:43

    Do people join the military without the understanding that they might face death? I sure hope not. Do people sign mortgages not understanding that the financial situation might change? Obviously. It is one’s own responsibility to fully understand any situation they put themselves into. The “banker” or “broker” might tell you one thing, but if you have not fully read up and researched the terms and conditions then you have no one to blame when rates go up but yourself. If you had properly educated yourself on the legal contract you were signing you might not have ever signed it, it’s a matter of taking responsibility for your own actions.

  38. 38 Leslie from Hillsboro, Oregon
    December 4, 2008 at 19:43

    I have been out of work for one month having worked for an employer for over 14 years. I have been denied Unemployment Benefits from the State of Oregon. I have paid all my taxes while in America and now I have no income or medical coverage. I am divorced and must pay child support and help maintain my childrens home I have to live in an appartment all with no income or help from the State right now not even for my children it seems.

    There is no safety net in the USA if you lose your job or your health.
    You have each other though.

  39. 39 Mike in Portland
    December 4, 2008 at 19:45

    What about “Let the buyer beware.”? What’s the difference between a shady transaction in buying a house and a car? Should we be expecting our governments to protect us from all shady deals? And the cases of illness causing foreclosure, isn’t that what mortgage insurance is for? It isn’t that expensive.

  40. 40 Darragh
    December 4, 2008 at 19:45

    I’m a British recording artist and have been listening to the show, I feel it’s appalling that there is not more support for people who are in danger of losing their homes. The banks should be told to stop repossession until families can get back on their feet.

    I am going to be doing some live shows in the new year and will donating money from that and CDs sales to families in The UK who are struggling, we need to do more benefit gigs. And the BBC should do a Families In Need charity night.

  41. 41 Kira Hanson
    December 4, 2008 at 19:45

    I am listening to your radio show in Cornwall, you have you said that Cornwall is in the South West of England, this is not the case.

    Cornwall is a county within a Duchy, Cornwall has never been officially incorporated into England, its a nation in its own right!

  42. 42 Deborah in Portland, Oregon
    December 4, 2008 at 19:46

    The lady with the 14 and 16 year old children who don’t yet know of their difficult situation made me think about the way people got through the great depression here in the 1930’s. Families pitched together to help get through. Families would empty a room or two in the house by doubling up, take in ‘lodgers’, offer meals into the bargain to make more money (cooking for the family anyway), and older children would get part time work for a few hours a week. Older children and even younger ones are able to help, and should be part of family efforts like this. They need to be needed and be part of your struggle.

  43. 43 Kirsti
    December 4, 2008 at 19:47

    I feel for them.

    I’m in Cape Town, and I’m in a similar position. I am a single mum with depression. I bought the house shortly before my daughter was born when her father and I where still together, 3 years ago. Since then due to rising interest rates, my mortgage payments have almost doubled, but my income has halved.

    Because of the loss etc that she’s already had (my daughter is 4 in Jan) I have really wanted to hold onto the house to give her some security etc.

    I’ve now just found out that the company I work for wont be paying me leave pay for the Christmas break due to a cynical implementain of labour law, and I literally dont know where our food is coming from this Christmas, much less how to pay the mortgage.

    I read of possible govt intervention in Europe to help people hold onto their homes, and here the banks and govt are just acting as though nothing is happening.

    I totally identify with Sarah talking about lack of respect. I feel I should have respect due to the hard road I am hauling, but even my family treat me with less and less respect.

    I am terrified, and ashamed, and desperate, and there is nowhere to turn too.

  44. 44 Steve
    December 4, 2008 at 19:51

    How is it fraud if it is spelled out clearly in the contract that the borrower didn’t bother to read?

  45. 45 J in Portland
    December 4, 2008 at 19:52

    @ Kelly

    As a matter of fact that is exactly what the problems is. People don’t know that they can’t afford it. They go in – ask the people who are supposed to know (i.e. the lenders) and they are told they CAN afford it……..and are conned into a loan a contract etc.

    Just take a look at the credit card offers everyone gets……the people lending are conning people into believing they can afford something they can’t.

    That is why it is called PREDATORY! They prey on the individual who does not have the knowledge to understand that they are being hoodwinked.

  46. 46 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    December 4, 2008 at 19:52

    Hi again,
    There were a lot of predatory actions in the USA when purchasing a home. I have a town home. When I went to purchase it the creditor and the sales person wanted me to purchase the bigger unit. The pressure was intense. I stood my ground. I am happy I did because I did not lose my home after 911 ( I lost a job in the airline industry). But with other cost going up I have a roommate to keep my home.

  47. 47 Chuck
    December 4, 2008 at 19:52

    I find it amazing that banks are charging such high interest rates LEGALLY. The rate at which banks are borrowing money from Centralized Banks is currently 1%. They are turning around and loaning this money out at 15-19%. This is something traditionally done by the mob not legal banking institutions. Why are governments permitting these high interest rates?

    Also, don’t forget, the New Testament of the Bible absolutely forbids and calls it a sin for Christians to LOAN money of ANY KIND with an attached interest requirement.

    Portland, Oregon USA

  48. 48 John in Salem
    December 4, 2008 at 19:54

    “Irony” isn’t the first expression that comes to mind…

    Thanks for the concern, and I agree – it will be a cold day in hell before I ever knowingly do anything that might make another dime for any of these bailed-out companies.
    And I know a few million other people who feel the same way.

  49. 49 J in Portland
    December 4, 2008 at 19:55

    @ Chuck……

    I agree whole-heartedly. I think RICO laws should apply.

  50. 50 David in Florida
    December 4, 2008 at 19:56

    If bankruptcy judges are allowed to rewrite loans banks will never lend.

  51. 51 Orlando in Cleveland, Ohio
    December 4, 2008 at 19:57

    In the U.S., a company that declares bankruptcy, administration in the U.K., can have the benefit of a bankruptcy judge reorganize its debts by either giving its secured creditors, e.g., mortgagees, either their collateral or something of equivalent value.
    Equivalent value is often, but not always, determined by the collaterals market value. But when an ordinary homeowners seeks the protection of Chapter 13, current law arguably forbids the bankruptcy judge from giving the mortgagee a new note and mortgage that reflects the current market value of the home and current rates of interest, even though it is a venerable holding of the U.S. Supreme Court that it is constitutional to give the mortgagee a new note that reflects the current market value of the home on conventional terms at current rates of interest.

    Why does U.S. bankruptcy law treat ordinary human homeowners far worst than its treats companies? My opinion is that it reflects a bias in favor of money and power. Be that as it many, we should afford human beings the same protections and relief that we give to companies.

  52. 52 cbamber85
    December 4, 2008 at 19:57

    For those who are fighting to keep their homes – don’t. It’s crippled your finances for long enough, remember no one can afford to buy homes at the minute, so simply allow the bank to repossess your home and then squat in it! Nothing has changed, except you aren’t paying your mortgage anymore.

    Mass civil disobedience should remind the banks where all there money comes from in the first place. No one can push you around, besides, there many more of us than them.

  53. 53 Innocent in Mombasa, Kenya
    December 4, 2008 at 19:58

    This situation calls for global mind shift one way thinking is over both developed and the refrenced 3rd world.

  54. 54 Anne in Lakewood OH
    December 4, 2008 at 19:59

    I just wanted to pass along this story; in 1997 my husband and purchased our home here in Lakewood, OH an inner-ring suburb of Cleveland. We were pre approved for what we felt was a ridiculous amount of money—sure there was the temptation to shop around for an expensive house that we were approved for—but we did not give into this temptation an instead found a house which we could afford. I also vividly remember our mortgage banker telling us about all of the ‘new fangled loan products’ that were out there, and that he would NOT recommend any of them. I’m so glad we dealt with an honest banker, who had our best interests at heart, not not just his commission.

  55. 55 Marti
    December 4, 2008 at 20:00

    I work in the Mortgage Industry for over 10 years. I watch loans go from having people decide if you could have a loan to a computer making the decision. I watch so many people be deceived into believing they could afford to purchase homes, that they could not afford. I have seen documents that were so confusing that unless you knew what you were looking for you would not have realized that you were getting into a loan with a payment increasing in 6 months or 3 years.

    People need help to stay in homes all over the world. People were preyed upon by loan officers out to make a quick buck.

  56. 56 Jarrod in California
    December 4, 2008 at 20:00

    I’d like to hear a bit more from the lawyer in Cleveland. I understand Ros needs to keep the conversation moving along, but I get the sense that the lawyer has some important points that he isn’t able to make.

  57. 57 Jacqueline
    December 4, 2008 at 20:02

    I work in the banking and lending industry, but it was not only the brokers and lenders who were “selling” products to people that should not have been sold. Many people DID NOT CARE what they needed to do to get their house/cash! We can only give people so much explanation. There has, of course, been fraud, but I know that it is not nearly as many as people like to make it seem. This is what the closing is for! This is where people are supposed to review everything they are signing their name to! On top of that, on most refinances, there is an explicit 3 day recission period. People need to wake up and become aware of the loan products they’ve tried to get. Again, this does not mean that fraud has not occured, or that people have not been through tough times (losing a job, etc … ) but I’m telling you, many, many people only saw an opportunity to use their homes like ATM machines and didnt’ care that they needed to sign to get it.

  58. 58 emma kelly
    December 4, 2008 at 20:02

    Sorry i will provide a link if you can remove the tel no i left, not thinking straight!

  59. 59 Al in Portland
    December 4, 2008 at 20:02

    I’m so annoyed with this situation bacause there seem to be no consequences for the brokers who have taken advantage of the home owners AND the bankers. Those guys just escaped scot-free!

  60. 60 Sean in Texarkana, TX, USA
    December 4, 2008 at 20:03

    When I was in High School I had a difficult time with my senior year algebra class. To help me get my last math credit, they put me in a class called ” math of money”. IT WAS AWESOME! While other students learned high math theory, we learned checking, savings, Credit Cards, loans, mortgages and intrest rates, etc. It helped me greatly and is sorely lacking in education. It’s great to learn triganometry, but if you can’t tell the diff between a fixed and and adjustable rate mortgage, what good has all that higher math done you?

  61. 61 Tom D Ford
    December 4, 2008 at 20:04

    Sorry, I just get so damned angry about De-Regulated lenders and other financial scams that I thought it best to refrain from posting.

    There ought to be a limit to how far people can be driven down into poverty and Capitalism ought to be Re-Regulated.

  62. 62 Peter in Northern Ohio
    December 4, 2008 at 20:05

    One idea to lessen the devaluation of home value:

    The US government could give give a 30,000 voucher to home owners. The voucher is not good for cash. It’s only good to ‘buy down’ their mortgage.

    Banks and mortgage holders can accept the voucher and redeem it for 30,000 AND CREDIT 60,000 towards the home owner.

    1, 700billion dollar is a lot of money, it’s going to institution to directly benifiet them, and indirectly benifiet the people.

    2, “we’re in the same boat” theory. The mortgage holder//lenders are -in the same boat- as the home buyer. Each should take an equal hit. a, “equal hit” = House get devalued, the county revalue the home DOWN WARD. b, Mortgage holders are forced to accept a devalued home because they recieved a 30,000 voucher AND accept a 30,000 hit themself!

    EVERYONE takes a hit! Government gives out 30,000 to “buy” down the home value.. Home owner accepts a devalue worth upto 60,000. The mortgage holders accpts 30,000 from the goverment voucher and credit another 30,000 for a total of 60,000 against the value of the mortgage note.

    This is ONLY good on the primary resident or ONE home…we dont’ need underhanded plots of “wife owning a home, husband owning a home” and get two $60,000 buy down.

    If someone bought a home worth upto 300,000, they get a big help from a $60,000 buy down of their note. If people bought homes more than a million dollars, they will feel less of an effect from a 60,000 buy down of their value.

    If someone is qualified to buy homes worth more than 5million dollars, then they dont’ need my help…they will get the 30,000 voucher but it will be meaningless to them. Besides, if they are smart enough to earn the money to qualify for a 5million dollar home, they should be smart enough to think their way out of their own problem.

    If I was smart enough to earn millions of dollars a year, I wont’ ask for government help. I’ll be like Warren Buffit: won’t ask for government help, won’t turn it down.

  63. December 4, 2008 at 20:22

    Back in the nineties I created a business that began as a one man operation and rapidly grew to a business with more than three hundred full time employees. To grow that fast, it was necessary to sell off much off the company to investors. When we sold the business in 1998, for about ten million, I walked away with with perhaps half a million dollars. It sounds like a lot of money, but it was obviously not enough for me, a guy in his fifties at the time, to retire and and not worry about making more money. For the next ten ten years I tried to start other businesses, develop other ideas, and make investments that seemed sensible at the time. I did manage to make a total of a quarter million dollars from the purchase and sale of two houses, even as business ideas failed to come to fruition and investments tanked.

    Because I was always close to making something work, I persisted down the path of being an entrepreneur. That was partly because it turns out there were no jobs for guys like me – big corporations don’t want entrepreneurs who never fit into the corporate structure; and partly because I failed to realize how difficult it is for a person who created and sold one business to do it again. It’s like hitting a hole in one – a hard trick to duplicate.

    I had a perfect payment record, so banks kep offering me credit. In 2004, I sold a large house near the ocean and bought a small one for $260,000, with a 20% downpayment. Over the next three years, Bank of America reappraised my house and offered me equity line increases. Eventually, they appraised my home at $510K, almost double what I paid three years earlier. I never borrowed more than 80% of the banks appraised value. When the market tanked, I found that I couldn’t sell my house for $250K. After a year of trying, I gave up.

    For awhile I got by using credit to pay for credit, until every credit line was maxed out, and I knew that bankruptcy was my only option. Looking back, I can see that I never felt like I was borrowing money when I drew funds against my equity line. I saw my house as an investment that had paid off, and I felt as though I was merely taking my profits. I had excellent interest rates, and it all made sense, until the housing market crashed.

    I don’t see myself as a victim. I took some risks and made some choices that didn’t work out in the end. I don’t feel bad about the bankruptcy, because the bank took even greater risks than I did for the sake of short term profits. The bankers who made decisions that destroyed their institutions walked away with a lot of money. I am walking away from several hundred thousand in debt. I will remain in my home at no cost for at least a year before the bank gets around to foreclosing, and before that happens, they might agree to rewrite the mortgage on a property that is worth less than half of what I owe.

    For all my glibness, I also realize that if my wife lost her job, which pays about $54,000 a year, we would be destitute, even as we enter our sixties. Obviously, we have no savings. On one hand, I treat the financial meltdown all as a cosmic joke. On the other hand, I think about how bad things might get, and it terrifies me.

  64. 64 Venessa
    December 4, 2008 at 21:00

    Peter in Northern Ohio ~

    I like your idea. What bothers me most is that the lenders are getting help but do they not realize if they don’t in turn help the people that pay them for these mortgages they are still in trouble.

    I would not mind my tax dollars helping people like Sarah and the other guests we heard from today that are in tough situations but have been responsible. What I don’t like is that my dollars are bailing out crappy lending institutions that deserve to go out of business and penalizing those of us who have been conscientious as well as others that have had a downturn of luck.

    Kelly in Portland, OR. ~

    Bravo! The responsibility is on both sides. People often forget when purchasing a home that they are dealing with people running a businesses to make money.

  65. December 4, 2008 at 21:13

    Here is my story, i hope there will be a little something in here for you too. As a typical family of four we have found ourselves faced with rising prices and poor wages, life was a struggle. We were finding it hard to make ends meet. I took on a part time job with a large American company to bring some extra cash to the table, luckily as my husband lost his job! People think they are secure being employed, but as we are all finding to our cost that companies will hire and fire at will. The company i work with is cash rich and debt free, bullet proof. I am looking to recruit people now, i am really excited to show poeple a posible future, which has become the light at the end of the tunnel for me, i can keep my home, work with flexibility around my family and take control of my own life.
    If you wish to make contact : rodykelly@aol.com

  66. 66 David in Florida
    December 5, 2008 at 00:52

    Here is a something I saw in the paper Tuesday.
    Seem to go along with the subject of housing and what is happening.

  67. 67 DENNIS
    December 5, 2008 at 02:10

    Thanks for the Brilliant idea….

  68. 68 lolita
    December 5, 2008 at 03:56

    Dennis I`m in as well. I will give a dollar . if 100,00 people gave one dollar that would be enough. I have often wondered why people were not willing to give. if you can go to the store and buy a candy bar for $1 then surely you could spend that dollar on helping someone. One dollar is nothing he

  69. 69 CN
    December 5, 2008 at 09:54

    The Duchy Of Cornwall being the fourth COUNTRY of mainland Britain and NEXT to England,like Wales and Scotland, has experienced huge increases in house prices as a result of affluent non-residents,mainly English, coming over the border from England and buying up residential houses for occasional leisure mis-use without fiscal constraint by the UK government. This has resulted, due to extreme economic differentials, in the people of Cornwall being denied access to their residential housing heritage and being forced to acquire mortgages at levels beyond their means to put a basic roof over their heads.

    It is high time the UK government put the PRIMARY housing needs of the majority before the scandalous ANTI-SOCIAL multiple house acquisition greed and indulgence of the affluent minority.



    Cornish Discussions:


  70. December 5, 2008 at 15:16

    Sometimes life happens and there isn’t much that can be done to avoid it. But I’m hearing a lot of “woe-is-me” when the blame falls squarely on the homeowner. The gentleman from Cleveland who said that he got an 11.85% mortgage because he “wanted the property that bad.” Well, guess what, when you have to pay an outrageous interest rate in order to get a property, it means your credit is poor. If your credit is poor and the only way to get the property is to pay double the going interest rate, you should be smart and NOT buy the property. You can’t buy the property, fail to pay, and then blame unscrupulous mortgage brokers.

    Lastly, I know people like to own homes. It feels good to say that you own your own home. But there is no shame in renting. If you can’t afford your home, you NEED to sell it and seek a lower payment by renting.

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