I have been saying for months that all of the foreclosures are not due to the mortgage meltdown. There are far more homeowners who have had their homes for nearly fifteen years who have fallen victim to the economy.
Companies are downsizing if not going out of business and that has a direct impact on one's ability to meet financial obligations. The New York Times article Spending Stalls and Businesses Slash U.S. Jobs provides a perfect illustration of what is happening. Over the last two weeks Merck, Yahoo, General Electric, Xerox, Pratt & Whitney, Goldman Sachs, Whirlpool, Bank of America, Alcoa, Coca-Cola, the Detroit automakers and nearly all the airlines have announced plans to layoff employees. The financial industry is reported to have been cutting jobs since last summer, with another 300,000 to be potentially lost.
Many of these people have played by the rules and in some cases their may be a severance package and unemployment. The problem is that the unemployment benefits are limted and don't cover much of what it costs to live day to day and severance packages will run out, before many of these people are gainfully employed.
This is a national catastrophe and the cry for attention has gone unheard, until now. There may be an opportunity for homeowners facing foreclosure to realize a chance to save their home. Sheila Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, confirmed that the F.D.I.C. is working with the Treasury to streamline the reworking of troubled mortgages, as reported in The New York Times article Help for Homeowners, at Last?
The aim is to make the loans affordable over the long term so that borrowers can avoid foreclosure and keep their homes.
Though details of the plan are not yet worked out, the outline calls for creating standardized criteria that would be used by mortgage servicers, the firms that handle collection and foreclosure proceedings for lenders and mortgage investors. Loans modified under the criteria would be eligible for a federal guarantee that would protect lenders and investors against default.
Ms. Bair comes with the experience of streamlining 60,000 IndyMac loans last summer. One can only hope and implore our representatives on capitol hill to provide a more comprehensive program to include those beyond the confines of sub-prime loans. For the sub-prime loans have given way to major layoffs nation wide throughout all industries, thereby jeopardizing many American's ability to pay their mortgage. Perhap Ms. Bair has a clue about what is needed.