November 28th, 2008
08:30 AM ET

Just when you thought it was safe, subprime lenders are back...

Chad Terhune and Robert Berner
Business Week

As if they haven't done enough damage. Thousands of subprime mortgage lenders and brokers-many of them the very sorts of firms that helped create the current financial crisis-are going strong. Their new strategy: taking advantage of a long-standing federal program designed to encourage homeownership by insuring mortgages for buyers of modest means.

You read that correctly. Some of the same people who propelled us toward the housing market calamity are now seeking to profit by exploiting billions in federally insured mortgages...

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Finance
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Pink Monkey

    Their are a group of appraisers that have been screaming at all the government agencies, state representatives, and to appraisal organizations help us with the predatory lending. This goes back a year when FHA began their new programs. Nothing has changed.

    We have been warning the weakness of the Lending industry and nothing has changed. There are still rouge loan officers and brokers and their supervisors turn the other way or find a way to give it the view that it is helping the borrower. Many still calling the appraiser for the usual Can-you-hit-the-number call. When the appraiser tries to explain that it is against our ethics and guidelines and in many case the the law, They would just reply, "we do not want to waste our clients money". But they are willing to find the appraiser that will do it, then take them for thousands, when a honest $350 appraisal will tell the truth. If it helps them, then great, if it does not, it is the LO job to help them, but most do not take those steps. They are commission driven.

    But is not only this, but is also now another set of problems coming our way. It is called the BPO "Broker Price Opinion" this is where lenders are depending Realtor Brokers or Their agents for a valuation or appraisal. But that is the problem, these valuations are for listing and selling a house, not lending. But the carrot is on all of this, is that the broker may have the chance to list the house and get a commission, when they never saw of drove by the house. That is when the Realtor would get a High BPO, then get the listing, but only have to set on the market, becuase the BPO was already tainted. Where an appraiser can analyze it with an unbiased view.

    But even the Appraisal Profession has it's problem. During the boom many states flooded the system with appraiser that were just "form fillers" to please the lending industry, in which we are no finding out may have played in pivotal decisions that have effected the Appraisal Profession. These Appraisal insiders have set it up to where they could have an army of appraisers that would do their bidding by being number hitters and many of these shady Mortgage brokers sleeked, and those that were hones were blacklisted. At the Same time Add the AMC's (Appraisal Management Companies) which have also contributed to the Real Estate Bubble. They do not call if you to ask you what you quality is, but How cheap are your fees? and how fast can you get it done? This has created an army of appraisers that find a way to cut corners and they always seem to use the same ones. And again, if they have an assignments right around your corner, they will send a fast and cheap appraisal from 50 Miles away to get it done for $150 bucks.

    Now lets add technology. We are now find out that there are software companies that have participated with lenders and AMC's to be able to open secure PDF files for their review purposes, but at the same time have the ability of changing comments, values, take out pertinent photos, maps, graphs and appraisers names and then submitting those to the secondary market as an original.

    This is a problem and a group of appraisers have been warning of this going back from year 2000 and we are still waring the public. There have been steps to expose this and I am glad this is coming out. But there is more to come. The public should demand more and help those that here to Protect the trust of the American Public. That is one of our first Ethics Rules, and many are doing our best to do that.

    Many of us have connected the dots and have the evidence.

    Thank you, Appraiser.

    November 29, 2008 at 10:31 am |
  2. Michele, PA

    Appraisers have been warning of this financial mess for years – and have largely been ignored. Many of us have attempted to speak to our Congressmen and Senators and have been ignored. We have tried to alert the media, and have been ignored. Since the sub-prime crash, most of us have been saying "FHA – the new sub-prime" – and it is true. When will it stop?

    November 29, 2008 at 12:59 am |
  3. Teresa, Kent, OH

    .... and the hits just keep on coming! GREAT HONEST ARTICLE

    Odd is it not? We decry the predators that got us into this mess, we then bail them out, and now we have found some govt. way to help them do it all again.

    I hope they remember to kiss us all this time.

    November 28, 2008 at 1:58 pm |

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