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Web Letter

As a former appraiser, I can attest to the level of fraud as being between 90 and 100 percent. Brokers and realtors give appraisers one alternative: Give me the value I want and leave out the bad stuff or don't work. I told them time and again I would not commit fraud, so they readily found another appraiser.

There is virtually no enforcement of appraisal rules and regs because state regulatory agencies are conveniently understaffed and only get income from selling licenses.

And how many appraisers are willing to commit fraud? All of them.

Stephen Bishop

San Diego, CA

Sep 16 2007 - 11:39pm

Web Letter

I am a diehard fan of The Nation and consider myself a progressive and an individual who cares about my fellow man and fellow americans. I am, in addition, a manager of a large mortgage company.

I've read a lot of articles lately which have targeted and blamed the mortgage industry as the sole reason for the increasing amount of foreclosures--and Colorado itself is leading the nation in defaults.

While yes, some blame can be placed on unethical mortgage brokers, the industry is not just a bunch of loan sharks. We typically lend at 6 percent to 10 percent interest rates, which are also tax deductible which effectively lowers these rates even further.

The credit card industry lends at 10 percent to 35 percent interest rates, which are not deductible and the credit card companies can simply increase their rates anytime they choose, which is not the case in the mortgage industry. Automotive salesman lend to subprime borrowers at 21 percent interest rates.

Homeowners with subprime loans may have $1,500 or so mortgage payment yet they typically have $600 car payments--while their credit card debt is ever increasing and they are earning less today in wages then they did five years ago. All of this while healthcare costs and gas prices have soared. So it is easy to blame the mortgage industry for the increasing foreclosure trend.

The mortgage industry is not the sole cause of this problem. The same Americans who are losing their homes in this economy would also be unable to make their rent payments if they were renters. I see this as more an effect of economy as a whole--consumer credit card debt and credit card interest rates are increasing along with everyday living costs such as healthcare and energy bills, while average income has decreased.

So to blame the mortgage industry which lends at much lower rates and at least has some regulatory guidelines to follow (unlike the credit card and auto industry) is convenient for many.

Why don't we put some controls on other industries which make it impossible for homeowners to make their payments on their most important asset--their homes?

Christopher Chialtas

Highlands Ranch, CO

Mar 30 2007 - 8:37pm

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