Mortgage Shark Attack

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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The economic meltdown has been rife with villains, from corporate execs who turned their TARP payouts into multimillion dollar paydays, to corrupt politicians who favored Corporate America for their own financial gain.

Another group for the scoundrel list? Loan servicers, the mortgage middlemen who literally cheat Americans out of house and home because (you guessed it) it lines their pockets. While fact-checking a story about these sharks, I rifled through a thousand legal complaints against the nation’s ten largest mortgage servicers, and spoke with homeowners who have been cheated out of thousands of dollars—all while fearing they may literally be kicked to the curb.

Last year, as the problem worsened, Obama established the Home Affordable Modification Program to try to get servicers to negotiate with homeowners to keep their homes. But after months, the program has not done nearly enough to prevent predatory servicing or skyrocketing foreclosure rates.

In her testimony (pdf) to Congress last year, attorney and mortgage expert Diane Thompson called the epidemic a “foreclosure tsunami.” And with little to suggest a systemic change, it doesn’t look like it will stop raging anytime soon.

Read the full story here.

See a list of subprime lenders who are reaping the benefits of HAMP here.

And click here for a list of resources to help homeowners deal with mortgage hell.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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