She’ll end up serving as an example of the broken nature of our financial system (“The poor old lady, forced to shoot herself because of the heartless bank!”), but as I was reading this, I had to shake my head a few times.
This poor old lady took out a 30-year mortgage for $45k…at the age of 86…and Countrywide gave it to her. (Almost like there’s some sort of federally mandated non-discrimination requirement regarding, among other things, age of the applicant.) She also took out an $11k line of personal credit, and then defaulted on both credit lines.
Who bears responsibility? The old lady who took on way more credit than she could realistically afford to pay back? The bank who gave it to her? The mortgage broker who only cared about bagging the origination fee, knowing he’d sell the loan off anyway and make it someone else’s problem? The people who told her that the value of that home would keep going up, and that she’d be able to use the equity as a free ATM? All of the above?
It’s easy to blame the greedy fat cats on Wall Street, or the stupidity of Joe Sixpack, who insisted on buying a McMansion while working a McJob. The truth is that there are no innocents in this debacle, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is trying to sell you something.