Mortgage 101 – what happens when you don’t undertand math

Part of the reason for singing the mortgage blues today is our track record of the years 2000 through 2006. As consumers refinanced mortgage coompanies started searching for those who would refinance again and again. Non-bank financial institutions and shady lenders looked for new customers, and subprime liar loans were born.

In 2006 consumers took out $318.3 billion in equity from their homes, a more-than 10-fold increase from $26.2 billion in 2000, according to Freddie Mac. “Americans went on a spending spree,” Rutgers University economist Joseph J. Seneca said. “It used to be that 62 percent of the (U.S. economy) was consumer spending. That soared to 70 percent during the decade. We were spending all of our income and borrowing against our homes. The size of that binge was stunning.”

As regulators slept lenders turned to a new group of risky loans given to a new group of borrowers with certain “issues”, shall we say. The issues ranged from spotty credit to total stupidity relative to understanding how finance works.