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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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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