2001 I was newly divorced, had two kids, was self employed and had maybe $2000 dollars in savings. I had no stocks, 401k plan, equity...nada. My credit score was around 640 due to the fact that I did not have credit cards, no previous mortgages just a car payment and rental history. Self employement has its advantages, but moreover it has financial, credit building disadvantages.
I took advantage of the new opportunity of homeownership that was offered to American's at the time. It was easier than buying a car for God's sake! My home appraised for twice what it sold for two years prior to my purchase. That helped with my down payment, not all of it but some. The credit score was above the requirement for me to qualify for a 30 year conventional loan. I didn't get the 4% interest rate of the time, but settled on 6.5% fixed.
That was 7+ years ago. I have seen my home value double, and have never been late on my mortgage payment. I know that Countrywide took a risk on me, and for that has given me options to better my and my family's life. I also take pride in the fact that someone took a chance on a "risk" and it paid off for everybody. I knew I wasn't a risk, but when the lending standards are so high that you have to have proof that you are a credit card carrying, W-2 filing, on time bill paye, it leaves a lot of people out of the system.
I understand that greed was out there. Scams, predatory lending, etc. But I also know that for all the risky loans that were made, there are millions of American's like me who are grateful that it was ever an option for us.