According to mortgage fraud research, older people, single women and minorities top the hit parade as targets of mortgage fraud. Who woulda thunk it?
Take the most financially vulnerable, put them in a cage with a bunch of sharks masquerading as mortgage loan officers and what do you have? The curret mortgage bloodbath.
I’ve seen women who are so desperate to get out of dangerous apartments, that they put themselves in debt with risky loans, only to throw up their hands a few years later because their dream home was now in the middle of Crackhead Alley. I’ve seen others get tired of fighting city governments over decaying neighborhood sewer systems, and walk away from homes, ruining their credit, because they tired of replacing appliances and furnaces on a yearly bases.
There are thousands of desperate single mothers out there, desperate to create a better life for themselves and their families, desperate to stop enriching greedy landlords, desperate to hold a piece of the American Dream for their own. And, in their desperation, they have become lunch meat for the predatory loan industry, even if they have “good credit.”
Years ago, I worked with a woman who was then in her mid seventies. She was one of the first women to own a home in her small southern Indiana community, and that was only after she dug her heels in and went head to head with the financial establishment who said giving her a home loan would take funds away from “a man who had to support his family.”
What did they think she was, chopped liver? Apparently so. At the time, single women were considered credit risks—no man with a good job to pay the bills. Didn’t matter if she was making more than most of the men in town at the time, it was the principle of the thing, you see.
Unfortunately for the wanna be back alley deal makers, my friend has a backbone of steel and a will to match. She bought her home. Raised her children and left her house only when her health failed and she moved into an assisted living facility forty years later.
She was college educated and had moved from the northwest coast to Indiana way back in the early sixties, when her then-husband obtained a job with a local plastics facility. When the marriage went south, she decided to stay in the Midwest and permanently settle in a small town, which then and now, was the center of the plastics industry in southern Indiana.
For her, settling down meant purchasing a home, building equity in real estate, and solidifying her financial status with an investment in real estate. Unfortunately, for her, the boys in the bank’s credit band were bound and determined that no single woman was creditworthy enough to purchase a home, and even if she was, giving her a loan would take money “from a man who needed to support his family.”
Unfortunately for them, their target refused to give in to their bigotry and unprofessional attempts to keep her from getting her loan. She triumphed and paved the way for dozens of women in the same situation to leave dead end apartment living and move on up the financial ladder into home ownership.
The drive to improve one’s self and invest in homeownership has lifted tens of thousands of women out of subsided apartments, but the price many of them have paid is steep. With financial illiteracy running rampant across the country, many of these neophyte homeowners have lost tens of thousands of home equity dollars in shady real estate deals, due to cozy relationships between mortgage lenders, title companies and real estate brokers.
According to a real estate report, in 2005 in Los Angeles, single women represented 21% of homeowners, far outpacing single men who then represented 9% of the same market. According to one real estate blog:
Last year, 1.5 million homes were sold to single women in the US. "Nearly twice as many homes as were sold to single men, there's no sign of this trend slowing down, Fannie Mae is estimating by 2010 as many as 31 million single women will be homeowners. That accounts for 28 percent of all U.S. households."
The fraud in the mortgage business is ensnaring single women, but there are also cases where married men have been taken to the cleaners, allegedly by their wives and unscrupulous real estate agents. One such victim asked for help in a mortgage fraud blog.