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Jewish World Review
April 13, 2012/ 21 Nissan, 5772
Lenders tiptoe back into world of credit risks
So, the country and its lending industry learned a lesson about bad credit from those grim recessions years of 2008 to 2010, with the accompanying wave of foreclosures, repossessions, defaults and personal bankruptcies. Right?
Major lenders are beginning to ease back into the business of making loans to people with shaky credit. These are not like the go-go years leading up to the crash of 2008, when lenders would loan money to people with bad credit or, in the case of "liar loans," no credit at all. Given all that's happened, one doesn't have to be too paranoid to worry that, once started and given the intense competitiveness of the lending business, this trend will accelerate.
The New York Times surveyed the lending business and found that Capital One and GM Financial are again making loans to those with less-than-flawless credit. HSBC and JP Morgan Chase are venturing back into subprime lending.
Equifax reported that lenders issued 1.1 million new credit cards in December to borrowers with damaged credit, up over 12 percent from the same month a year earlier.
Borrowers with damaged credit accounted for 23 percent of new auto loans in the fourth quarter of 2011, up 17 percent from the same period in 2009.
And, shades of the securitize mortgage debacle, the Times reports that auto loans are being bundled and sold as securities -- $11.7 billion last year, up from $2.17 billion in 2008.
The lenders are seeking out risky borrowers because there are a lot of them; they tend to be both desperate and unsophisticated and, until the music stops, really profitable because they can be socked with really high interest rates and run up a lot of late fees and penalties.
Times reporters found Brooklyn resident Annette Alejandro, who is unemployed, had her car repossessed and is fresh out of bankruptcy and returns to her apartment each night after her fruitless job searches "where in disbelief she sorts through piles of credit cards and loan offers."
"Even I wouldn't make a loan to me at this point," she said.
If there is another credit meltdown, we can't say we weren't warned. Ms. Alejandro just did.
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