Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Selling Mortgages to Anyone

The Wall Street Journal had an article today that basically tracks a day-in-the-life of a top performing mortgage broker, named Ben Ray, in California. In summary, he has been very busy lately and has made a lot of money. Most of the loans that he signs his customers up for are not the traditional 30 year fixed, but are often the more exotic ARMs and interest only loans.

Mortgage brokers like Ben Ray will probably be portrayed as the bad guy when the housing market collapses because of the loans that Mr. Ray qualified people for. However, Mr. Ray makes an important point:

[At Benchmark, Mr. Ray holds back. "I don't take stewardship for people's lives," he says. "I try to be fair, honest and act with integrity. But I'm not a marriage counselor. I'm not a parent. I don't put people's emotional issues in my bag when I walk out of here. The loans don't go home with me."]

The people that are taking on these loans are ultimately responsible for the eventual burden they will carry. I would guess that many people signing up for these loans are incredibly naïve, or stubborn, or greedy and do not ask any questions before signing on the dotted line. Plenty of these people seem to be looking for the proverbial free lunch.


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