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Consumer Group Uses Atlanta Distressed Properties in Drive

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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
Consumer advocates have been using the state of Atlanta distressed properties to push their campaign of getting the Consumers Financial Protection Bureau proposal passed by national legislators.

Legislative debates on the financial reform legislation have moved forward, but opponents of the proposal are still working feverishly to block major components of the proposal, particularly the proposed creation of an independent financial agency that would watch out for the welfare of consumers.

In a recent Washington, D.C. news conference, Jim Guest, president of Consumers Union, spoke about the benefits of financial reform to American consumers. In the same event, Gloria McAlpin, a resident of Georgia also spoke. She related how she and her husband, a physically handicapped police officer, nearly lost their house to foreclosure after their monthly loan payments ballooned to about 88 percent of their monthly earnings.

Luckier than many other homeowners, the couple was able to get help from the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, which worked out a payment agreement from the lender. The society has been providing legal assistance to the poor in Atlanta since 1924, and started working to cut down Atlanta distressed properties when the housing crisis clobbered city homeowners.

For years, community advocates were warning banks and regulators about their practices of looking only after their profits and not the consequences of providing subprime and optional adjustable rate loans easily even to people who obviously could not afford monthly payments in the long term.

Many banks, however, ignored the warnings because they have discovered plenty of Wall Street investors willing to take on their risks. They bundled these home loans into securities and sold them off to investors always hungry for ways to increase their net worth.

Now that the dreams of huge returns from mortgage-backed securities have vanished, banks and investors are fiercely protecting whatever is left from their investments, complying only perfunctorily with federal loan modification programs designed to help homeowners save their homes.

A number of these investors could have even returned to the real estate market, investing in the foreclosures which they partly caused. Many investors now, however, insist they are helping clean the market of fixer upper houses for sale and federal national mortgage association foreclosures and facilitating market recovery.

Responsible investors can help contain Atlanta distressed properties. In the first quarter of this year, the total number of distressed properties in Georgia reached nearly 40,000 units, with 13,607 units already repossessed by lenders.
John Cutts has been educated in the finer points of the foreclosure market over 5 years.

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