Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Yet more reading -- is this beginning to feel like homework yet?

When I did my Sunday reading post (below), I hadn't yet read the NYT article "Given a Shovel, Americans Dig Themselves Deeper in Debt." It's really interesting reading. If you can get a copy of the paper, there's a fascinating full-page graphic showing the difference in consumer borrowing and debt through the last nine decades. Factoid from the graphic: As recently as the 1970's, only 6% of American households had credit card debt!

And today's LAT front page headline article by Peter Hong is about foreclosures. Peter interviewed me on Monday for this, but I guess I didn't make the edit. Anyway, here's an interesting item:
The latest figures contained one surprise: defaults -- the first step toward foreclosure -- rose by just 6.6% in the second quarter, down from a 39%. DataQuick President John Walsh said the reason was not immediately clear. Foreclosures may be "nearing a plateau," he said, but it could also mean that lenders are "swamped and can't handle processing any paperwork." [emphasis mine].
That's what I'm seeing, too. Lenders just don't have the staff to handle work-outs, short sales, foreclosures...

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