Geithner and homeowners in foreclosure
Since the uproar over improperly prepared foreclosure documents broke last fall, public reaction has been split among those who are sympathetic to the homeowners and those who, in the words of several bank officials I interviewed, think that borrowers in default are "deadbeats."
In an interview with Black Enterprise magazine that came out this week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner comes out more in the first camp. He talks about how some people in foreclosure "were taken advantage of" and others who were "completely innocent victims."
Geithner: ...Until we get the economy to grow more rapidly and until we get the unemployment rate down more definitively, it is going to be hard to get the housing market back on its feet more quickly. The president is doing everything he can to try to do that. Now as we do that, we're trying to make sure we reach as many Americans as we can and give them a chance to save their house. We can't reach everybody.
Black Enterprise: So you're trying to help those who were responsible and found themselves in a tough situation due to no fault of their own.
Geithner: Exactly. Not only that, you had people who were taken advantage of and we need to help them out. You have people who were completely innocent victims, who were responsible in how they borrowed, bought a modest home but who saw all their neighbors lose their homes, saw house prices in their neighborhoods fall very, very sharply. That hurt them a lot, too. That's why it's so important that we do what we can to get the economy growing again, get house prices to start rising again and try to reach people who really deserve to be helped stay in their homes.
Read the full interview here.
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