Some Lenders Cause Financial Peril

Eric Stein, senior vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending, said lenders who made high-interest rate loans to borrowers with weak credit are to blame for pushing homeowners into financial peril.

The Durham, North Carolina-based center projects that 2.2 million families will lose their homes due to a growing crisis in the subprime mortgage market of borrowers with the riskiest credits.

“Bankruptcy is not a great option,” Stein said. “It’s a last option, but it needs to be an option.”

In a survey this month, 80 percent of 640 bankruptcy lawyers in the U.S. said bankruptcy law reforms made in 2005 are also adding to the legal challenges borrowers facing foreclosure face in efforts to keep their homes, the NACBA said.

“As bankruptcy lawyers in the trenches, we are seeing every day the consequences of this crisis and it’s only going to get worse,” said Henry Sommer, a Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyer and president of the NACBA.

“HSBC Finance Corporation’s HFC and Beneficial Finance units often loan money with rates and terms that make repayment almost imposible,” said Household – HSBC Watch, a consumer watchdog organization.