Saw your comment on that piece Bob. You gave one group a complete pass, that being the home buyers. We have to hold irresponsible buyers accountable too. You cannot tell me that average schlubs bringing in 20k-40k a year can honestly *believe* that they can afford some of the houses that people in that income bracket purchased over the past decade.
I see them every day when I am out, rusted out 10 year old Nissan Sentras in the driveway of a $300k+ home on a golf course? Maybe if it were the "maid's car" I could see it, but 99 times out of 100, those are the owner's cars. Personal greed and financial irresponsibility went a long way in making lenders fake incomes, and push appraisers for values, among other acts required to make the deals work for their under-qualified buyers. Either way, to totally push this off on the purveyors of the "real estate industry" without at least MENTIONING the lack of personal responsibility on the part of the home buyers that are now in trouble, is short sighted at best, and chest-beating elitist at worst. I agree that you have your thumb accurately on several key issues in this "meltdown" but your rants seldom paint the entire picture - don't give the homeowners a pass that KNEW they were buying more house than they could legitimately afford for the ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE MORTGAGE NOTE.
Sure, I will agree that many home buyers bit off more than they could chew.........but none of them took the bite without the help of a lender, real estate agent, appraiser or some other license holder. Licensed professionals have a legal and moral obligation to provide honest, ethical and competent services to the public. That has not been done.
These ignorant home buyers (and refinancers) may have been greedy, stupid, dishonest and ugly............but they could not borrow the money without some licensed folks helping them do so. In many of these mortgage transactions gone bad, the borrower, either paid too much or borrowed too much .....sometimes both. Either way, some professional license holder did not do their job.
I am an appraiser. I am more interested in cleaning up my own house (the appraisal profession) so full attention can be directed toward those who attempt to pressures. If only 10% of the problems in the meltdown are due to appraisal....then I will focus my efforts on that 10%. ( I believe 50+% of all foreclosures have an inflated appraisal in the package.............based on what I have seen and investigated Thur public records)
Appraisers are 100% responsible for each and every inflated appraisal that bears a legitimate signature and has not been altered. There far more inflated appraisals than appraisals that have been altered to increase the value.
Appraisers that allow themselves to be pressured do so by their own consent. The decision to sign dishonest appraisals is theirs and theirs alone. I don't care how much pressure, how often the pressure or the reason for the pressure, appraisers that consent to mortgage conspiracy need to have their license revoked and then be turned over to the court system for criminal prosecution. The same goes for the mortgage broker, buyers, sellers, real estate agents and others that join the conspiracy. Very, very little fraud involves only one bad guy.
As with most criminals, appraisers who falsify and/or inflate an appraisal are dong it on a regular and consistent basis. This is not a one time decision, it a lack of moral and ethical standards that corrupt there daily business. It is not brokers, Realtors or others that have destroyed the appraisal profession, that has been appraisers and appraiser regulators.
There is plenty of blame to go around and I intend to focus on the appraisal side of the mess because that is where I make my living. If I was a mortgage broker I would be ranting about that industry. (At least the NCCOB is doing something to clean up their mess............https://www.nccob.org/Online/NMLS/CommissionOrderListing.aspx)
I have no desire to debate this. Those that want to continue to blame everyone else except the appraiser are welcome to do so. Better yet, call a reporter, email a TV station, contact your legislators....................do something. Get YOUR story out there.
My story is the appraisal side of the mortgage meltdown...because that is the only side I feel qualified to rant about.