Fighting Predatory Lending
Countless articles and reports over the past few years have detailed the predatory lending by some mortgage brokers at the height of the housing boom. One recent case involves "Andrea" and her brother "Raymond." Raymond and Andrea, siblings from El Salvador entered into a $500,000 adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) with balloon payments and high fees they could not afford. A GBLS attorney succeeded in negotiating a significant modification of their loan, with close to a $100,000 reduction in principal and arrears, and a fixed interest rate of 3%, which allowed them to remain in their home.
The vulnerability of individuals such as Raymond and Andrea was highlighted in a September 14 Boston Globe story, “Few Mass. brokers hit for abuses: Mortgage lending regulators lag peers in other N.E. states.” In the article, Nadine Cohen, their GBLS attorney, is quoted explaining how low-income people, especially those who are non-native English speakers, are particularly susceptible to abuse by predatory brokers and lenders. Like Raymond and Andrea, they are often “doomed from the beginning.” Fortunately, their story had a happy ending; however, many do not. GBLS attorneys continue to fight for those they can in housing court each week.