October 7, 2008 at 11:48 pm 5 comments

by Loraine Ritchey

There have been hundreds of thousands of words written about this mess. How it started and where – the writers are all more knowlegeable than myself and I defer to their expertise. However, my mind has wandered back to a beginning .


My husband and I came to Lorain literally because the bus broke down and he found a job whilst waiting for the next bus. We didn’t come because of the school system, the house prices, the lake but because of a job.

The house we chose for our starter home was through the VA- O % down BUT we had to meet a stiff set of standards and so did the house. It was inspected, we couldn’t finance more than a certain percentage over his yearly “base salary”- overtime and or the wife’s wages were not counted. Still even knowing the house was worthy and the price was on par with resale and that the VA felt we could afford the mortgage -the responsibility of home ownership kept us awake for many nights .

The starter home is ending up to be our finishing home. There were times through the decades of our mortgage (Ever notice that mort and morte – the French for death have the same root- might be an omen) that we looked in Amherst and Avon etc. for a larger home as the children grew, but I always felt that I may be getting newer and bigger ( as well as a much larger payment) but to me the way this old house wrapped her protective ivy covered walls around us the other houses just didn’t feel like home. So we stayed, made do and tried to give back to this neighborhood, watched with sadness as many of our neighbors gave up and left for other parts of Lorain and area.

The discovery of my new neighborhood being Lorain’s oldest ( Charleston Village) led to further ties to these old streets and a sense of staying where I was beginning to feel “at home” .

I started to talk about this “village” and was a guest speaker on the historical aspect of Lorain 6 or so years ago at a Board of Realtors seminar. I remember the occasion vividly as the speaker before me went into great detail about the creative financing of putting anyone into a home. Specifically mentioned was Fannie Mae and how she had put people in 100 , 200 to 300 thousand dollar homes for as little as 50 to 150 or 300 a month with no money down.

Now I am not terribly bright financially and I thought I must be mistaken so afterwards I asked some pointed questions ( which did not make me very popular) as to HOW when I had had only a $22,000 dollar mortgage and my payment was $119.00 you could put people with a lower income into these homes at that price.

I was told there were any number of deals available through Countrywide and Fannie Mae and others, interest only etc different ways of calculating the mortgages all a bit beyond me (it just didn’t seem feasible to this non math brain) but I was effectively put down.

I came home rather upset, as I remember, as to “

what were they thinking- if mortgages are being given to people who cannot afford that price of house just to get them in the door- what is going to happen when they have to pay the insurances, the taxes ,the upkeep, the heat and utilities what happens in 5 or 10 years when the principle becomes due?”

but I guess it isn’t my concern -thought I – or my business- it is after all the American Dream.

Countrywide financed the house next door but one to a family who could ill afford it and they borrowed even more to add a sun room and buy a new truck. You guessed it they foreclosed within three years but not before the house was destroyed. It became my concern and NOW thanks “to get them in a house and get your commission” thinking it is the world’s concern……. and it started where?????


Entry filed under: AMNT, Brit take, personal opinion.

Paula’s Perspective- October 6th- Council Credit Crunch- Housing and Development info

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark  |  October 8, 2008 at 2:52 am

    Sorry, tried to embed that, here’s the link:

  • 2. thatwoman  |  October 8, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Thanks Mark – common sense seems to have been lost when it comes to the other cents ….

  • 3. Mark  |  October 9, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    It just gets better:

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  October 10, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    and on Yahoo slide show on who benefited look at my favorite Country wide
    HE COLLECTED 351.7 million!!!!!!!!
    If the home-mortgage mess has a ground zero, it’s Countrywide Financial. Under the leadership of Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide helped fuel the housing bubble by writing thousands of questionable subprime mortgages — the kind used to create the toxic mortgage-backed securities that taxpayers are now being asked to clean up. A spike in bad loans hammered Countrywide in 2007, and in January it agreed to be purchased by Bank of America. Mozilo’s total take-home pay for 2005-07 was $361.7 million, most of it from gains on options, according to Equilar.

  • 5. Loraine Ritchey  |  October 10, 2008 at 1:26 pm


    Fannie Mae fueled the housing bubble by guaranteeing more and more risky loans and purchasing too much subprime debt. Things got so bad that the government stepped in and took control of Fannie in September. Shareholders got wiped out, and CEO Daniel Mudd was denied a golden parachute worth $9.8 million, by one estimate. But he still took home $11.6 million during the boom years of 2005-07, according to Equilar, including $8.3 million in bonus pay. Experts trace the history of many of Fannie’s problems to predecessor Franklin Raines, who left in an accounting scandal and later agreed to pay $24.7 million to settle civil charges. But Mudd was at the wheel when the ship went down.

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October 2008

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