I was chatting with a friend yesterday about her upcoming balloon payment on her mortgage. Like many, she owes more than what the house is worth and we talked about options such as contacting the lender to modify the loan, or paying down enough principal over the next few years to get back to an equity position.
She asked why the banks don't want to work with customers to avoid the losses of foreclosure and that is a very good question. In fact, as I chatted with her, I told her that the lenders really could have avoided their own fate in some ways. I think that extending the fixed periods on ARM's would have been a far better solution that taking back homes, then going out of business - but I guess they didn't. Looking even further back, I guess they could have not made so many "dead man" loans (i.e. loans to anyone with a pulse). As with every other debacle of the banking industry, the government is stepping in to try and right their wrongs with the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008.