Lessons unlearned

January 13, 2009

Jumbo lending: lessons unlearned:

Thanks to Sen. Christopher Dodd, Rep. Barney Frank and others, the lending industry spent years issuing mortgages to millions of Americans who had no hope of repaying. Sen. Dodd and Rep. Frank believe homeownership is a right unfettered by income or credit history, and over time, they were instrumental in forcing the industry to lend to some of the least creditworthy Americans.

As everyone knows, the results were disastrous….

Lesson learned? Don’t be silly. In December, GMAC got $5 billion from the government’s $17.9 billion bailout of the domestic auto industry, which Sen. Dodd supported, and immediately lowered its lending standards. No longer would buyers need a credit rating of 700 or higher. Now, people qualify with scores as low as 621, which is 2 points above “poor” and 102 points below America’s median. As columnist George Will put it, GMAC is using taxpayers’ dollars (more accurately, money borrowed against tax receipts far into the future) to issue subprime loans.