The foreclosure crisis, which has cost millions of people their homes and added to the country's economic hardships, is still largely unresolved, much to lawmakers' frustration. Yesterday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform met to discuss what more the government and banks can do to keep struggling Americans in their homes.
The Treasury Department has been trying to get banks and other lenders to give customers a break by cutting interest rates to as little as 2 percent or by extending loan terms up to 40 years. But banks were not pressed to reduce the size of the borrower's principal loan, as some consumer advocates wanted.
Still, there is some encouraging news: the government is introducing new protections to make sure lenders do not foreclose on borrowers while they are still in the process of being evaluated for help. And, Bank of America recently introduced a program to reduce the size of some borrowers' principal, saying it's in the lender's best interest. The Treasury Department is working on similar efforts with other lenders.
"This is a disgrace. This is just too much to take. The families are being destroyed. Children are have -- being moved from place to place, because of the fact the mortgage is not being paid. And, a lot of them, if they could get modifications, they would be able to work it out, and they just need a little support, need a little help." - Rep. Edolphus Townes (D-N.Y)
"We believe that it is unacceptable that, one year into this program, Treasury has still failed to identify what its goals is for the number of permanent modifications to actually help people stay in their homes." - Neil Barofsky, Troubled Asset Relief Program special inspector general
"If we continue doing what we have been doing that has failed, then only insanity explains why we would continue doing what we know won't work." - Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)
1. What is foreclosure? When does it occur?
2. How does a mortgage work?
3. What is the Treasury Department, and what kinds of things is it responsible for?
4. What is the principal on a loan?
1. Do you think banks and the government have done enough to help people who are facing foreclosure? Why/ why not?
2. How is the foreclosure crisis related to other problems in the U.S. economy?
3. Do you know anyone who is facing home foreclosure? How would you suggest helping them stay in their home?