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  • Foreword

    By now, most Americans have heard of the “subprime mortgage crisis.” Subprime mortgages – loans to borrowers with less than prime credit – allowed millions of Americans to touch the dream of home ownership, but at terms that too often proved unsustainable. Some of these loans had affordable initial “teaser” interest rates that have since “adjusted” to unaffordable levels. Other borrowers had more exotic loan products such as interest-only loans that offered very low monthly payments, but did not build equity. Still others were victims of unscrupulous mortgage brokers who conspired to inflate home values in order to increase the fees they received from mortgage lenders, which all too often are tied to the size of mortgage loans. And, of course, some borrowers lied about their income and assets in order to obtain loans for which they were not qualified.