Over the holiday weekend, The Detroit News published a remarkable analysis of what happened in Detroit's foreclosure meltdown. One block on Greensboro Street saw 33 of 38 homes go into mortgage or tax foreclosure in the last ten years.
The team of journalists who researched and reported the excellent series state that much of the blame goes to predatory subprime lenders:
Subprime lending was rampant in Detroit. Of all city mortgages, 68 percent were subprime in 2005, compared to 27 percent statewide and 24 percent nationwide, according to federal records. [...] Defunct subprime lenders Argent, Ameriquest and New Century Financial Corp. had some of the highest rates of foreclosures that later became problems for the city.
They also note that Detroit, unlike similarly-affected cities, failed to sue the lenders.
• Detroit's foreclosure meltdown (detroitnews.com)
Elena Botella worked at Capital One -- one of the US's leading issuers of subprime credit-cards -- for three years; in a fascinating first-person account, she describes how Capital One's youthful, smart, principled and caring staff created a culture in which the lives they were ruining were replaced by obfuscating jargon and interesting mathematics puzzles.
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