Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mortgage crisis overwhelming credit counselors -

Mortgage crisis overwhelming credit counselors - "CINCINNATI, Ohio (Reuters) -- Until last year, financial counselors at the Home Ownership Center of Greater Cincinnati spent most of their time teaching Americans how to buy a first home. Now, they're deluged by broken and bereft homeowners facing foreclosure.

'Oh Lord, there is no way we can keep up with these calls,' said Kaye Britton, a foreclosure counselor at the downtown nonprofit group that promotes home ownership to minority Americans, among others.

Britton has been helping clients reach the American dream of owning a home since 2002. Handmade wall signs urge would-be buyers to 'sweat the small stuff' and note the lender's golden rule: 'They have the gold, they make the rules.'

Foreclosures were formerly rare, caused mostly by the loss of job, divorce or medical bills.

But when rising interest rates began driving up mortgage payments last year, homeowners started to feel the pain. Phones at credit counselors across the country are now ringing off the hook."

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