Will government bailouts help homeowners?

September 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Mortgage rates are fluctuating daily as financial institutions try to figure out how this bailout is going to play out. Homeowners are also trying to figure out how it will affect them, especially ones facing foreclosure.

"I'm still having a hard time," says Efrain Castro.

Castro is visibly distraught. He's behind on his mortgage because his salary has been cut back. He knows he and his wife Keo are in danger of losing their home on 18th Street in Richmond.

"They just want their money. Basically they say 'where's the money where's the money?' 'I'm trying to get them to help out so we can figure something out so I can stay in my home."

Castro came to Larry Hynson at ACORN housing advocates in Oakland for help. Hynson has files on dozens of people who could be saved with re-financing at a lower interest rate. As he tries to help Castro, he says Washington has to get its priorities straight on whom to rescue.

"Congress has to protect millions of American homeowners who are facing foreclosure before they bail out the shareholders of big banks," says Hynson.

Hynson says the bailout should come with some strings attached -- strings tied to people in need.

"Any financial institution that participates in the federal bailout must provide automatic affordable home loan modification to homeowners who are facing foreclosures."

Mortgage rates and the specifics of the bailout change daily as Congressional Democrats and Republicans hash out details.

Banks are closely watching the negotiations that will ultimately affect the way they do business.

Wells Fargo says they won't speculate on the unfinished bailout or future mortgage rates. They do offer some advice to future homeowners.

"As this market continues to be volatile and the opportunities exist, it is so important for consumers to align themselves with someone who can educate them," says Arlene Allert, Wells Fargo.

Homeowners like Afrain Castro, who are in danger of foreclosure, are anxiously waiting to find out how and if this bailout will help them keep their homes.


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