The ""Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported this week"":http://www.dsnews.com/articles/mortgage-delinquency-rate-hits-new-high-mba-2009-11-19 that a record number of loans -- 1 in 7 -- is delinquent, up from 1 in 10 a year ago. The numbers also show that 1 in 22 families in the United State is in the process of losing their home, up from 1 in 34 this time last year.
[IMAGE] Based on these figures, the ""Center for Responsible Lending"":http://www.responsiblelending.org/ says the industry is on track for 2.9 million foreclosure starts in this year alone.
MBA blames the rise in defaults on the nation's worsening employment picture. But the Center for Responsible Lending argues that it was lax lending practices that not only precipitated the economic crisis, but prolongs it with every new foreclosure, which in turn forces down surrounding property values and pushes recovery farther out of reach.
[COLUMN_BREAK] According to Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, the damage from reckless lending continues to harm families and the economy and has made it imperative for Congress to establish a single federal regulator to police consumer credit products, such as mortgages.
""These [MBA's] results underscore the need for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to avoid another housing debacle and bring focus to the best interests of consumers -- who drive 70 percent of the economy -- and of taxpayers, who have to pick up the tab when lenders act irresponsibly,"" Calhoun said.
The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsible Lending is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization with a credo of protecting homeownership and family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices. The group is affiliated with ""Self-Help"":http://www.self-help.org/, one of the nation's largest community development financial institutions.