Reports about people who are in trouble with their home mortgages have been common on news broadcasts in recent weeks. Often the borrower is portrayed as the victim and the lender is vilified.
However, the April 14 edition of CNN’s new business show, “Issue #1,” cast one lender in a different light. A Brooklyn, N.Y., homeowner on the brink of foreclosure wrote the lender asking for some leeway on her mortgage payments.
“I’m a single, divorced mother living alone with my children,” Jillian Simmons said to CNN, reading the letter she sent to Fremont Investment and Loan (NYSE:FMT). “Please lower my rate from 7.95 percent I have at the moment so that somehow my payments will be more affordable and changed to a fixed rate. Thank you, Jillian Simmons.”
Fremont did more than that – they offered her a deal that lowered her payments significantly.
“Fremont Investment and Loan did more than Jillian had asked,” CNN senior correspondent Allan Chernoff said. “The bank lowered her interest rate by three percentage points, dropping her payments by $1,000 a month and made the loan a fixed rate mortgage, to keep her monthly payments constant.”
Chernoff explained it was in Fremont’s best interest to service home loans rather than force them into foreclosure. However, he did point out Simmons’ story was a probably a best-case scenario.
“[B]ut the fact is banks are willing to negotiate,” Chernoff added.
That’s the exact opposite of a story on the April 3 “World News with Charles Gibson.” The report showed a family with an income of less than $30,000 a year who managed to get a loan for a $335,000 home.
This family managed to hold on to their home by suing their lender. They claimed they were duped by a predatory home lender and the court allowed them to stay in their home. “World News” portrayed it as a “victory for the little guys.”