Banks Playing 'Foreclosure Roulette' with Delinquent Homeowners

Banks Playing 'Foreclosure Roulette' with Delinquent Homeowners


Bea Garwood has been bracing for foreclosure since May, but she says she's been told three times to expect a sheriff's sale in the next month and it still hasn't happened.

"We really at this point do not know where we are in the process," said Garwood, who lives in Pinckney, Mich. with her husband. "We have no clue. We haven't even heard from Chase bank in three weeks."

The Garwoods may have had a lucky spin in the game that industry analyst Sean O'Toole calls "Foreclosure Roulette."

Banks don't want to recognize losses by having to put homes on the market at foreclosure-sale prices, but they don't want to encourage borrowers to quit making payments either, so, O'Toole believes, they randomly foreclose on some people to prevent widespread "moral hazard." The rest are left hanging with the help of the government's "extend and pretend" approach to the collapse of the housing bubble.

"We just don't have the political appetite to bail homeowners out," said O'Toole, CEO of "On the other hand, we don't have the political appetite to kick them out."

Last year the Garwoods tried to modify the mortgage on their Pinckney, Mich. home under the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program, which is supposed to put eligible borrowers into a three-month trial period before making the modification "permanent" for five years. The Garwoods' trial period dragged on for nine months before they received a letter of rejection in March. They've been waiting anxiously since then for the day they will finally lose their house.

Read more on >

Start discovering new opportunities using public records data today.

Try It Free Schedule Demo