By David Lykken
Special to MPA
A few weeks ago, I heard about the initiative under consideration by the current administration to lower credit standards and give more people the opportunity to get into homes. Of course, the argument is that lower-income families deserve homes too. It's the American dream, and everyone should have the opportunity to attain it. Obviously, I agree that home ownership is a good thing for all of us to aspire to, and I wish more low-income families could get into homes.
Nevertheless, I am worried about the lowering of credit standards in order to engineer more homeowners. It seems to me that such practices, at least in part, are exactly what got us into the recession in the first place. I want people to get into homes, but I want them to do it the right way. I don't just want to give people mortgages -- I want them to be able to afford the debt they are assuming. I want to go for sustainability.
Whether or not it's time for us to lower credit standards again is somewhat of a gray area. It's a judgment call. Many in the industry seem to be in support of it. I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea -- I just want us to be cautious of our motivations.
Are we just looking to close more deals, without thinking about where it may lead in the long run? Or do we honestly feel that the economy has improved enough to enable people to bear the burden? Regardless of where we stand on the issue, it is imperative that we ask ourselves these questions.