Archived: Consumers Lose Homes, Banks Live Richly


At first – boom! – It hit those low-income folks who had been lured into subprime mortgages they didn’t understand and couldn’t afford. Not to worry, said Wall Street hucksters and Washington officials, we’ve got that little problem “contained.” Not exactly. Boom! – The next wave shattered the dreams of more upscale homeowners whose mortgages contained exploding interest rates.

And now – boom! – The latest ones hit are those who’ve been enticed by bankers to take out “equity loans” on their homes. These are essentially second mortgages on the value of the home, and this dicey financial move has been driven hard the last 20 years or so by the marketing departments of big banks. Rather than encourage customers to pay off their housing debt and own their homes free and clear, the banks strongly urged people to take out second loans on their homes in order to buy a car or take a vacation. The bankers even went on the road to teach people how to cash in on their homes, and an advertising blitz was launched to make it all sound painless.

“Live Richly,” was the slogan of a billion-dollar ad campaign by Citibank, adding that your home is your “ticket” to anything “your heart desires.” “Don’t sit on your equity,” scolded another. “Turn it into cash.” In a short time, this promise of “free” money piled up a trillion dollars in added debt on the backs of millions of homeowners. It was a bonanza for the banks, which pocketed billions of dollars in fees for extending this additional credit.

However, with home values plummeting and the economy tanking, the bankers’ boom has become the borrowers’ bust. Hundreds of thousands of Americans now can’t pay off these equity loans, and they face losing their homes, which will further depress housing prices across the country, setting off other bombs.
Once again, we learn that when bankers say, “Live Richly” – they’re only talking about themselves.

For more information on Jim Hightower’s work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, visit Distributed by

Posted - Copyright © 2022 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

Print This Post Print This Post

Leave A Reply

Comments are intended to further discussion on the article topic. EGPNews reserves the right to not publish, edit or remove comments that contain vulgarities, foul language, personal attacks, racists, sexist, homophobic or other offensive terminology or that contain solicitations, spam, or that threaten harm of any sort. EGPNews will not approve comments that call for or applaud the death, injury or illness of any person, regardless of their public status. Questions regarding this policy should be e-mailed to