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Posted: October 27, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Subprime Development

Washington will save the banks from the subprime mortgage crisis. But who will save the citizens of Newton County from the consequences of subprime development? The sort of development that has lead to extra sections of this paper to advertise foreclosures.
Local land owners, developers, lawyers, and banks made money while the subprime ponzi scheme continued.
As did some buyers who "turned" the houses for higher prices, while the market wasbooming. But, now the day of reckoning is at hand. The good citizens of Newton County are facing vacant/rental housing that drives down their real estate values and housing patterns that are going to overload our schools and other public services.
Poorly or unqualified purchasers were encouraged to borrow money to buy homes and the down payments and even closing costs. They had no stake in the homes they were purchasing nor the ability to repay the loans. These transactions only benefited the land owners, developers, lawyers, banks and the occasional house flipper.
We can prevent this sort of local greed from harming us in the future. We can vote with our feet for the better local banking citizens in Newton County.
Does your local bank require 10 percent cash down payments on home purchases? If not, you should get another bank. And they should not allow second mortgages for down payments and closing fees.
Banks to shun here in Newton County include Community Bank, First Georgia Community Bank and McIntosh Commercial Bank.
We don't need that style of banking in Newton County. (See Rachel Oswald's report on local banks (http://www.covnews.com/news/article/3876/).
The City of Covington, Newton County and local businesses should join the citizens of Newton County in patronizing only local banks that honor a 10 percent cash down payment rule for home loans. Local greed is a local problem that we can solve without legislation or regulation.

Patrick Durusau is a Newton County resident. He can be reached at patrick@durusau.net.

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