NEW YORK — Borrowers who have lost their homes, thousands of dollars and their good credit ratings can at least have a laugh thanks to real estate agent and Web site creator Lisa LaShawn.
Visitors to the sites can sign an online petition demanding better regulation of the mortgage industry or buy T-shirts with messages such as “Beware of the mortgage broker” and other more vulgar options.
In a sign that mortgage brokers are the new lawyers — the professionals everyone loves to hate — one design says “I hate lawyers” but with “lawyers” crossed out and replaced by “mortgage brokers.”
“Many foreclosure victims were duped into bad loans made by unethical mortgage brokers. They pushed adjustable-rate mortgages like candy without warning people about the hidden pitfalls, like negative amortization and prepayment penalties,” LaShawn said.
“Millions of people were suddenly stuck with exploding mortgages that skyrocket after the teaser period is over.”
LaShawn, who worked with mortgage brokers during her years in the real estate industry, said borrowers were lured into adjustable-rate mortgages and falsely reassured they could easily refinance by brokers who were paid higher commissions on those types of loans.
Real estate data group RealtyTrac last week reported there were 252,363 foreclosure filings on U.S. homes in June, down 3 percent from May, but up 53 percent from June 2007.