The True Meaning of “Sub-Prime”

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In the world of smoke and mirrors called “The Finance System” the word PRIME has two very different meanings.

One is PRIME RATE (the interest rate banks charge their best clients. Normally 3% above Fed Funds Rate.

The other is SUB-PRIME to describe a mortgage (SUB-PRIME MORTGAGE) that should never have made. Hence the “The Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis“.

In the real world occupied by most of us “Ordinary Folk” the term Sub-Prime should not be linked to a Mortgage; It actually refers to the Borrower of the Mortgage i.e. The person whose Credit, Income, and/or Cash for down payment is not good enough to get a ”Prime” Mortgage. Hereafter referred to as The Sub-Prime Borrower.

This person has always been with us. Until the unbridled greed and avarice of Banks and Wall St intervened with their “No Possible Homebuyer Left behind” programs these folks rented until such time as their financial situation allowed them to qualify for a sensible mortgage.

Let’s be clear on this. The Sub-Prime Mortgages were and are High Risk loans made to High Risk people. These loans could only be made if the Bank knew it could sell them on to a 3rd party before the inevitable late payments started. This way the Banks got their profit with effectively no responsibility for the future performance of the flakey loan.

It was effectively a game of “Pass the Parcel in a Bagdad Pub”.

By the time these loans started going bad they had spread throughout the Worlds Financial systems leading to the current situation so often referred to as the Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis.

At the end of the day we have a large number of Banks and other Wall Street hot shots who  made enormous profits by selling what they all knew to be an unstable product to an undereducated public.

This is a recurring story in our history.

If you don’t want to become a victim of the next wave then you need to get educated in how the system really works before you meet the next Bernie Madoff.

For some thoughts on how you might do this check out my posts from 04/25/2008 “Kick Start the Kids”.

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