We’ve had the tragedy. Is this the farce?

Daniel Akst | July 15, 2010

The Wall Street Journal reports on signs that risky lending is once again on the upswing. For example:

Credit-card issuers mailed 84.8 million offers of plastic to U.S. subprime borrowers in the first six months of this year, up from 43.7 million a year earlier, estimates research firm Synovate. Nearly 8% of loans for new cars in the latest quarter went to borrowers with the lowest range of credit scores, up from 6.2% in 2009’s fourth quarter, according to J.D. Power & Associates and Fair Isaac Corp.

The lenders say they’re being careful–really!–and of course things aren’t as bad as they once were. But there are disturbing anecdotes of people who are essentially broke getting credit-card solicitations, and apparently these aren’t isolated incidents:

Kathleen Day, a spokeswoman for the Center for Responsible Lending, said the consumer group is “seeing banks re-enter the subprime market at a steady clip and make loans to borrowers who don’t have the ability to repay.”


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