Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Complain about bad loans, then advertise them

My local paper loves the subprime mess. They love reminding us that people took out horrible loans, ARMS, IOs, and that the resulting foreclosures are affecting the economy overall as well as the housing market. Not a day goes by that we don't get an article about it. At face value, it looks like the paper is doing its best to educate the public about these bad loans and the consequences of buying more house than you can afford.

Yet on their website right below the articles, on EVERY page (literally every page) they post advertisements for - you guessed it - bad loans. They are just random feel-good numbers with links to creepy lending sites asking for your social security number and other personal information with things like: $250,000 loan for $650 month! 4.9% interest rate!

Um, even at 4.9% a $250k loan at $650/mo would be paid off...well...never. A $650 payment would be adding around $250 to the balance of the loan every month. After 30 years you'd end up owing like $400,000.

The sad part is that just about all these news outlet websites have the same ads. Some are text, some have dancing aliens, all are outright lies. Where is the accountability in the advertising department? How can a credible newspaper claim to help educate the public in one hand and simultaneously trick them in the other hand?

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