Home equity isn’t what it used to be
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Renita Jablonski: Multinational banks aren’t the only ones having trouble getting money. As banks stop lending to each other, they’ve stopped lending to customers. Marketplace’s Stacey Vanek-Smith reports.
Stacey Vanek-Smith: A couple weeks ago, Jessica Eustice got a letter from her bank:
Jessica Eustice: The notice said under current business conditions, we have to freeze your equity line.
That experience is becoming quite common, says personal finance expert Jordan Goodman.
Jordan Goodman: Home equity lines are being cut back dramatically because the value of the homes are falling. That’s part of the credit crunch kind of hitting main street.
And it’s a big hit. Goodman says a lot of people have come to rely on home equity.
Goodman: People have been using home equity credit to meet their basic expenses.
Credit cards are seizing up as well. These days, it’s harder to qualify for a card. Take Dan Ouellette. He lost his job and his house, and has had trouble getting money ever since.
Dan Ouellette: There’s no way I could apply for a credit card. There’s absolutely no way I could qualify for one.
Personal finance expert Goodman says financial institutions are making the situation worse by raising interest rates and minimum payments. And, he says, even if the markets get a bailout from Congress, it will likely be a long time before people can get easy access to credit again.
I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.
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