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In the Central Valley: El Dolor del Embargo*

[*According to our friend Cuauhtemoc Rivera, "El dolor del embargo", literally translates to "the pain of foreclosure". Photo credit, from a post about mosquitos breeding in abandoned swimming pools, the Sierra Club -PF]

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Latinos in California represent a huge bloc of foreclosures. According to today's Chronicle, a study by the Center for Responsible Lending puts Latino households at fifty percent of the foreclosures, most of which are just a few miles from here in Modesto, Stockton and Merced. But not everyone, unsurprisingly, agrees on why:

The signature finding of this report, that there is a disproportionate rate of foreclosures for Latinos, is really stunning," said Paul Leonard, director of the California office for the Center for Responsible Lending. "The data shows that high-cost loans correlate with foreclosures and that there was a big presence of subprime lending to the (Latino) demographic and in areas where there are concentrations of Latinos.This is not just about deadbeats, but a kind of perfect storm- aggressive realtors and developers working hand-in-glove with mortgage companies pushing people into risky and expensive loans, often in a language they lacked fluency in, combined with the simultaneous collapse of the housing market (putting their loans under water) and the economy. At one point:Merced, Modesto and Stockton, all in the Central Valley, were Nos. 4, 6 and 7 for unemployment in the United States in 2009, and that is not emphasized in this reportsaid Dustin Hobbs, communications director for the California Mortgage Bankers Association, an organization that disputes the report and apparently prefers to blame it all on out-of-work Mexicans. No mention of Angelo Mozilo anywhere.
· Foreclosures in State Hit Latino Homes Hardest [SFGate]
· Angelo Mozilo [Wikipedia]