I was catching up on back episodes of Glee on my DVR recently (don’t judge me!) when a story arch ticked me off. One of the kids, Sam, reveals to the glee club that he’s living in a motel room with his entire family after his dad was laid off.
“Do you know that the bank can just take your house?” he asks his friends. As if some suited bankers showed up one morning on their doorstep and demanded that they vacate their residence. There was more to the story – their family had relocated for Dad’s new job, and with such a bad economy, it’s last-in-first-out. They had depleted their savings in the move, and therefore had nothing to fall back on when the job was lost.
This is the perfect example of the liberal drivel that Hollywood spoons out. It’s the banker’s fault! If only the bank had given them some time to come up with the mortgage payment, everything would be ok! Evil bankers (synonymous with Republicans for some strange reason in many people’s minds) are destroying the American dream!
Let’s look at some facts, mmmkay?
Glee is set in Ohio. In that state, it can take six months or longer for the bank to foreclose on your house after you stop paying the mortgage. The bank doesn’t just show up and kick you out of your house. They give you multiple chances to pay your debt, and would prefer it if you did, because taking the whole thing to court is expensive and no one likes dealing with lawyers very much anyway.
Six months is a long time to figure out what the heck you’re going to do.
This fictitious family also made a major mistake by not having a financial safety net to fall back on. They depleted their savings to make a move to a new state for a new job? Is common sense not taught anymore? They couldn’t have bought a house with one less bedroom or something to make sure they still had money in the bank for emergencies?
Note to readers: If you don’t have money in the bank for emergencies, start saving now. Just take $20 a week and stash it away. I recommend setting up an ING account; it’s super easy to transfer money, and if it’s not in your checking account, you won’t spend it. It might not seem like much, but it adds up, and you have to start somewhere.
Another fallacy of the evil banker stereotype is that it fails to recognize that the banker is a person too. He has bills to pay himself, with the money he makes from the interest payments on the money he loaned out. If people stop paying him, he can’t pay his own bills. He has to collect the money owed to him, especially after six or more months of lenience.
The economy sucks. Three out of five homeowners in the country are upside down on their mortgages. Unemployment is high. People lose their homes when they stop making payments. This is not some evil banker’s fault, as Glee suggests, it’s just reality.