Immoral lending practices are getting the blame for the current mortgage crisis that is affecting the international financial system. The Archbishop of Wales spoke at a celebration that led up the Easter weekend, and he noted, “What’s immoral is encouraging people to borrow more money than they can reasonably afford. They are the first people to go to the wall. There is something wrong about a system that allows that to happen.”
The ‘credit crunch’ gives particular resonance to his words, as there are rising levels of defaults around the globe. The US sub-prime mortgage sector got a knock after too many borrowers received mortgages that they can’t afford. This sub-prime scandal is affecting the global economy, and a prime example of this is the Northern Rock banking problems. The UK got its own batch of problems in the form of the mortgage crisis with lenders who are tightening up their lending criteria. They are also demanding a bigger deposit from first-time borrowers.
Experts are worrying over a possible recession in the United States. This would spell disaster here. The International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook reports that the US economy is nearing a possible recession. This document is still in draft stage, but it is an influential report.
The Archbishop reckons that this economic uncertainty may prompt people to ask ‘eternal questions’. He said, “It’s like when people sometimes are faced with the prospect of dying through a fatal disease and you just realise you’ve been worrying about 1,001 things. We put our trust in all kinds of things except the things that matter.”
Another strong voice echoed the Archbishop’s concerns. David Rosser, who is the director of CBI (Confederation of British Industry) Wales, says that lenders should make sure they only help people who can repay the debt.
“The Archbishop deals with this in terms of morals. To my perspective this is good business sense, but it seems many lenders have forgotten that. I rather suspect that we will be seeing a return to these sound principles in the future.”
Mr. Rosser made a good observation: people should be more responsible with their finances, and not borrow more than they can afford. He tries to use his three credit cards responsibly. “…if I used them to the limit it would be a shocking debt, but I don’t. Individuals have a duty as well.”
His views may seem severe, and this is not the first time he brands one of modern life’s facets as ‘immoral’. His 2007 Christmas message condemned today’s workplace for the pressures it places on family life.