Tony Ward is managing director of Home Funding
I was a little surprised to see chairman of the US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke’s comments last week about how the overly stringent lending requirements of banks are hurting the US housing recovery.
He said that ‘the pendulum has swung too far from the easy lending days of the housing boom complaining that ‘overly tight lending standards may now be preventing creditworthy borrowers from buying homes, slowing the revival in housing and impeding recovery’.
I’m not sure how timely these comments were given that the US Commerce Department subsequently revealed housing starts had risen to their high level for more than four years.
More importantly I’m not sure how helpful it is to suggest it’s time for lenders to relax their lending criteria at this time.
Wasn’t much of the blame for the start of the Credit Crisis aimed at the US for being irresponsible and lending to individuals who hadn’t a hope in hell of repaying their mortgage from day one?
I’m not saying Mr Bernanke is advocating lending to credit impaired individuals but is it the right message to encourage lenders to relax criteria, especially since there are encouraging signs from the US housing market?