(10/8/2012) With many believing they've been taken to the cleaners by the mortgage market, 68 million Americans say they have right to retaliate, renege on their mortgage agreement and refuse to pay up.
They are mad as hell and don't want to take it anymore.
Tossing legal, ethical and moral considerations aside, one in three believe a strategic default is just fine and half of them know someone who already has walked away from their mortgage.
The latest survey on tossing the house keys in the circular file found moral indignation as a driving force and that might not bode well for a system based on trust and responsibility.
A recent survey of 1,026 U.S. adults, conducted online by JZ Analytics for ID Analytics found 32 percent believe homeowners should be able to strategically default on their mortgages without any consequences.
The survey also found that 28 million Americans (13 percent) would likely strategically default on a mortgage and 36 million Americans (17 percent) know someone who has strategically defaulted on a mortgage.
A strategic default occurs when a homeowner, who is financially able to make the mortgage payment, decides not to and allows the home to go into foreclosure, often because he or she is underwater, owing more on the home than the home is worth.
Millions of underwater homeowners are disenfranchised by the American Dream, believe they'll never regain the equity they lost in the housing crash and decide to just blow off their agreement to pay the mortgage - even if it means losing their home and giving their credit report a black eye.
John Zogby, senior analyst at JZ Analytics said, "If Americans carry on with that mindset, it will continue to cause problems as the economy undergoes a slow recovery. Our research into the consumer opinion of the economic crisis of 2008 found alarming results. What jumped out is how many Americans feel it is acceptable for homeowners to walk away from a mortgage and go into foreclosure."
Sold a bill of goods
Even after the market crashed and lenders were sued and agreed to settle for billions - without admitting any wrongdoing - a financial industry in denial grew an institutionalized culture of foreclosure abuse.
Reports reveal lenders continued forms of foreclosure abuse both during National Mortgage Settlement negotiations and, continued the practice this year, after lenders agreed to the settlement, according to the California Monitor, launched as California's watchdog for the national settlement.
Creating a nation of twice- and thrice-victimized consumers, lenders continue to be charged with numerous counts of racial discrimination leaving select neighborhoods distressed with unkempt foreclosure properties.
"We commissioned this survey to get a stronger understanding of consumer sentiment surrounding the mortgage crisis/financial slowdown, in particular consumer credit behavior and identity fraud in our current economy," said Dr. Stephen Coggeshall, chief technology officer at ID Analytics.
What the study found was a new and troubling consumer mindset - if the banks can do it, so can we.
It's okay to stretch the truth - 36 million Americans (17 percent) would exaggerate personal information to obtain credit.
Poor credit shouldn't be a hindrance - 77 million Americans (36 percent) believe it's socially acceptable to have a poor credit score.
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