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Nevada Goes After Countrywide Financial

LAS VEGAS (CN) - Nevada's attorney general says Countrywide Financial caused thousands of people to lose their homes to foreclosure because of "risky, high-priced and ultimately unaffordable mortgage subprime loans." Nevada is the top state in the nation for investor-owned mortgage defaults, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Countrywide has been sued by countless pro se homeowners in Southern Nevada seeking to stop their homes from foreclosure.

"For a number of years, (Countrywide) has been among the largest originators of home loan mortgages in the country," Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto claims in her lawsuit in Clark County Court.

"In recent years, defendant increased their market share" by engaging in unfair lending practices that included "placing borrowers in risky subprime loans for which they were unqualified ..., structuring unfair subprime loan products with risky features, and offering illusory initial savings features such as 'leaser' rates and low or no closing costs to induce borrowers to accept unaffordable subprime loans."

The company also is accused of "engaging in misleading marketing and sales techniques, and offering financial incentives to employees and brokers to sell more and more non-traditional subprime loans with increasingly less adherence to underwriting guidelines."

Such practices "resulted in unaffordable subprime loans and increased delinquencies and foreclosures for Nevada homeowners."

The state wants Countrywide to knock it off. And it wants a $5,000 civil penalty for each violation of the state's Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

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