The Shiny Side of Subprime

There may be an unintended positive consequence of the mortgage fiasco: an actual economic dialogue between the rich and poor

Whitehaven and Hickory Hill are two struggling neighborhoods in Memphis. Many community residents are fighting to stem the downward spiral, but it isn't too hard to spot signs of hard times, including cars parked on lawns and piles of trash. What's really striking, however, is the huge number of subprime lending outlets offering everything from payday loans to rent-to-own furniture to lease-to-own homes. And like so many troubled neighborhoods around the country, growing numbers of people with low incomes and poor credit who bought a home in recent years with a subprime mortgage are in foreclosure (Read more about the subprime mortgage mess in "The Business of Poverty.")

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