The other day I received an email from ING DIRECT regarding their financial status. It would seem that with the credit crunch and the global financial troubles, banks have to reassure their customers that they are solvent and in a good financial shape.
ING DIRECT is a subsidiary of ING Group, a giant Dutch financial institution, that offers online banking services to the US customers. They offer various types of accounts such as savings, checking, and CD's, as well as mortgages and investment services at competitive rates.
The portion of the email that drew my attention stated that:
The fact that ING DIRECT was not adversely affected is a testament to our operating philosophy that, as Americans, we should only buy houses we can afford. That way we can keep them for years to come. We believe a mortgage is a contract that both parties should execute in good faith and expect to see through to its conclusion.
How true that statement is. But alas, the advice is a bit late for many who sank exorbitant amounts of money into real estate or some creative derivative of it, only to face the tragedy of bankruptcy and financial ruins when things turned sour. One way or another the turmoil will pass and we will all vow not to make the same mistake again. The trouble is that long before we're out of this mess, another bubble will form and will eventually snare the a bunch of giddy investors who have long forgotten the lessons learned from the current fiasco. We will never learn.