Democratic Hopefuls Weigh In on Subprime Loans

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With foreclosure rates at their highest level in four decades, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York is calling for a "foreclosure timeout." Another Democratic presidential hopeful — Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, the Senate Banking Committee chairman — says he will hold hearings on the subprime crisis. In recent weeks at least 20 companies who specialize in high-risk mortgages have gone bust.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's business report begins with the subprime mortgage meltdown.

So here we are with foreclosure rates at their highest level in four decades. And Senator Hillary Clinton is calling for a foreclosure timeout. Another Democratic presidential hopeful, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, says he's going to hold hearings on the subprime crisis.

In recent weeks at least 20 companies who specialize in high-risk mortgages have gone bust. These subprime loans - which means they're aimed at people with poor credit ratings - amount to something like $1.3 trillion. And economists worry the collapse of that industry could drag down the overall housing market.

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