As she watched President Barack Obama give his first State of the Union speech, real estate broker Lee Lombardi crunched on a soy snack and wished for something more filling – from the man she helped vote into office.
Obama talked about improving the federal loan modification program for troubled homeowners, beefing up refinancing so people can move into affordable mortgages and getting lenders to release their grip on credit.
“I wanted to see more meat on the bone as far as how is he going to do this,” said Lombardi, broker owner of LI Liberty Home Realty in Commack and East Northport. "Is he going to call the banks? Is he going to have a program?"
But no, there were no details.
“He said that he appointed (vice president) Joe Biden to have a middle class forum," Lombardi said. "What he has to do is appoint a czar to oversee this refi and modification program.”
Lombardi said she believes in Obama’s ideals and is a lifelong Democrat.
But what she was "patiently" waiting for all evening from the nation’s chief did not come – extending the home buyers’ tax credit. Under the tax bonus, contracts must be signed by the end of April and closed by end of June.
Sure, Lombardi knows it’d be the second extension, but look who got more and is doing little to help homeowners and consumers, she said.
“Look at what he did for Wall Street,” she said. “He gave taxpayer money for banks . . . and then what did they do?”
Out spilled from Lombardi a plethora of ills from the banks, lenders and financial industry -- the fees upon fees, canceling of credit cards and constant demands of loan applicants with decent credit records and more.
Obama may talk about revamping help for homeowners and the housing market, Lombardi said, but lenders have been resistant to refinancing many mortgages and giving out new ones.
At a time when the housing market has not yet recovered, she said, the real estate industry should make some noise about the home buyers tax credit.
“We should definitely ask him to extend that,” the broker owner said. “That is essentially the lifeblood of the market now.”