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Many think a bad credit score is OK

A new survey also says 32% of Americans think homeowners should be able to strategically default on their mortgages without facing consequences.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 12, 2012 3:10PM

This post comes from partner site logoAfter years of economic turmoil faced by millions of Americans, a large number of consumers now have new attitudes toward the kinds of financial missteps that can land borrowers in credit trouble, including strategic defaults.


Image: Home Foreclosure (© Dana Hoff/Getty Images/Getty Images)A sizable amount of Americans now consider it socially acceptable to have a low credit score or to strategically default on their outstanding mortgage balances, according to new data compiled by JZ Analytics as part of a poll for ID Analytics. In all, 36% of those polled said they believe it's acceptable to have a poor credit score these days, accounting for 77 million people across the country if the data is extrapolated out.


More interesting, however, is that many consumers have seen their attitudes toward intentionally falling behind on underwater mortgages change drastically in the past few years, the report said. A total of 32% of those polled -- 68 million people nationwide -- say homeowners should be able to strategically default on their mortgages without facing any consequences whatsoever for doing so.


Further, 13%, or 28 million Americans, say they would likely strategically default, the report said. Another 17% say they know people who have already done so.

"Our research into the consumer opinion of the economic crisis of 2008 found alarming results," said John Zogby, a senior analyst at JZ Analytics and creator of the Zogby Poll. "What jumped out is how many Americans feel it is acceptable for homeowners to walk away from a mortgage and go into foreclosure. If Americans carry on with that mindset, it will continue to cause problems as the economy undergoes a slow recovery."


Another area in which consumers have more relaxed attitudes toward certain aspects of their credit rating is whether they would exaggerate their standing to obtain new lines of credit, the report said. In all, 17% of those polled said they would do so, making up some 36 million Americans.


Finally, another 35% of respondents said they are now more afraid of being victimized by identity theft than they were five years ago, the report said.


Identity theft and account mismanagement can lead to serious damage to a borrower's credit scores, and therefore all financial documents, including credit reports, should be monitored closely as often as possible.

More on and MSN Money:

Oct 12, 2012 5:04PM
society used to assume that a person with a bad credit score was a bad person in general. This economy has taken away jobs and security from millions of americans. When people are struggling to even put food on the table, and a thousand other worries that keep them awake at night...their credit score is prob the last thing on their minds.  Especially when they know it could take years to fix the damage done by a lost job. I think since economy is to blame for a large portion of the credit prob then ordinary people shouldnt be suffering all the consequences...
Oct 12, 2012 4:51PM
Oct 12, 2012 4:35PM
Just the continuing downward spiral away from personal responsibility. 
Oct 12, 2012 3:55PM
Sorry, a bad credit score is not OK.   While there can be some justifiable reasons for major dings on one's credit, bad actors are bad actors.  The guy who trashes his apartment or house when evicted isn't a trustworthy credit risk.  When you see a judgement against that person in $5-6K figures you can often figure that's the reason.   The very desire to maintain or achieve good credit by
one's actions is what any lender has to look at.  Indeed, those who can afford their mortgage payments but walk away anyway because their mortgage exceeds the home's current value is not credit worthy.
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