On Wednesday, Bank of America and Citigroup announced they will cut loan balances on thousands of deliquent borrowers to try to help them stay in their homes.
This is a far cry from trimming an interest rate, which still leaves an underwater homeowner owing more than the residence is worth. By cutting the actual principal balances, the banks can narrow -- or even eliminate -- the equity gap, making it easier to sell the home in a traditional manner.
This is all well and good if the banks have concluded it is the most efficient manner in which to clean up their portfolios.
But once again, the responsible homeowner stands by, holding the bag. Under the Bank of America plan, for instance, only those who are at least two months behind -- and more than 20 percent underwater -- will qualify.
So for those of you who have dutifully paid your mortgage each month even as you watched the value of your home sink below your outstanding principal, too bad. You're what's known today as ... a sucker.