Yes, many banks chose to make risky investments at that time, although what most people don't realize is that there was a push from the federal level to loosen up lending requirements for mortgages, so that people with low incomes/less than stellar credit could more easily qualify for mortgages. With the current restrictions in place on mortgages, it's much more difficult for people with low incomes and lower credit scores to get mortgages. I'm personally unsure that making it harder for people with lower credit to get mortgages is the best answer in the long run, as those people still need housing and so are often forced to rent properties where they essentially are only enriching their landlords, rather than building any equity. But the topic of affordable housing is a bit tangential to the show under discussion here, other than just that it seems like some of the hoarders are going to face the necessity of finding a different housing solution because they've damaged the property or hoarding has taken over their lives to the point that they can no longer pay for their housing.
My original point was that I don't feel sorry for someone, subprime mortgage or not, who has a property and then proceeds to devalue it by hoarding. If I owned a property and rented it out to someone who turned out to be a hoarder, and that person was hoarding at the level on the show, I'd probably give the hoarder a deadline to get the stuff out of the property or face eviction. With many of the properties shown, the interiors of the house have been damaged (fire hazards, rodents out of control, etc.,) and often the hoarding has spilled over to the exterior of the property. Most leases have clauses in them allowing eviction if someone causes significant damage to the property. Similarly, if I'm a bank holding a mortgage on a hoarder property and the hoarder quits paying the mortgage, I see no reason to make an exception to foreclosing on the property and salvaging what is left of the investment. I do feel sorry for some of the hoarders; in particular, there was one woman who grew up more or less wealthy but whose mental condition had deteriorated badly to the point where it seemed she couldn't comprehend that she needed to choose what possessions to keep rather than lose everything because she could no longer afford the property she was in. But for many of these people, it's hard to feel any sympathy for them because they seem to be extremely unpleasant people. And there is part of me that feels with many hoarders, they've already had time to deal with their hoarding. It's not like somebody has a normally organized house and wakes up one day, determined to become a hoarder and fill the house with junk in 24 hours. I could understand it to some extent if the person lived alone, but FFS, some of these episodes show hoarders who have spouses living in the same environment. Even if the hoarder has some mental illness, why did the spouse go along with it until it hits the level that outside agencies and so forth have to intervene? Is it just inertia on the part of the non-hoarder spouse, or are they too afraid of how the hoarder spouse will react to any efforts to stop the hoarding and get rid of the junk?