Congressional commission examines local financial crisis

Congressional commission examines local financial crisis
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- In 2003 when Nick Hendricks took a mortgage loan out on his house to start a landscaping business, he thought he was living the American dream.

"Came up to our house and told us it was worth $415,000, so we took out a $160,000 mortgage," Hendricks said.

Initially things were good.

"My business was flourishing -- two trucks, three employees," Hendricks said.

But, as the housing market withered, so did his business.

According to the county assessor's office, some 1,100 default notices were recorded in Kern County just last month. Default notices are the first step in the foreclosure process.

It was similar staggering numbers that led a congressional financial crisis committee to stop in Bakersfield.

"If you stay in Washington or stay near Wall Street you don't appreciate the full impact," said Congressman Bill Thomas.

Hearings will also be held in Las Vegas, Miami and Sacramento later this month.