With economy down, repo business is way up

CORONA, Calif. With rising costs all across the board, it's a tough decision families are being forced to make: Make the car payment or make the house payment. Business is booming at the repo lot.

Here at Bank Vehicle Locators and Recovery in Corona, the lot is starting to fill up. And much faster than it has in the past.

"Recently things have been much more increased because of the economy," said repo man Gary Headlund. Headlund says business is more than double what it was about this time last year.

As more and more folks can't make their car payments, more and more banks are calling Headlund and telling him to go and take the cars back.

"As far as we're concerned, we get more assignments from the banks and stuff like that, so naturally that increases our ability to go out and find cars," said Headlund.

While many families are facing tough times, not so here. Julio Rose has been repossessing cars since 2000 and he's never seen things so busy. And more work means more pay.

"We've doubled and gone beyond what I usually was making two years ago," said repo man Julio Rose. "We're up into the five or six thousand dollars a month for part-time work, three to four days a week."

Although Rose says he knows his game comes at a steep price for others.

"Our paychecks go up and you've got to feel for the mom who has the minivan and three kids that you're up there to take," said Rose. "It's kind of hard to take, but otherwise, a lot of people are attributing their repossessions to the mortgage crisis. Their house payments doubling, tripling. It's an easy pick once they go, 'Mortgage, car; mortgage, car.' So a lot of people are just handing over the keys, no confrontation."

The former owner of one truck is a very good example. The owner just turned over the keys and said, "Have a nice day." Next Monday, they say it might be a little more difficult: They're going to be repossessing someone's big rig. That's their livelihood, a very tough decision, a job that needs to be done.


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