Banks grapple with second-mortgage troubles

Delinquency rates causing mass foreclosures, billions in charge-offs

The pressure is all on second place.

Whether one calls it a second mortgage, second lien or home equity loan, the lenders who occupy the subordinate position in the debt stack on your home mortgage are finding out that being No. 2, quite frankly, sucks big time.

Back in the day, before 2007, when money was so cheap that even a grizzly bear wandering around the forest could get a mortgage for his cave, banks also were happy to extend home equity loans and lines of credit to single-family homeowners.