These are desperate days for mortgage lenders. Interest rates are up, foreclosures are skyrocketing and losses are mounting. Overall, it is a difficult environment to generate more businss.

Therefore, it shouldn't be too surprising if we hear that mortgage brokers pushing out scare stories about failing lenders. In this particular story, GMAC are caught putting out a letter warning people about the financial frailties of their rival - Washington Mutual.

For mortgage brokers, it is always about the commission. If borrowers stop refinancing, brokers stop earning. With rates rising rapidly, things do look rather bleak. Therefore, scare tactics such as these are the last resort of an industry in free fall.

However, few of us will be outraged. It is what we have come to expect from the American housing industry.

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- During the height of the real estate bubble, mortgage lenders were often shameless in how they pursued new business. Whether it was jacking up hidden closing costs to make loans appear cheaper than they were or using absurdly-low teaser rates on option- or interest-only ARMs to get customers in the door, lenders made owning a home seem easy.

Too easy. Fast forward a couple years, and mortgage defaults are skyrocketing. Foreclosures were up 90 percent in May alone, according to RealtyTrac. And lenders are finally realizing that coaxing consumers to borrow more than they can really afford is, as business strategies go, just plain dumb.

What's a mortgage marketing maven to do? Well, bereft of their teaser rates, the marketing whizzes of at least one major lender apparently decided that scare tactics are the way to go.

Just consider the direct-mail solicitation I recently received from GMAC Mortgage. The letter was addressed to me as a "Washington Mutual Customer"- I have a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with WaMu - and it began ominously: "You've probably read about it in the newspaper or seen it on the nightly television news. Many mortgage lenders all across the country are heading for financial trouble because they have made too many questionable loans. Some lenders may even go out of business. And what will become of the people who trusted those lenders if that happens?"

Then came the kicker: "Allow us to help you refinance your mortgage with the rate and term that best suits your needs."

GMAC's pitch is absurd on so many levels I barely know where to begin. First off, the letter implies if you have a conforming mortgage, as I do, that you could somehow lose your mortgage should your lender go bankrupt. That's simply untrue. Sure, there could be some servicing glitches should your loan be acquired by another bank, but that's more an annoyance than a genuine financial safety issue.