Friday, March 31, 2017

Will A Foreclosure Affect My Credit?

Once you start taking out credit cards and other loans, you start to think about your credit rating and score. The better your credit, the more likely you are to receive favorable loan terms when the time comes to borrow money. This translates to lower payments, which is always a good thing. But if you pay late or fall significantly behind, your credit can take a hit. So it is only natural to wonder what affect a bankruptcy or foreclosure will have on your credit. These events are reported on your credit, but may not be as damaging as you might imagine. In fact, people with these types of marks on their credit are often times able to obtain new financing a short time after the event, without a lot of trouble.

Here are some examples of what happens to your credit when your home goes into foreclosure:
         The fact a foreclosure was initiated against you is noted on your credit report.
         The outcome of that action might also find its way to your report, so if you are able to negotiate a short sale or offer a deed in lieu of foreclosure, the impact on your credit is not as great.
         If you were already pretty far behind on payments when the foreclosure was started, your credit has already been noted that you are delinquent on your mortgage payments. The addition of a foreclosure action does not cause significant harm in this instance.

Not long after you come out of foreclosure you can expect to start receiving offers of credit from various lenders. Most times these offers are not at as good a rate as a consumer without a foreclosure on their credit, but they do give you the chance to reestablish your credit rating. If you are able to make the payments and decide to take on a new mortgage or other loan, you can quickly bounce back from any damage the foreclosure notation has had on your credit score. The key is to evaluate the offer, go through your budget to make sure the payments are manageable, and make a decision that fits your finances.

For more information about foreclosure or bankruptcy, contact us at We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you and have multiple locations to meet your needs for office visits.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Is It True A Mortgage Modification Will Get Me A Rate As Low As 2.00%?

When it comes to house payments there are a lot of stories out there about people who are living in homes worth pennies on the dollar compared to what they paid for the house, stories about friends and family being foreclosed on, and stories about people who have found a way out of their housing dilemma. One of the most popular things people hear is that you can modify your mortgage loan and get a lower rate, so that your payments are lower and easier to make. But just how low can your rate go? Is it possible to get a rate that is next to nothing, or will the offer from your Bank be so insignificant as to not make a difference in what you have to pay each month? It is important to know what to expect, because if you will not be much better off you might have to start looking at other ways to save your house.

Of course everyone wants the lowest rate possible, but just how low will your bank go? Is 1.00% or 2.00% a possibility when modifying a mortgage loan? Chances are your rate will not be that low, and it is unfortunate that there are those out there who try to convince people this is possible. Watch out for the following if you are thinking about asking for a mortgage loan modification:

         Excessive fees that have to be paid up front, before your application will even be considered.
         Any request for payment that goes anywhere but to your mortgage lender.
         Being told to stop making your payments while your application is pending, unless you have a specific agreement with your lender in this regard, and that agreement has been put down on paper.
         A guarantee of a modification or of certain terms.

There are a lot of predators out there just waiting to take advantage of a distressed homeowner. Rather than fall prey to these scams, let us help you get what you need. We have experience helping people get their mortgages modified, and can help you too! Our goal is to keep you in your house, at a payment you can afford.

For more information about what to expect when you seek a mortgage loan modification, contact us today at We will help you come up with solutions that work for your family, and have multiple locations where we schedule appointments so you can make a choice that is convenient for you.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What Types Of Mortgage Loans Can Be Modified?

If you have ever taken a moment to think back to when you took out your mortgage loan you will probably remember that there were certain types of loans available. There is a conventional loan, a government loan, a VA loan, FHA options, fixed rate, and variable rate loans. All of this was probably pretty hard to make sense of when you bought your house, and if you are considering seeking a modification of your mortgage loan you may also be wondering if the type of loan you have makes a difference. But perhaps a better question would be to ask what it takes to get your mortgage modification approved, regardless of the type of loan.

Banks have the ability to modify your mortgage loan, regardless of the loan type. However, it does take some doing, and here are some good tips on how you can make sure your request for a mortgage loan modification goes smoothly:

         Be sure to fill out the application entirely the first time, and with accurate information. If some of the data being requested sounds foreign to you, give us a call. We can help you make sense of what is being asked and make sure that the answers you provide are complete.
         Provide all the documents asked for, and keep track of when and where these documents were sent. A mortgage loan modification is a paper intensive undertaking, and we can help by presenting the things needed for you, and keeping them organized.
         Stay on top of the request, because many lenders will let your application sit or fall through the cracks if you are not in constant communication. This is also a place where we can offer help, by doing all of the follow up for you and making sure the lender treats you properly.

It is hard to be in a position where you cannot make your house payment, and wonder if your family will have to move. If this is your situation, call us today. We will let you know what will work best for you, and then will take whatever action is needed to keep you in your home.
If you have more questions about mortgage modifications, contact us today at We will help you come up with solutions that work for your family, and have multiple locations where we schedule appointments so you can make a choice that is convenient for you.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Am I Eligible to Modify My Mortgage If I Don’t Have A Job?

A mortgage loan modification is a good way to reduce your monthly payments, because most modifications include a reduction in the interest rate. And, when the interest rate is lower, the payments are also lower. Most of us are more capable of paying a lower mortgage payment each month than a higher payment, so a modification is a good option if you are struggling to make ends meet. But there is a process associated with asking for a mortgage loan modification, and certain requirements that first have to be met before your lender will agree to a modification. For example, you have to fill out an application and provide certain documents to your lender to start the process. You cannot simply make a phone call and ask for a reduction in your interest or for a lower payment.

Part of the application process will be to provide proof of your income, but if you are unemployed that does not necessarily mean you will not qualify for a modification. The purpose of providing your income information is as follows:
•           To show the source of your funds, which in turn shows that you have money coming in to enable you to make the payments.
•           To show that the amount of money you have coming in is not enough to cover the existing payment, and thus you need a modification to the mortgage so the payment is more manageable.

While most people do have regular and ongoing income from an employer, there are those that rely on other sources for their monthly living expenses. It might be that you get alimony, or are living off of a fixed retirement, social security, or disability payments. The key when providing proof of income is to provide information that shows the amount you have coming in each month is steady. Because, without a steady flow of money you will not be able to make even a modified payment. Some lenders may hesitate to process your application without income from a W2 source, but with our help we can negotiate a modification that meets your needs. If you are struggling to pay your house payment each month, but do have funds at your disposal to pay something, give us a call to learn more.
If you have more questions about how to qualify for a mortgage loan modification, contact us today at We will help you get prepared for what comes after we file your case, and have multiple locations where we schedule appointments.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Is There A Difference Between A Mortgage Forbearance And A Mortgage Modification?

The terms associated with mortgage loans can be confusing. If you are a first time homebuyer, or can remember when you did make your first home purchase, you probably had questions about what it means to escrow funds. Simply put, an escrow account is an account maintained by your mortgage company, whereby a part of your monthly mortgage payment is placed to cover expenses like real estate taxes and property insurance. But if you have not had previous experience buying a house, hearing this term for the first time can cause confusion. The same is true when you start to talk about the different options available to both the lender and the borrower if and when the mortgage loan becomes delinquent. Both parties have options, with the lender the typical response to a defaulted mortgage loan is to foreclose and with the homeowner the choices can include a forbearance or a modification of the mortgage loan. These two things are not the same, but unless you have had cause to explore either, you may not know the differences.

And, there certainly are differences between a mortgage forbearance and a mortgage modification. For instance:

•           A forbearance is like putting your payments on hold. You get to take a break from payments but those payments will eventually have to be made in order to satisfy the loan. Qualifying for a forbearance is difficult, but can be done under certain circumstances.
•           A modification is a change to the existing terms of your mortgage. Most notably, the interest rate term is changed when you modify your mortgage. In a great number of cases the changes are to reduce the interest rate, so the payment also goes down.

If you are in danger of foreclosure or are otherwise having a hard time making your mortgage payments, call us for help. We will go over your options with you and explain them fully, so you can make a decision that works best for you. Let us put our experience with lenders to work for you, and assist you with your mortgage loan needs. Whether you need to modify your loan, file for bankruptcy, or ask for some other form of relief, we can get the job done for you!

For more information about the difference between a forbearance on your mortgage, and a modification, contact us at We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you and have multiple locations to meet your needs for office visits.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Can I Modify My Mortgage During A Foreclosure?

Receiving notice that your home has gone into foreclosure can stop you in your tracks. A million thoughts will run through your mind when this happens; like where will your family live if you lose your home, and how long will it be before the lender comes and tries to make you vacate? These are important things to know, but the foreclosure process can be complicated and if you are being foreclosed on it is a good bet the lender will not explain the process to you. There are ways to stop a foreclosure though, and one of those ways is to ask if your lender will modify your mortgage.

A modification is essentially a rewrite of your mortgage loan, just at more favorable terms. This is a huge plus, as is the prohibition on continuing a foreclosure while a request to modify is pending. When lenders go down both roads in this way, it is referred to as dual tracking, and it is not allowed. Here are some of the things lenders cannot do, that may be considered dual tracking:
         Send notices of intent to foreclose when a modification request has been made.
         Initiate or maintain a foreclosure when a modification request has been made.
         Fail to follow certain procedures associated with processing the modification request application. Basically, a lender cannot give you the “runaround” regarding your application status.
         Fail to respond to or address a complaint about debt collection practices. Collectors are prohibited from engaging in certain practices when it comes to how debt is collected, and if the consumer makes a complaint it has to be addressed.

Even though there are rules in place, they are not always followed. This is not to say there are intentional missteps taken, but any misstep regarding your request for a modification should be addressed. We have experience dealing with lenders, and know what they can and cannot do with your application. Let us help you reduce your mortgage payments today by calling us for help with a mortgage loan modification. The sooner you are able to get your payments lowered, the sooner you can get back on track with your monthly budget and put a stop to potential foreclosure action.
If you have more questions about foreclosures and mortgage modifications, contact us at We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you and have multiple locations to meet your needs for office visits.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Can I Still Modify My Mortgage If I Was Trying To Short Sale My Home?

There are a few ways to deal with a defaulted mortgage loan that avoid foreclosure. One way is to offer a short sale of your home to the lender, which is essentially an agreement whereby the lender accepts less than what is owed on your mortgage loan. Another option is to ask for a modification of your existing mortgage, so you can get back on track with the payments. The terms of a modification vary but generally include a reduction in interest rate, which results in a lower payment. But it can be hard to know which choice will work best for you, or whether you can pursue multiple avenues of relief at one time.

For instance, you might need to know if you can ask for a modification while you are trying to get the lender to agree to a short sale. Here is what you can expect with each type of relief:

•           In a short sale you can avoid foreclosure by getting the lender to take the property back for less than what you owe, and that money usually comes from a sale of the property on the real estate market. This can take a while to get done, because you still have to find a buyer and the bank has to agree to the price. There are no guarantees that the bank will accept the short sale offer, but if they do you might still owe! This is because the amount of loan not paid, the amount the short sale was “short”, is forgiven and considered income by the IRS. That means you will receive a 1099 and have to report the amount forgiven as income and pay taxes on that amount. Most homeowners are not able to do this, so a short sale is not always the best option.
•           With a mortgage loan modification you can rest easy knowing that if approved, you will enjoy the benefit of better loan terms. You might also get to skip a month’s payment, allowing you to put some money aside for other bills.

If either of these options sound appealing to you, call us for more information. We can explain them each in more detail and as they apply to your specific circumstances.
If you have more questions about short sales and mortgage modifications, contact us at We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you and have multiple locations to meet your needs for office visits.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Should I Still Make Payments While My Application To Modify My Mortgage Is Pending?

Asking your mortgage lender to modify your mortgage loan is a good way to reduce your monthly mortgage payment. The problem can be that while you are waiting for an answer, you still may be struggling to make the payments. If that is your case, you need to know some important things about what you should and should not do while your modification application is being reviewed. One thing to do for sure is to stay in constant communication with your lender, and when you put your trust in us to handle your modification for you, we make sure the lines of communication don’t run dry. We stay on top of your application and where it is in the process, so there are no hiccups along the way.

Other things you should do during the time your mortgage loan modification request is pending include:

•           Keep making your payments if possible. If you fall behind on payments the lender may not make a finding that you have the capability to pay even a lower amount. But if you were already behind on your payments when the application was made, make sure your lender notes your account as such and that the loan is under review for modification. This type of account notation is helpful if the lender then tries to collect or foreclose before a final decision on your modification is made, because once a modification request is made the lender should not also engage in collection or foreclosure activity.
•           Keep copies of all of the paperwork associated with the modification request. If you are asked to submit documents that have already been provided, it is good to have proof of the submission.

If you allow our office to help with your modification we will talk with your lender about payments, and will also provide you with copies of all of the communications sent on your behalf. We keep your file organized so information is no farther than a reach, and can provide it to your lender upon request. We know you need to get a resolution quickly, and work hard to make the process go as fast and as efficiently as possible.
For help with asking for a mortgage modification, contact us at We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you and have multiple locations to meet your needs for office visits.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Do I Have To Accept My Mortgage Lender’s Modification Offer?

When you can’t make your house payment you become scared that the lender will foreclose, leaving you and your family without a place to call home. But if your money is too tight to keep up with all of your bills there are things you can do to stay in your house. One option is to file for bankruptcy, to reduce or eliminate some of your debt. A Chapter 7 case will eliminate all of your high interest rate unsecured credit card debt (and other unsecured debt), so you keep more of your money each month and can pay your other bills. A Chapter 13 will reduce what you owe, allowing you to pay one lump sum payment each month to the Chapter 13 Trustee, for disbursement to your creditors. But if you are not sure about the need to file bankruptcy, you can still work to save your house.

Many times your current mortgage lender will negotiate with you to modify the loan. A mortgage loan modification can result in lower payments because the loan will be rewritten to a lower rate, which lowers your payments. But sometimes the mortgage lender makes a modification offer that still does not make it possible for you to keep up with what is due. So you may be wondering if you have to accept your mortgage lender’s modification offer? The answer is no; you do not have to accept the offer. What you can do instead is:

         Refinance with a new lender, and pay off your existing mortgage in its entirety so you no longer have to deal with your current lender.
         Negotiate a different modification term.

We can help you with both of these options, and can even let you know how bankruptcy might be the answer even if it was not on your mind. We have extensive experience negotiating with mortgage lenders, and handle all of the documents for you so you don’t have to worry about whether your application was sent on time or whether it has been received. We know that most mortgage lenders have a tendency to drag their feet when reviewing a modification request, so we keep on top of them and make them act quickly to get you the answers you need.
For more information about mortgage loan modifications, call us today or reach us online at

Monday, March 20, 2017

How Long Does It Take To Modify My Mortgage?

When you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking at ways to get out of debt, you probably need instant relief. So it comes as no surprise that when lenders drag their feet, or ask you to resubmit documents multiple times the process to modify a mortgage can become frustrating. While many lenders claim to offer mortgage modifications, the truth is unless you stay on top of the process you might get lost in the shuffle or be given the run around. But with our help, you can rest easy knowing we aggressively pursue all remedies available to you and work to hold the lender accountable for the process.

In general, a mortgage loan modification takes place with these steps:

         You will first be “screened” to see if you qualify for a modification.
         During the screening portion of the process you will be asked to fill out an application for modification and provide various documents relative to your income.
         If you are approved, you may be put on a trial period. The trial period is meant to determine whether the new payment is within your budget, and if you successfully make the modified payments for the trial period time, you can be given a final modification of your mortgage loan.

It sounds easy and quick enough, but the truth is that most applicants are asked to submit documents multiple times. For some reason most banks are incapable of keeping track of your file properly, but if you document what has been sent and can show the request is a duplicate request then the need to resubmit should be eliminated. We understand how hard it is to keep track of all of these documents while holding down a job and taking care of your family, which is why we handle this task for you. And, when we take on the job of working with your lender to modify your mortgage we make sure there is no damage done to your finances or credit. Some lenders report that you are not making full payments during the trial period, and that can hurt your credit. There may be other issues that arise along the way that will blemish your credit or cause the left hand of your lender to call for payment, because the left hand is unaware that the right hand is looking a modifying your loan. We will keep all of this straight for you, so you don’t have to worry about being hassled while you are trying to get back on your feet. With our help, the timeline to get to a new house payment can be greatly reduced. While there is no set amount of time that can be given, because each case is different, rest assured we are working quickly and efficiently on your behalf.
For more information about mortgage modifications, call us today or reach us online at

Friday, March 17, 2017

How Can I Have My Mortgage Balance Reduced?

Many homeowners in the United States have recently discovered they owe much more on their home than the home’s value shows. This means the payments being made are more than need be, and as a result a large number of homeowners are making inflated mortgage loan payments. One option to remedy this problem is to ask your mortgage lender to modify the loan, so that you are paying more of a true value for the house rather than significantly over the value. But getting a mortgage loan modification is a complex process, and there are options within options to make.

Here are some tips and things to remember when you are working to have your mortgage balance reduced:

         Your lender may have the ability to rewrite their mortgage loan and give you a lower interest rate. The viability of many of the government programs in place to get this done is in question though, so it is crucial that you act fast.
         If a mortgage loan modification is not available to you, you can reduce the amount you owe by making half of your mortgage payment, every other week. The end result is that you will end up by years’ end making one extra payment and that will work to reduce what you owe.
         You can refinance with a new lender, who will pay off your existing loan and write a new one for you. This is advantageous if you are able to negotiate a lower interest rate with the new lender.
         If you have a lump sum available to you, you can pay that towards the principal balance and ask the lender to “reset” your mortgage terms to reflect the lower balance.

Most of these options require skillful negotiation, especially when federal regulations are in play. We are familiar with the rules required to modify mortgages and have experience working with lenders to get homeowners more manageable mortgage loan terms. If you are underwater on your house payment, call us for help. We will look at your particular situation and let you know what might work best for you, and make sure you understand the choices you are making. Our goal is to keep you in your house, at an affordable price.
For help with mortgage modification issues, call us today or reach us online at We have multiple locations to serve you and can schedule a time to meet at the office most convenient for you.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Do I Have To Have A Certain Amount Of Debt To File For Bankruptcy?

When you are not able to pay all of your bills each month it does not matter if you are short by just a few dollars or by thousands, the end result is the same and that is that you cannot make ends meet. There are a few things you can do in this situation; you can pick certain bills over others to pay, you can take out a loan to consolidate your debt, you can ask your creditors to forgive part of the debt, you can try to modify your mortgage, or you can file for bankruptcy. But what you should not do is ignore the problem, because ignoring your finances will not get them healthy again. If bankruptcy is your choice you probably have a lot of questions about how the process works, and what will be required from you to file a case.

One of the most frequently asked questions about what is required to file a bankruptcy case is whether a certain amount of debt is required. The answer is no! But that does not mean your total debt load is not considered. Here is a brief overview of how it works:

         If you do not have enough money to pay your bills each month, you qualify for bankruptcy.
         The type of case you are allowed to file depends on the amount of money you make, and how that relates to the amount of secured debt you are servicing.
         A complex calculation has to be performed to determine the ratio of disposable income you have, as it relates to the total of your monthly secured debt payments.
         If the ratio falls at a certain threshold figure, you will be allowed to file a Chapter 7 and eliminate all of your unsecured debt. But if the ratio shows you have money at your disposal each month to pay even a part of your unsecured debts after meeting all of your secured obligations, you will be required to file a Chapter 13.

The differences between the two types of cases are many, the most important being the requirement to pay back a portion of unsecured debt rather than have it wiped out in its entirety. Another difference is that a Chapter 7 takes a few short months to complete, while a Chapter 13 can last up to 5 years. Both types of cases are beneficial though, because upon filing a case under either chapter, your creditors are prohibited from contacting you. This can give you a break from collection calls and letters, and can also put a stop to a wage garnishment or a pending foreclosure. If you need help getting back on track with your bills, give our office a call. We will let you know what to expect and can make the determination as to which chapter of bankruptcy you qualify to file.

For more information about how to fix your finances, call us today or reach us online at We have multiple locations to serve you and can schedule a time to meet at the office most convenient for you.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Two Tips On Debt Consolidation

Finding a way to get out of debt can be hard, and with all of the media hype out there about what works best, it can leave you wondering what to believe. One thing is for certain, if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably won’t work. So when you make a choice to consolidate debt in order to give yourself a bit of financial relief each month, it is critical that you do so after having first learned all you can about the process. Sometimes there may be hidden fees that you did not budget for, or you might find yourself paying taxes for “forgiven debt”. Either of these things, or some of the other problems that can arise, can put a real damper on your plans and leave you in no better position than when you started.

Two tips for a successful debt consolidation include doing the following things:

•           Make sure that your credit report accurately reflects your payments. You do not want to put all of your debt together for repayment only to have one or more of your creditors report that you are not paying them on time, or that you have paid less than what is owed on the debt. If your credit is not accurately reporting your activity, you can be hurt down the road when future financial needs arise.
•           Make sure the payment makes sense, and that you are not actually paying more that if you paid the bills separately. One thing to look at here is the rate, which may be higher than some of your individual bills, but on average may be a lower rate than what you are currently paying. Another thing to watch out for is the actual payment amount. You would not want to consolidate debt into one payment that is more than your single payments when added together. It is also a good idea to look at the time frame within which the debt will be repaid. For some people it is worth it to make a slightly higher payment if it knocks years off of the repayment term, because those years do nothing more than add interest.

In order to be successful, you have to make a commitment to stick with the consolidation plan. A good place to start in this regard is to get a budget down on paper, and take steps to cut out extras so you can follow the budget. If you need to free up some money to put towards this new budget, there are things you can do along with consolidating debt to reach that goal. For instance, you can ask your home lender to modify your mortgage, and then use the extra money you were paying on your house to fund your debt consolidation plan. For help, call our office.
For more information about debt consolidation, call us today or reach us online at We have multiple locations to serve you and can schedule a time to meet at the office most convenient for you.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Five States With The Most Credit Card Debt

If you have ever watched late night television you will be familiar with the country’s fascination with lists; “top ten this”, or “the most of that” types of lists. Having data assembled in an easy to read list helps put things in perspective, and allows people to instantly determine where they fall in the line. These types of lists can also help families decide where to send their kids to school, or what neighborhood is considered the safest. And if you are not looking for the three most popular ways to cut carbs, you still might find a list on the topic an interesting read.

Another interesting read is which states have the most debt, and in particular the most credit card debt. Credit cards are being used more and more often these days, and the balances can quickly add up to astronomical amounts. The five states with the most credit card debt are:
         New Jersey

It is probably a safe bet that these states have the most debt because the payments being made are only the minimum amount. When a credit card is not paid off monthly, or only nominal payments are made, the balance can escalate pretty fast. But not everyone has the financial ability to pay off their credit cards in full each billing cycle, or even to pay a bit more than the minimum payment that is required. So what do you do if you are not financially able to pay your credit cards off in full? One thing you might try is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can either wipe out, or reduce your bills, depending on what chapter of case you qualify to file. In a Chapter 7, all of your unsecured debt, which includes high interest rate credit cards, is subject to the discharge. What this means is that you can eliminate all of your outstanding credit card debt by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 you will only have to pay back a percentage of your credit card debt. The percentage you have to pay back will depend on the specific facts of your case, and we can take a look at your finances for you and let you know what to expect.

For more information about credit card debt and how to handle it, call us today or reach us online at We have multiple locations to serve you and can schedule a time to meet at the office most convenient for you.

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Look At How 2016 Ended As Far As Bankruptcy Filing Volume

When you bring home less money than you have to pay out each month for your bills, a devastating financial impact can be felt. It is no fun to have less cash than is needed to pay for the things you need, but there are ways you can improve your cash flow without waiting for the boss to give you a raise. One thing you can do is to consolidate your debts into one lump sum payment per month, at a lower average rate than what you pay on each individual debt. You can also negotiate with your creditors for lower interest rates or more manageable repayment amounts, or see if your mortgage lender will rewrite your mortgage loan. Another option is to file for bankruptcy, which will either eliminate your debt all together, or at least significantly reduce what you owe. One thing to keep in mind when deciding to file for bankruptcy though is that if you have things you want to keep, like your car or house, you will still have to make the monthly payment for those things. It is also good to know that depending on your income and the amount of secured debt you have, you may not get to eliminate all of your unsecured debt (like high interest rate credit cards).

The inability to wipe out credit card debt is disappointing to many people who are contemplating filing for bankruptcy, and might account for the decreased number of bankruptcy filings in 2016. Overall, here is how the year ended for bankruptcy filing volume

•           Business filings were up by 26% in November 2016, from the report at the end of November 2015.
               The number of individual cases for 2016 decreased by 6% from the previous year.

This data may or may not illustrate a trend, as the economy is still in a state of flux. With the election of Donald Trump came a lot of worry and concern, and many times that worry and concern plays itself out in the financial markets. But because President Trump’s presidency is too new, it is also too soon to tell if there will be any lasting impact on your bottom dollar. It is also safe to presume that as more businesses look to bankruptcy as a way out of financial trouble, the number of consumer filings will increase. This is because when a company is in trouble, those hit first are usually the employees. This could be in the form of layoff or firings, or even a cut back in hours worked or pay scale. If this happens, it is not a far stretch of the imagination to think that consumers will soon need financial relief. For many, this relief can come in the form of bankruptcy. If you are having a hard time keeping up with all of your bills, you should consider filing for bankruptcy. The benefits can last a lifetime, as you eliminate or reduce debt in a way that lets you free up your funds to save for an emergency or to pay other obligations.

For more information about bankruptcy, call us today or reach us online at We offer appointments at multiple locations for your convenience and can schedule a time to visit with you soon.

Friday, March 10, 2017

High Court To Hear Case On Debt Collection Practices Violations: The Santander Suit

When issues come up that impact a large number of people, the best way to get an answer we can all rely on is to set some precedent. When the issue is of a legal nature, the best way to do this is to take your case to Court. And if you are looking for the final word on a legal matter, the United States Supreme Court is the place to check. The Supreme Court has decided a variety of issues over the years that affects us all, from the Roe v. Wade decision on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, to the Brown v. Board of Education case that dealt with integration of public schools. The decisions handed down by the Supreme Court are meant to be the supreme law of the land, and provide a clear cut answer as to what rights and duties exist in a particular circumstance. When an issue is near and dear to your heart, it is good to have guidance and an answer. One of the most near and dear issues people today have concerns their money, especially if it is at risk of being taken from them or they are fighting with a debt collector over the debt.

Debt collectors have a reputation for being hard to deal with, and for treating debtors with very little respect. In order to put some decency back into the practice of trying to collect a debt, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was made law in 1977. The aim of this Act was to prevent abusive or harassing debt collection practices, and since its inception those who come under the scope of the law have been claiming the law does not apply to their practices. One such group is a group known as debt buyers. These buyers will take defaulted debts off a lender’s hands, by paying pennies on the dollar for what is due, and then turn around and try to collect the debt. One of the largest of these types of companies is Santander, and they are the subject of a lawsuit set for review by the Supreme Court. Here is a little bit about the Santander case:

•           Four residents of Maryland who had defaulted on their car loans brought a class action against Santander for their collection practices. The claims were that Santander had misrepresented the debt and/or made direct contact with the consumers rather than going through their attorney. These acts are in direct violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and thus the consumers sought a legal remedy for the violations.
•           The case was thrown out of court because it was found that the FDCPA only applied to debt collectors and since Santander had bought the defaulted loans for pennies on the dollar they were not a collector, but rather a creditor.
               The consumers are appealing this decision, because they believe Santander is in                               fact acting as a debt collector and should be made to abide by the rules that regulate those in that practice. 

While all of this is going on, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is also looking at ways to tighten the regulations that govern debt collectors’ actions. The outcome of this case as well as what the CFPB is able to do could change the entire landscape of debt collection. We stay on top of these events, so we can better serve you as our client. If you are being harassed by a debt collector, call us to find out your options.
For more information about debt collection practices and what to do if you have been harassed by a debt collector, call us today or reach us online at We offer appointments at multiple locations for your convenience and can schedule a time to visit with you today.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

It’s A Circus Out There: Two Favorite Circuses In Financial Trouble

When hard times hit, they do not discriminate against who suffers. Sometimes companies close their doors after years of operating, sometimes individual consumers are not able to pay all of their bills and use bankruptcy as a way to get out of debt, and sometimes those in the entertainment industry fall prey to financial woes. A lot of celebrities have filed bankruptcy to clean up their finances, but sometimes it is an entertainment company that files a case.
A perfect example of entertainment businesses that have filed bankruptcy can be seen by taking a look at two family favorite circuses that have filed:
         The Big Apple Circus is seeking the protection offered from bankruptcy, having filed a Chapter 11 case in November 2016.
         The Big Apple Circus filing claims the financial crisis of 2008 is what led to the need to file, and the circus will certainly be missed by many. One of the things the Big Apple Circus was known for was providing free tickets to low income families. A big part of the Big Apple Circus program was also to visit hospitals to cheer up children during their hospital stay.
         The property of the Circus will be auctioned off, but that does not mean the Big Apple will soon be coming to a city near you. More than likely the items sold will be repurposed or liquidated without ever seeing a big top again.
On top of the Big Apple Circus closing, another family favorite is also shutting its doors. The famous Ringling Brothers circus is ceasing operations as well, after over 100 years of providing entertainment to families. These circus closings are a sign of a few things; one, that the economy is bad all over, and two, that the public is choosing to spend their entertainment dollars elsewhere. When funds are tight, choices have to be made, and when circus goers make the choice to see a movie or take a short day trip, the one who ends up paying is the circus itself. These stories also highlight the need for people and businesses of whatever dollar size to take steps to protect their rights when money is scarce. If you are having a hard time making a decision about how to pay your bills, let us help.

For more information about debt and what to do if you have more debts than you can pay, call us today or reach us online at We offer appointments at multiple locations for your convenience and can schedule a time to visit with you today.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Three Possible Reasons Why Student Loans Are Going Into Default At An Alarming Rate

If you have college aged children, have already graduated college, or are just about to embark on your college career, one of the things at the forefront of you mind is probably money related. College is expensive, and most people have to take out student loans to get their degree. And while the interest rates on student loans are usually some of the lowest around, many parents and graduates are still finding it hard to make the payments on their student loans. The number of student loans that are in default is on the rise, and there does not seem to be any end in sight.

Three possible reasons why student loans are going into default at an alarming rate could be:

         Not everyone who starts college ends up finishing the program, and without the degree contemplated at the outset, it is difficult to get the job the program was designed to offer. This leads to a lower income than originally envisioned, making it hard to make the loan payments. And, not finishing your degree program will not relieve you of the obligation to pay back the loans.
         The job market is not a sure thing, and just because you finish a college program, that does not mean you will land your “dream job”. Many college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, but are still responsible for paying back large amounts of student loan.
         The price of other necessities has taken a front seat, and with the cost of living so high it is hard for most families to provide what is needed and have anything left over for other bills. Sometimes it is more critical to make the mortgage payment each month rather than pay a student loan. The unfortunate circumstance for many people in today’s economy is that they have to pick and choose which bills to pay each month.

If you are unable to pay your student loans, you do have options. In rare circumstances you can eliminate student loan debt in bankruptcy, but that is not the case for most borrowers. One other option might be to take steps to have some of your other monthly obligations reduced, so your money is freed up to pay for things you need. A good place to start in this regard is to refinance or modify your mortgage. You can also look at consolidating unsecured credit card debt so you have one payment each month instead of several. For help with your money matters, give us a call.

For more information about managing student loan debt, call us today or reach us online at We will help by looking at the facts of your case and giving you options to reach your financial goals.