Wells Fargo Pays $70 Million Penalty for Foreclosure Mistakes

May 27, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to pay a $70 million penalty ending the bank’s five-year fight to settle claims over foreclosure mistakes following the 2008 financial crisis.

This week, U.S. regulators announced the fine as part of an agreement that also frees the nation’s biggest mortgage lender from loan-servicing restrictions imposed last year. Wells Fargo has been accused of failing to move fast enough to fix deficiencies outlined in a series of settlements over improper activity including so-called robo-signing of foreclosure documents. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), also identified more recent problems, including faulty payment-change notices filed in bankruptcy courts and faulty escrow calculations.

The bank neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing in the OCC agreement.

Five years ago, Wells Fargo and most of the other largest U.S. mortgage servicers agreed to resolve allegations that they mishandled loan papers and fraudulently endorsed legal papers used in foreclosures after the crisis. Regulators amended that accord in 2013 after deciding the original plan failed to help affected borrowers.

A year ago, the OCC imposed new restrictions on Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and four other companies, blocking them from buying mortgage-servicing rights because they had not yet met the demands of the foreclosure settlement.

Click here to read more on this story.

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Surge in Student Loan Debt Cancellation Requests

May 26, 2016 Posted by kingcade

The Obama administration has received nearly 20,000 applications from Americans seeking to have their student loan debt cancelled on the grounds they were deceived by the universities they attended. The increase has led to the government forgiving tens of millions of dollars for borrowers.

Under a decade-old law, known as the “borrower defense,” borrowers are entitled to have their loans forgiven if they can prove their school used deceptive advertising and recruiting practices. This law had sat dormant for years. However, last year the Education Department, at the urging of student activists, started using the law to cancel loans taken out by former students of Corinthian Colleges. The for-profit chain was liquidated in bankruptcy last year after federal regulators accused it of running advertisements that cited false statistics on the employment status and earnings of graduates.

As of January, the agency had received about 7,500 applications for forgiveness from borrowers owing a combined $164 million.  The agency continues to review applications on a case-by-case basis. It has agreed to cancel more than $27 million in debt for 3,421 borrowers, many of them former Corinthian students.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

When Bankruptcy is the Best Option

May 25, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Filing for bankruptcy is not the end of the world. In fact, it can help improve your overall situation and relieve the financial stress you are facing. Bankruptcy stops collection calls, lawsuits and wage garnishment. It wipes out most, sometimes all of your debt and can improve your credit score.

Many credit bureaus and scoring experts will disagree, not seeing the whole picture.  For most people after struggling with insurmountable debt for sometime, their credit score has already greatly been affected by the time they file for bankruptcy.

Once they file for bankruptcy, their credit score typically increases. If the debt is erased, which is also known as a “discharge,” scores can increase even more- typically within a year. Accessing data from the Equifax credit bureau, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that filers’ credit scores plunged in the 18 months before filing for bankruptcy and rose steadily after that.  The average credit score for someone who filed Chapter 7, the most common type of bankruptcy, in 2010 was 538.2 on Equifax’s 280 to 850 range. (Scores in the low 600’s and below are generally considered poor.) By the time the filers’ cases were discharged, usually within six months, their average score was 620.3.

Credit scores are not the only factor to consider when making the decision to file for bankruptcy.  People who file for bankruptcy benefit from the “automatic stay,” which stops all collection activity, including lawsuits, wage garnishment and collection calls.  A Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out a number of debts, including: credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, civil judgments (excluding fraud), past-due rent and utility bills, business debts and older tax debts.

Most of us feel we have an ethical obligation to repay our debts, if we are able to.  But oftentimes, people find themselves in over their head before realizing they need to consider bankruptcy as an option.  Some continue to pay down debt they may never be able to pay off, prolonging the damage to their credit score and diverting money that could be put into retirement savings.

Bankruptcy is likely your best option if your consumer debt (any of the debts listed above) total more than half your income, or if it would take five or more years to pay off that debt, with extreme fiscal measures.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Don’t think you can buy a home after bankruptcy? Actually, you can.

May 24, 2016 Posted by kingcade

There are a number of myths associated with bankruptcy; the inability to purchase a home is one of them. Bankruptcy is certainly not the end of homeownership.  In fact, all major mortgage programs available today- conventional, USDA, VA and FHA home loans-have established guidelines that allow post-bankruptcy buyers to qualify for a mortgage.

Each loan type has its own waiting period requirement after bankruptcy. Waiting periods for the four major types of loans are as follows:

  • FHA loans: 2 years
  • VA home loans: 2 years
  • Conventional mortgages: 4 years
  • USDA home loans: 3 years

While these are the “standard” guidelines, you may qualify for a conventional or FHA loan even sooner.  Both of these loans have exceptions for “extenuating circumstances” or one-time events that caused income loss and were outside of the homeowner’s control.

In this case, an applicant can be approved for a conventional loan just two years after bankruptcy, and an FHA applicant can receive approval after one year in the “Back to Work Program.”

Below are some quick and easy ways to re-establish your credit after bankruptcy.

  • Re-establishing your credit involves opening credit accounts and paying them on-time for at least 12 months. These credit accounts must be kept open and active.
  • Begin with a credit card. Use it for gas and groceries and pay it down every month.  Keep a small balance on it so the credit bureaus can see that it is active, but keep the balance below 30% of your available balance.
  • The credit bureaus value a diverse credit profile, more than just credit card accounts. Personal loans, student loans and car loans are other types of credit.  Credit bureaus want to see that you can manage your credit responsibly.
  • Lenders may look for non-traditional credit. For example, 12 months of cell phone bill, gym membership, car insurance, cable bill, etc.

With proper planning, you can re-establish your credit to the level at which you can qualify for a home loan.

Click here to read more on this story.

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Judge Rules that Bitcoin is Property, Not Convertible Currency

May 23, 2016 Posted by kingcade

On February 19, 2016, a Northern District of California bankruptcy judge ruled in In re Hashfast Technologies LLC that, for purposes of valuation under the fraudulent transfer provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, Bitcoin is not the equivalent of U.S. dollars.

The case involved an adversarial proceeding brought by the bankruptcy trustee against a medical doctor who had been paid 3000 Bitcoin in 2013 by Hashfast Technologies LLC to promote Hashfast’s Bitcoin business. Evidence showed that, although the 3000 Bitcoin had an approximate value of $360,000 when “paid” to the defendant in 2013, it had since appreciated to a present day value of $1.2 million.

Hashfast filed for bankruptcy in May 2014, and the trustee sued to avoid the Bitcoin transfer under the fraudulent transfer provisions of the Code. The dispute that led to the ruling was how the Bitcoin should be valued for purposes of recovery to the estate should the transfer be successfully avoided. Was Bitcoin property (to be valued at its current value) or currency (to be valued as of the time it was transferred)?

Under Section 550(a) of the Code, if a transfer is successfully avoided, the trustee is entitled to recover “the property transferred, or, if the court so orders, the value of such property.” Thus, the trustee argued that the Bitcoin were property and that the estate was entitled to recover either the 3,000 Bitcoin or their current appreciated value of $1.2 million. The defendant in turn argued that Bitcoin were not property for purposes of Section 550(a), but rather the equivalent of their lower U.S. dollar value.

The judge concluded that Bitcoin were “clearly property.” He ruled that “[t]he court does not need to decide whether bitcoin are currency or commodities for purposes of the fraudulent transfer provisions of the bankruptcy code. Rather, it is sufficient to determine that, despite defendant’s arguments to the contrary, bitcoin are not United States dollars. If and when the Liquidating Trustee prevails and avoids the subject transfer of bitcoin to defendant, the court will decide whether, under 11 U.S.C. § 550(a), he may recover the bitcoin (property) transferred or their value, and if the latter, valued as of what date.”

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.