Archive for: ‘February 2011’

PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY FILINGS AMONG YOUNG WOMEN ON THE RISE

February 15, 2011 Posted by kingcade

A recent study from Insolvency Service Statistics has revealed an alarming trend in bankruptcy filings among women under the age of 24 has risen 10% in the past five years. The report states that the increase in the number of women declaring bankruptcy can largely be attributed to credit card debt and mounting mortgage or rent payments.

“This has been a big trend I’ve been seeing in my practice. Many of the young women that come into my office are not living extravagant lifestyles, they are having to take drastic steps because of a change in circumstances, whether it’s the loss of a job or a divorce,” says Timothy S. Kingcade.

As a single mom living in Miami, Frances Gonzalez knows just how quickly debt can pile up and become unmanageable. “By the time I was 18 I had five credit cards open. It adds up really quickly- having to put food on the table, buying things for my child, while at the same time I was going to school and working as a paralegal,” says Frances.

It wasn’t long before bills began to go unpaid and Frances began receiving harassing calls from debt collection agencies at home, at work, and on her cell phone. “The collection agencies even called my mom and dad. That’s when I knew I had to get help,” she said.

A friend at Frances’ work had referred her to Miami bankruptcy attorney, Timothy Kingcade. “Upon my initial meeting with Mr. Kingcade, he made me feel like I was his only client, going as far as to give me his personal cell phone number. Working in the legal profession myself, I don’t know of many attorneys that would do that. He put my mind at ease, and the creditor harassment stopped, immediately,” says Frances.

However, not everything went smoothly. After Frances received her bankruptcy case number, she had her car re-possessed three days later, which is illegal to do once the bankruptcy is filed. Within an hour she was on the phone with Mr. Kingcade and just two days later Frances was driving her car. This was a result of Timothy filing an emergency motion to retrieve her car. Mr. Kingcade held the car lender liable for damages, which included lost wages, bus fare from Homestead to Frances’ job in downtown Miami, and attorney’s fees. Mr. Kingcade even had a special clause put in the new auto agreement where they cannot repossess Frances’ car unless she is 3 months late, instead of just 1 month. The case was settled and Frances ended up being able to keep her car, with her payments cut nearly in half. Frances says she now has a fresh financial start and can’t believe how her life has changed as a result of Kingcade & Garcia, P.A.

Miami-based Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. was established by managing partner and bankruptcy attorney, Timothy Kingcade in 1996. The firm represents clients throughout Florida in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and foreclosure defense cases. The firm is committed to providing personalized service to each and every client, clearly explaining the options according to the unique circumstances of his or her life. The office environment and the service provided are centered on a culture of superior client care.

Homeowners more behind on payments before foreclosure

February 12, 2011 Posted by kingcade

It can take a long time for the foreclosure process to move from the time a lender issues a foreclosure notice to the time the homeowner is evicted. But the time between the homeowner’s first missed payment and that eviction is even longer. Last year, homeowners across the country were an average of 507 days behind on payments by the time foreclosures were completed. That is more than 100 days longer that the average in 2009.

So why did the foreclosure process take so much longer last year than the year before? A senior vice president at Florida’s Lender Process Services Inc. has a couple of theories.

First, he says that lenders waited longer to issue foreclosure notices in 2010. Because of the “sheer volume of loans” in default, it took Florida lenders an average of 349 days of a homeowner being delinquent before the foreclosure notice was issued. That is nearly a year of being behind on payments before the lenders took any actions toward foreclosure.

Also, the same individual said that lenders are exercising an “abundance of caution” after the robo-signing fiasco. Lenders want to be sure that they do everything properly before evicting homeowners. This is hopefully leading to lenders showing more respect for homeowners’ rights.

These factors both help explain why homeowners were delinquent 25 percent longer before eviction in 2010 than they were in 2009. Not only are lenders waiting longer to issue foreclosure complaints, the actual foreclosure process itself is taking longer.

Source: Bloomberg, “U.S. Homeowners in Foreclosure Process Were 507 Days Late Paying,” John Gittelsohn, 7 Feb 2011

If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact foreclosure defense attorney, Timothy Kingcade at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

8 Keys to 2011’s Mortgage Market

February 12, 2011 Posted by kingcade

The U.S. housing market has been hit hard by what’s been referred to as the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Mortgage rates dipped to lows that hadn’t been seen in decades. Now, the housing market is still struggling and mortgage rates are on the rise.

Here are 8 predictions for 2011’s Mortgage Market:

1.) The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will start operating. Confusing, unclear and seemingly conflicting documentation has been implicated in the mortgage-market mess, and a push for more explicit yet simpler forms for consumers to review and sign are thought to be the bureau’s top priority.

2.) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will change . . . maybe. Reforming the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) has been an on-again, off-again, crusade for the last couple of administrations. There has been some talk of perhaps a five-year wind-down plan for the GSEs, some discussions of separating their “public” function of securitizing mortgages from their “private” investment portfolios, and both have proved useful to politicians at various times.

3.) The economy improves. If you want to know what will happen to mortgage rates in 2011, watch what happens to the economy. The labor market recovery is expected to gain momentum as the year progresses, but unemployment will remain stubbornly high for perhaps years to come. With that being said, continual but gradual improvement seems likely. As the economy finds firmer footing, so will mortgage rates.

4.) Homebuyers return in greater numbers. Without a competitive private market, the restrictive standards put in place by the GSEs over the last couple of years will continue to be the only game in town and will continue to limit access to the cheapest mortgage credit.

5.) The “distressed” real estate market improves. Recently, there was a slight improvement in the number of “underwater” homes that occurred not because of any gains in home prices, but rather because a rise in foreclosures produced a final “cure” that loan modifications did not.

6.) A “soft demise” for the Home Affordable Modification Program. By now, it should be fairly clear that the Obama administration’s goal of saving 3 million to 4 million homeowners from foreclosure by 2012 was wildly optimistic. By the program’s end, we may not even make half that number, but the administration is claiming some success in shaping and focusing the loan servicing industry to deal with borrowers in crisis, fostering more private and lasting modifications.

7.) Mortgage rates remain favorable. Borrowers will again have to become accustomed to rates in the low- and mid-5% range for 30-year fixed loans. Still, much of the year should continue to feature rates that rank among the best seen in a generation or more, even if they don’t test record lows. The low mortgage rates of 2010 came as a result of multiple financial panics and investor fears of more losses, and to wish for their return is to hope for renewed economic catastrophe.

8.) The Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing 2 (QE2) program ends. Initiated in November 2010, the Fed’s program of purchasing Treasury securities in hopes of fostering lower interest rates has had the exact opposite effect, and interest rates have risen off their panic-level bottoms. This is partly due to an improving economy and partly due to the expectation that the Fed’s moves will further spur economic growth in 2011. We’ve come to believe that the Fed is using the program to buffer the market, keeping market interest rates from rising more quickly than it would like.

To read more on this story visit:
http://money.msn.com/home-loans/8-keys-to-2011s-mortgage-market-hsh.aspx

If you have any questions on this topic or are in need of a financial fresh start, please contact our experienced team of bankruptcy and foreclosure defense attorneys at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Misery in Miami: Forbes ranks the Magic City 2nd most miserable

February 9, 2011 Posted by kingcade

There is no question that Miami has high unemployment and foreclosure rates. Now, those two issues have led Forbes.com to name Miami as the second most miserable city in the United States.

The Misery Index (which does really exist) looks at many factors, including home prices, foreclosure rates, unemployment and even the local sports team’s record. Last year, Forbes.com listed Miami as the sixth most miserable city. This year, we moved up on that list, but managed to avoid the top spot.

Instead, Stockton, California, was listed as the most miserable city for the second year running. According to Forbes.com, “The good weather and lack of state income tax” were our saving grace. But for those two factors, Miami would have come in as the number one most miserable city in America.

NBC Miami speculated that in addition to high unemployment and our foreclosure problems, the crime rate and unscrupulous politicians accounted for Miami’s second spot ranking. The financial struggles related to the unemployment and foreclosure issues certainly contribute to the unhappiness seen in Miami.

Unemployment and foreclosure may be two of the primary sources of discontent here, but they are not unsolvable problems. Solutions do exist for individuals who are facing mounting debt after being laid off or those who have been threatened with foreclosure. Bankruptcy and other debt relief options can help individuals overcome the emotional and financial struggles related to overwhelming debt.

Source: NBC Miami, “Les Miserables: Miami High On Depressing Cities List,” Todd Wright, 2 Feb 2011

Florida consumers carry 3rd highest debt in country

February 9, 2011 Posted by kingcade

Over the past few months, we have heard a lot about Americans tightening their financial belts and using extra income to pay down debts. And for some, the post-holiday period is about paying off those Christmas bills. However, new numbers released by Equifax show that many consumers, especially those in Florida, are still carrying high credit card balances.

Equifax monitors credit throughout the country. The group’s recently released numbers indicate that consumers in Florida, California and Texas are maintaining higher credit card debt levels and people in other parts of the country. While these states face some of the toughest budget issues in the nation, so do their individual residents.

According to Equifax, Florida residents have $47.6 billion of collective credit card debt. This is the third highest total in the country. California ranks highest with $90.6 billion in debt, and Texas is number two with $48.8 billion in credit card debt. These states still have “a lot of debt to tackle,” as one senior vice president at Equifax put it.

Many individuals would like to pay down their credit card debt, but it seems that each month brings new financial challenges that stand in the day of reducing debt. When credit card debt becomes overwhelming, chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a good debt relief option. In this form of debt, consumers who cannot meet their financial obligations have an opportunity to discharge unsecured debt such as credit card bills.

CreditNet, “Many Americans still face serious credit card debt problems,” Thomas Astery, 28 Jan 2011