Archive for: ‘December 2013’

South Floridian’s Credit Card Balances on the Decline

December 31, 2013 Posted by kingcade

According to CreditKarma.com, South Floridians reduced their credit card debt in November by 13.5 percent from a year earlier. The balance on the average credit card in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties fell to $4,552, down from $5,264 in November 2012, CreditKarma.com reported.

Other debt balances, including mortgage debt fell from $191,970 to $184,061. Student loan balances also declined 2 percent from a year ago. The average student loan balance was $30,768 in November, a $752 drop from the $31,520 balance 12 months earlier.

Auto loan debt increased in South Florida, up $923 from a year ago. New car sales have also increased as the economy continues to improve. According to CreditKarma.com’s CEO, South Floridians are taking out more car loans because lenders are offering these to consumers with modest credit ratings. Some car dealerships are even offering 0 percent loans, making these type loans good to have.

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If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of 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.

Recent Bankruptcy Case Offers Hope to Student Borrowers

December 30, 2013 Posted by kingcade

Michael Hedlund, a graduate of Willamette Law School was able to discharge a portion of his student loans in bankruptcy following a 10-year court battle. Hedlund borrowed approximately $85,000 to get his undergraduate and law degrees, then failed the bar exam three times. He ultimately got a job as a juvenile counselor. At the age of 33, married with a child, he declared bankruptcy.

This case, which ended with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals discharging Hedlund’s student loans, has potentially large implications for borrowers. It’s pretty well known that student loans cannot be discharged through the normal bankruptcy process. Instead, Congress requires student loan borrowers to prove “undue hardship.”

In the absence of any further guidance from Congress on what constitutes undue hardship, most courts apply what is called the “Brunner standard.” This standard requires a borrower prove three things:

1.) The borrower and any dependants cannot maintain a minimal standard of living based on current income and expenses;

2.) Additional circumstances indicate this is likely to be the case for a significant portion of the borrower’s repayment period;

3.) The borrower made a good faith effort to repay the loans.

Important to other struggling borrowers is the fact that the 9th Circuit Court upheld the bankruptcy court’s relatively reasonable application of the facts in Hedlund’s case to the Brunner standard.

Specifically, the Court agreed there was considerable evidence the family’s expenses, including two cell phones and leasing a reliable car could be seen as reasonable and that the excess expenses- including cable and children’s haircuts- were considered marginal. The bankruptcy court also rejected arguments that Hedlund should find another part-time job, holding there was considerable evidence that Hedlund had maximized his income. The Court did note that his wife could be expected to work three days a week rather than one.

This verdict provides not only hope, but good precedent for future plaintiffs who want to have their student loan debts discharged in bankruptcy. Borrowers should also be aware of a study by Jason Iuliano which suggests that in 2007 alone, there were 69,000 borrowers who were good candidates for relief but fewer than 300 actually attempted to discharge their loans.

Both Hedlund’s experience and Iuliano’s study should encourage more borrowers in bankruptcy to assert their rights under the undue hardship standard.

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If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of 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.

Ways to Pay Down Holiday Debt Quickly

December 27, 2013 Posted by kingcade

With the New Year approaching, many of us are inspired to examine our finances and get our debt under control. Below are some ways to pay down debt you may have accrued over the holidays.

Create a list. Make a list of holiday expenditures that were paid for with a credit card. Separate the list by credit card and prioritize the debt based on interest rates. Plan on paying the cards off with the highest interest rates, first.

Stop using your credit cards. Leave the cards at home while you are out to avoid temptation. Even if you earn reward points by using them, stop putting expenditures on these until your finances are under control.

Use your Christmas bonus check. If you received extra money from your place of employment for the holidays, put it towards your debt. Avoid the temptation to spend it on a luxury item or vacation.

Sell unwanted gift cards. You can sell your unused gift cards for cash at an online marketplace and use this money to pay off holiday debt. Make sure you read the fine print on each site before doing this.

Sell unwanted gifts or personal items. Take inventory of personal items and unwanted gifts to sell on sites like eBay or Craigslist. Take quality photos and write captivating descriptions to sell these items quickly.

Save money by transferring balances. If you are eligible for any 0 percent interest credit card offers, consider transferring your holiday debt over to one of those cards. Make sure you know how much you will be paying in balance transfer fees.

Make a weekly payment. Do not wait until you receive your statement in the mail. Be proactive in making your debt payment. Have a goal to make weekly payments, instead of monthly payments.

Change your spending habits. Be prepared to cut back. Tighten your grocery budget and keep household expenditures low. Keep track of how much you are saving each week/month.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of 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.

Consumer Win! Ocwen Financial Ordered to Pay $2 Billion over Foreclosure Abuse Practices

December 26, 2013 Posted by kingcade

In a recent agreement with federal regulators, Ocwen Financial Corporation will reduce struggling borrowers’ loan balances by $2 billion over foreclosure abuse practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and state attorneys general announced the deal last week.

Ocwen, one of the largest U.S. mortgage servicers, is accused of pushing borrowers into foreclosure through illegal actions, such as failing to promptly and accurately credit mortgage payments. The company also miscalculated interest rates and charged borrowers improper fees, according to regulators.

The CFPB, 49 states and the District of Columbia signed the agreement with Ocwen. The largest share of the $2 billion mortgage relief, an estimated $342 million, is expected to go to Florida. The decision is in alignment with the ultimate goals of preventing foreclosure abuse and helping struggling families keep their homes.

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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.

Miami’s Foreclosure Rate Continues to fall

December 24, 2013 Posted by kingcade

According to a recent report by CoreLogic, the foreclosure rate for the greater Miami area fell sharply in October from a year ago. However, Miami’s foreclosure rate continues to remain far above the national average. In the Miami, Miami Beach, Kendall area, 19 percent of outstanding mortgages were in some stage of foreclosure, compared with 15.06 percent a year earlier.

Florida’s foreclosure rate fell to 6.98 percent in October from 10.65 percent a year earlier. The national average was 2.15 percent, down from 3.06 percent in October 2012. For the Miami, Miami Beach, Kendall area, 15.69 percent of mortgage loans were delinquent by more than 90 days. That compares with 21.66 percent a year earlier.

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.