Archive for: ‘October 2015’

Paying off Student Loan Debt is about to get easier for 5 Million Borrowers

October 30, 2015 Posted by kingcade

The Obama administration has rolled out two new provisions that will give 5 million more college graduates the ability to enroll in income-based repayment plans and make it harder for schools to force students to use prepaid debit cards.

Here’s how it works…

More students can apply for income-based repayment plans.

The Education Department officially unveiled its long-awaited expansion of the income-based repayment program, Pay As You Earn (PAYE), which nearly four million federal direct loan borrowers are currently enrolled.   The new plan, which takes effect this December, is called REPAYE (the “RE” stands for “revised”) and will allow 5 million more federal student loan borrowers to enroll.

The new plan accomplishes this by allowing borrowers to sign up regardless of when they borrowed their loans or their debt-to-income ratio. The existing PAYE model is only available to people who borrowed after 2007 and whose debt greatly outweighs their income. Those enrolled in the REPAYE plan can have their payments capped at 10% of their income. Allowing the additional 5 million borrowers to qualify for the program will cost the federal government an estimated $15.4 billion over the next 10 years.

No more deceitful debit card agreements.

The government has been trying to crack down on prepaid debit cards on college campuses.  Thanks to the 2009 CARD Act, which stops banks from marketing credit cards on campuses, college credit card agreements have dropped by more than half between 2009 and 2013.

To get around this, the banks shifted their focus from credit cards to prepaid debit cards.  Today, 40% of students attend schools that have agreements with banks to market student debit and prepaid cards on campus, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. These cards are known to come with high overdraft fees and other hidden fees.

The new Department of Education rule requires schools to allow students to choose how to receive their student aid refunds. They can no longer be forced or urged to open a certain kind of account to get that money.  The rule says schools have to make sure fees are not “excessive and confusing.”

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 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.

More military members qualify for foreclosure relief

October 29, 2015 Posted by kingcade

Nearly 1,500 additional members of the military are eligible for more than $186 million in foreclosure reimbursements under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), according to the Justice Department.   In addition to other compensation, a total of 2,413 service members and their co-borrowers are eligible to receive more than $311 million.

The five mortgage servicers include:

  • JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A. (JP Morgan Chase);
  • Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and Wells Fargo & Co. (Wells Fargo);
  • Citi Residential Lending Inc., Citibank, NA and CitiMortgage Inc. (Citi);
  • GMAC Mortgage LLC, Ally Financial Inc. and Residential Capital LLC (GMAC Mortgage);
  • Bank of America N.A., Countrywide Home Loans Inc., Countrywide Financial Corp., Countrywide Home Loans Servicing L.P. and BAC Home Loans Servicing L.P. (Bank of America).

The compensation is a result of the 2012 settlement known as the National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) and an earlier settlement with Bank of America. It affects foreclosures that took place between January 1, 2006, and April 4, 2012, where the servicer obtained a foreclosure without a judicial proceeding or where the servicer obtained a default foreclosure judgment without filing a proper affidavit with the court stating that the service member was serving in the military.

For mortgages serviced by Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citi, and GMAC Mortgage, members of the military who qualify will each receive $125,000, plus any lost equity in the property and interest on that equity.  Eligible co-borrowers will also be compensated for their share of any lost equity in the property.

Members of the military and their dependents who believe that their SCRA rights have been violated should speak with an experienced foreclosure defense attorney immediately. Additional information about the Justice Department’s enforcement of the SCRA and the other laws protecting service members is available at www.servicemembers.gov.

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.

The Latest Online Scam: Tricking Homebuyers into Wiring Settlement Funds

October 28, 2015 Posted by kingcade

You are about to settle on your home.  You receive an email from your real estate agent or title company, requesting funds be wired to an account for settlement, which also informs you of a last minute change in writing instructions.   Upon the request, you wire the money using the new instructions.

A few days later, you receive a call from your title company, asking why you have not sent your funds for settlement.  This is the moment you realize you have been SCAMMED.  This wire transfer scheme is nothing new.  However, the increase in its sophistication and the prevalence of wire fraud in the real estate industry has prompted the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to issue warning bulletins.

According to the NAR, the hackers are monitoring emails and waiting to determine the best possible scam.  They realize these real estate transactions involve large amounts of money right before settlement.   Someone in Chicago recently lost $130,000, and in Texas there was a reported loss of $30,000. The scams are getting harder to catch, too.  Hackers have improved their grammar and obtain almost identical email addresses to the broker or title company the seller / buyer is working with, making it very difficult to identify the scam.

Below are some tips for buyers and sellers to protect themselves from becoming a victim of wire fraud:

  • Never send sensitive financial information via email. This includes bank account routing numbers, PIN numbers, security codes, etc.
  • Prior to doing a wire transfer, you should contact the intended recipient by phone and confirm the wiring information and instructions are correct.
  • Change your email usernames and passwords on a regular basis.
  • Clean out your email account. Your email use can establish patterns in your business practice, which hackers can pick up on and use against you.
  • Make sure you have the most up-to-date firewalls and anti-virus software on your computer.  Download these from a trusted source, like your internet service provider.
  • If you suspect any fraudulent activity, report it immediately to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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.

Foreclosure Rates Fall, Turning South Florida into a Seller’s Market

October 27, 2015 Posted by kingcade

CoreLogic’s most recent numbers show a significant decrease in the amount of foreclosures in the West Palm Beach / Delray Beach / Boca Raton market compared to last year.  The foreclosure rate in July 2014 was 4.41% and in July 2015, it fell to 2.28%, according to the property information and analytic company.  With fewer foreclosure listings than last year, it’s a good indication that people are buying homes.  In fact, the foreclosure rate in the area has been on the decline for the past 18 months.

Real estate experts say that one of the reasons we’re seeing fewer foreclosures is because banks are selling homes with the buyer in mind.  Homes are going up in value and buyers are feeling more confident making that big purchase.  The increase in demand has caused developers to build new homes and condos.  CoreLogic’s data revealed that Florida, as a whole, is behind the national foreclosure rate on average.  Sitting at 2.71% compared to 1.26% across the U.S.

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.

Discharging Student Loans in Bankruptcy May Soon Become Easier

October 26, 2015 Posted by kingcade

A report by the Department of Education has identified solutions it believes will lead to better outcomes for those struggling with student loan debt.  The biggest relief being extended to borrowers is the ability to discharge private student loans in bankruptcy.   The Obama administration’s proposal will also extend enhanced borrower protections found in federal loans to private loans.

It seems the Department of Education is ready to strike a balance between collecting on their loans and removing unreasonable hardships on struggling borrowers.   “Other types of consumer debt – mortgages, credit cards and auto loans – are dischargeable in bankruptcy, and student loans shouldn’t be an exception,” said Under Secretary of Education, Ted Mitchell.

“We feel strongly that while there are protections built into the (Federal) Direct Loan program that are important for borrowers, there aren’t parallel protections for borrowers in the private student loan market,” Mitchell said. “We think it’s important to do what we can to create those protections, and we think starting with a (new) bankruptcy provision is the way to go.”

The Department of Education is also reconsidering what constitutes as “undue hardship,” which could also affect Federal student loans.  Currently, undue hardship is the only out for borrowers trying to get their student loans discharged in bankruptcy.  Earlier this year, the Obama administration indicated that it would broaden the definition to increase the likelihood of more discharges.

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 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.