Archive for: ‘May 2016’

Student Debt Relief Scams Targeting Borrowers

May 31, 2016 Posted by kingcade

If you are struggling with student loan debt, you’re not alone. The FTC and the State of Florida announced lawsuits against two “alleged” student loan debt relief agencies. Consumer Assistance Project and Student Aid Center promised to get borrowers’ loans forgiven or significantly reduced, according to the FTC.

Consumer Assistance targeted borrowers online and over the phone, claiming they would get relief through government or by disputing loans.  Student Aid Center used radio ads, text messages, and featured ads in search results, promoting “Obama Loan Forgiveness.”

But borrowers who paid the companies did not get their loans forgiven or even reduced.  At most, the companies got borrowers’ loans put into deferment or forbearance, where loan payments are postponed, but interest still accrues.

Student Aid Center made certain situations worse by telling people to stop contacting their lenders and pay them, instead. Borrowers ended up paying thousands, but did not get the promised relief.

Student loan forgiveness programs are available in very limited circumstances. The FTC has the following new materials to help borrowers:

  • Student Loan Debt Relief explains how to spot a debt relief scheme, and what people struggling with student loans can do to help themselves.
  • Maria and Rafael Learn the Signs of a Debt Relief Scam tells the story of a couple trying to repay debt they accumulated for their daughter’s college education. It is the latest in a series of graphic novels to raise awareness about scams targeting Latin communities.
  • This list shows every company and individual ever banned from providing debt relief and mortgage assistance relief services by an FTC order.

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.

 

How to Get a Second Chance at Home Ownership after Foreclosure

May 30, 2016 Posted by kingcade

More than 9.2 million Americans lost their homes to foreclosure between 2006 and 2014, according to the National Association of Realtors.  For many of those individuals, enough time has passed that they may once again qualify for another mortgage.

How long you have to wait varies by the program. Generally, you will need to wait seven years after a foreclosure or short sale to qualify for a conventional mortgage, three years to get a Federal Housing Administration or U.S. Department of Agriculture loan and two years to get a loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

But those time periods can be shortened to as little as one year for a VA or FHA loan and three years for a conventional loan, if borrowers can demonstrate their defaults were the result of a significant hardship from which they have now recovered.

Here are five tips to remember when seeking a mortgage after a foreclosure or short sale:

Your lender will see a different credit report. The report lenders pull when you apply for a mortgage is not the same report you receive from servicers that provide credit reports to consumers. Consumers are often provided with a “stepped-down version.”  The credit score is not the end all, be all. There are other factors that can potentially slow the loan.  You can figure at least 620 is needed for a conventional mortgage and 580 is necessary for an FHA loan.

On-time payments are important. Re-establishing your credit is one of the most important qualifiers for getting a mortgage after a foreclosure or short sale.  Lenders want to do everything they can to avoid lending to someone who will default, again- so they look closely at your bill payment history since the foreclosure.

You will need to demonstrate job stability. If you have a traditional job for which you receive a W-2 form, your lender will verify your income with your employer. People who work several part-time jobs or are self-employed, will face additional scrutiny and will have to demonstrate their income with several years of tax returns and additional documentation.

You will need to document everything. Since the housing crisis, the documentation required for mortgages has increased significantly. Anything a customer puts on the mortgage application will be verified, particularly financial information.

Not all lenders are the same. Each lender has different requirements.  There is no one size fits all when it comes to mortgage lender requirements. The basic guidelines are set by FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but individual lenders and even individual underwriters may interpret these in different ways.

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.

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.