Archive for: ‘January 2017’

Tips for Avoiding Student Loan Repayment Traps

January 24, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Know your loans. Check copies of your FREE credit report from the three major credit bureaus via annualcreditreport.com if you think you may have lost track of a loan, as lenders will almost always report the existence of the loan to the bureaus.  For federal loans, check the National Student Loan Data System.  Always know how much you owe, and to whom.

Know your options when it comes to income-driven repayment plans. If you have federal loans, you may be eligible for a payment plan that allows you to submit information based on your income and family size and then reduce monthly payments to amounts that are affordable for you.  Here is a list of Income-Driven Repayment Plans available through the Education Dept. and answers to frequently asked questions.

Stay Informed. Signing up for an income-driven repayment plan is not enough. You have to re-qualify each year with updated financial information.  Do not trust your lender to do this for you. The consumer bureau recently accused Navient, the largest student loan servicer in the U.S., of not properly informing borrowers of this fact or of crucial deadlines. As a result, many borrowers saw their payments jump, leading to numerous late payments and additional interest and fees.

Avoid Forbearance. If you are having trouble making your monthly payments, your servicer may offer you something called a forbearance, which essentially allows you to reduce or even eliminate payments for a period of time.  The downside: The loan’s interest keeps piling up.  Recently, Navient was charged with steering borrowers into forbearance when they may have had better options, such as income-driven repayment plans.

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.

Related Resources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/20/your-money/6-tips-for-avoiding-the-worst-student-loan-repayment-traps.html?src=me&_r=0

 

Quicken Loans Fast Becoming the New Mortgage Lending Machine

January 23, 2017 Posted by kingcade

In the years since the housing market crash, many of the nation’s largest banks have strengthened their underwriting processes and become more conservative with their mortgage-lending activities.  However, Quicken Loans has pushed forward, becoming the second-largest retail mortgage lender originating $96 billion in mortgages last year — an eight-fold increase from 2008.

In a federal false-claims lawsuit filed in 2015, the Department of Justice accused Quicken Loans of misrepresenting borrowers’ incomes and credit scores, in order to qualify for Federal Housing Administration insurance.  As a result, when those loans defaulted, the government says the taxpayers — not Quicken loans — suffered millions of dollars in losses.

In the years since the financial crisis, Quicken has emerged as a leader in the nation’s “shadow-banking system,” a network of non-bank financial institutions that has gained significant ground against its more regulated bank counterparts in providing mortgage loans.

The increase in regulation and decreased profits forced the nation’s banks out.  Non-banks, like Quicken, quickly filled the gap.

Former executives have described Quicken Loans as a technology company that sells mortgages. The 3,500 mortgage bankers who work the phones are the life-blood of the company. Many new employees come in with little to no background in financial services. According to an inside source, one employee joined after delivering pizzas to the Quicken Loans office and becoming interested in working there.

Critics say these shadow banks, by focusing on the riskier end of the mortgage market, may be reviving the same circumstances that resulted in so many defaults and foreclosures.

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.

Government Sues America’s Largest Student Loan Company

January 20, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The Washington state Attorney General filed a lawsuit against student loan company, Navient on Wednesday. Navient is formerly part of the private student loan company, Sallie Mae. In a separate lawsuit, Illinois Attorneys General named both Navient and Sallie Mae.

According to Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), “At every stage of repayment, Navient chose to shortcut and deceive consumers to save on operating costs.”

Navient separated from Sallie Mae in 2014 and is currently the largest student loan servicer in the country. The company reportedly handles more than 12 million student loan accounts. Approximately half of the borrowers have federal loans and the other half are private. According to the CFPB, one in four student loan borrowers have Navient as their servicer. 

The CFPB’s allegations claim that Navient steered struggling borrowers toward paying more than they had to, and misallocated borrowers’ payments when they were made across multiple loans. It also alleges that in some cases, Navient erroneously reported borrowers had defaulted on their loans, damaging their credit score.

In the lawsuit, the government claims that Navient also made it more difficult for borrowers to enroll in an income-driven repayment plan, which can be used to lower their monthly payment if they’re struggling to make payments.

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 Trump Policies Could Affect the Elderly and Disabled

January 19, 2017 Posted by kingcade

President-elect Donald Trump is set to take office tomorrow, January 20th at 12:00 PM. During his presidency, economists anticipate several policy changes that will significantly affect the elderly population, those who are disabled and those with special needs. Here are a few ways those changes might affect you.

Social Security and Medicare

Although President-elect Trump has consistently stated that the Social Security and Medicare programs will remain intact, both face an impending insolvency. As one of their proposals to keep those programs solvent, Trump and Congressman Paul Ryan are promoting an approach that will include some form of Social Security and Medicare privatization.

The Cost of Health Care 

There is a mounting fear among Americans about the cost of health care and long-term care. Restrictions on benefits and legislative changes that restrict or limit access to government programs, such as Medicaid, can only heighten such fears.

Block Grant Proposal 

Medicaid is currently administered at the federal level by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Each state has its own state Medicaid Plan, however, there are mandates and constraints. The proposed grants would issue each state a certain number of Medicaid dollars and the state would in turn, decide how to use and spend those dollars. In some states, little would change, however in other states the changes could be profound for those who rely heavily on Medicaid.

Trump has also stated that there are a few policies from Obama’s Affordable Care Act that he intends to keep, including:

  • Allowing young adults to remain on parental coverage;
  • Protecting people with pre-existing medical conditions;
  • Closing the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap.

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.

Related Resources:

http://www.wealthmanagement.com/estate-planning/how-trump-policies-could-affect-elderly-and-those-special-needs 

https://www.yahoo.com/news/pointed-questions-await-trumps-pick-health-secretary-085931872–politics.html 

Debt Collection Dispute Headed to the Supreme Court

January 18, 2017 Posted by kingcade

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether firms collecting on a debt they bought for pennies on the dollar can be held liable in lawsuits brought by consumers.  The justices agreed to review a lower court’s decision to dismiss a consumer class action lawsuit against Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc. over allegations it violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act– a debt collection law enacted in 1977 that prohibits collectors from using abusive, unfair or deceptive practices to collect a debt.

The current case hinges on the definition of “creditor” and “debt collector” and whether a company that purchases debt should be treated as a creditor and therefore not subject to the law.

The case (Ricky Henson et al v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc et al, in the Supreme Court of the United States, No. 16-349) involves four Maryland residents who defaulted on their auto loans, and filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Santander in 2012 in federal court alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, such as misrepresenting the debt amount and bypassing debtors’ attorneys.

The debts had been sold to Santander, a Dallas-based vehicle-financing and lending company owned in part by a subsidiary of Banco Santander.  Santander then tried to collect on the loans.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia threw out the lawsuit last March, saying the law applied only to debt collectors, and Santander became a creditor when it purchased the loans.

The Maryland residents told the Supreme Court the 4th Circuit’s reasoning would “hamper both government and private efforts to combat abusive debt-collection practices.” The appeal to the Supreme Court comes as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering proposals to toughen regulation of the industry.

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.